Christian Belady on what he thinks of the industry, what the industry thinks of him and whether we get the reputation we deserve

Published on 5th April 2013 by Ambrose McNevin

Elsewhere on this site today you'll see a couple of items about Microsoft's approach to how it manages its cloud scale data centers. So forgive me if there is a strong Microsoft flavour to today's postings. 
As I blogged earlier I've had the pleasure of speaking with Microsoft's GM of data center services, Christian Belady. The full report will be published in the next edition of FOCUS (to be published in May/June 2013) but I thought I'd share a couple of views that Christian shared with me:

DCDFocus: Q: Does the industry have the reputation it deserves? 

CB: A: “I have mixed feelings on how I want to answer that. I got involved in this in the mid-90s when shells were popped up and servers were put in. I looked at it and thought how do I take the data center and how can I optimise that environment?”

“No one was measuring anything so I built a data center with dummy loads where I could actually change the heat load of the racks. This was rich with opportunities. I visited customers and it was chaos. Coming back on the plane from Tokyo I realised the need for a metric and that is when the development of PUE began. And though that was in 2006 PUE took until 2008 before people started measuring things.”

“In 07/08 the industry started recognising the need for efficiency and once PUE got recognised it was a positive thing.”

“In 07 I began to ask why am I controlling environments as tightly? Today the world is looking at alternatives. Industry innovation is much better (and it needs to be). Look at most organisations and the data center question is at the table.”

“A lot has changed but the industry is not changing fast enough. The apps and the business needs are driving more and more demand – the rate of integration is not rapid enough.” 

DCDFocus: Who else in the data center industry impresses you?

Christian Belady: “I have a lot of friends in high places in other organisations.  I see different approaches and I appreciate why certain people are doing things in certain ways. The team I focus on is inside Microsoft. We look at it from the perspective of overall optimisation.  I have a lot of respect for others in the industry and hope they respect what I do.”




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Ambrose McNevin is the editor of DatacenterDynamics Focus

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