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It's not often that more than 1,500 people get together in the same building to talk about data centers. At least once a year, it happens in New York City, where DatacenterDynamics holds its annual Converged conference for the data center industry.


Last week's Converged 2013 at the Manhattan Marriott Marquis covered the gamut of topics relevant to the industry, but there were a few definite themes. One was obviously disaster-recovery, as the conference was held only five miles north of lower Mahnattan, where several data centers went down as a result of flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy four months ago.


Colonel Jack Jacobs, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor and a Vietnam War veteran, who is currently a military analyst for MSNBC, kicked off the event with a presentation on lessons the data center industry can learn from the military about mission-criticality and preparedness for unexpected crises.


Jacobs' keynote was followed by a panel on critical-incident response and preparation, where he was joined by Ron Shindel, managing director and chief security officer at L&L Holdings, owner and operator of some of the most prestigious real estate in Manhattan. Also on the panel were Rich Rotanz, with the Applied Science Foundation for Homeland Security, and Peter Curtis, president and CEO of Power Management Concepts.


DCIM in focus

Another common thread throughout the conference was the continued development of the Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM). DCIM vendors SynapSense and FieldView both announced new product releases at the show, and a panel on DCIM at the end of the day attracted a lot of attention.


The panel consisted of Microsoft's manager of data center operations engineering Nic Bustamante, VP of critical systems and engineering for the Americas at Goldman Sachs Tamara Budec, Deutsche Bank director of engineering Glen Neville, Paul Fox, executive director of enterprise data centers operations and engineering at Morgan Stanley, and Chris Crosby, CEO of Compass, a data center provider. They used the panel to discuss the ways they use DCIM solutions and what they desire DCIM solutions to have in the future.


SynapSense announced a new mobile interface for its DCIM software at the event, and FieldView unveiled the newest release of its solution there.


Vendors show off new offerings

Many companies in the data center space traditionally use the Converged conference to make product announcements. In addition to the DCIM news, Romonet and Active Power announced new releases at the event. Romonet announced the introduction of Portal, its cloud-based financial-analysis software for data centers to the North American market, and Active Power unveiled the latest models of its containerized electrical-infrastructure solutions for data centers called PowerHouse.


Representatives from Sabey Corp. talked about the company's newest data center in Mahnattan, for which it is holding an official grand opening tomorrow. The data center provider bought what has been known as the “Verizon building” in New York in 2011. It has completed renovation work in the 32-story structure and the new Intergate Manhattan by Sabey is now open for business. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to be in attendance at the grand opening.


Another announcement came from the General Electric Company (GE), which unveiled its new business unit focused solely on the mission-critical space. We sat down with the general manager of the new unit during the event for an interview. To learn more about GE's increased focus on the data center space read the article on our website. GE was one of about 90 companies that sponsored the event.