Let me start by calling attention to the announcements made in the webinar blog on this same page.

Yes, Mission Critical announced four webinars, totaling six broadcasts, including seven broadcasts, and almost 30 industry speakers. Yes, we've been busy.

  1. First our long-planned three-part webinar on Building a Greenfield Data Center, has been scheduled for March 17, April 15th, and May 13th. The event is sponsored by Siemens

  2. Registration has already opened for our February 25th webinar on Data Center Cooling Trends. The speakers are Gilbane's Dennis Cronin and Syska Hennessy's Vali Sorell, and the sponsors are AdaptivCool and CoolSim

  3. On April 25th PDI is sponsoring a webinar on containers as a data center solution. 

  4. Future Facilities will sponsor the most recently signed of these webinars on April 6th. We're still in topic development. 

Perhaps this announcement is not as big as Apple’s iPad, or Facebook’s decision to build its own data center, or even the continuing discussions about how cloud computing will change the mission critical industry. But we need to take a new perspective.

The iPad, Facebook, and cloud development tells us that data center construction and development will continue for quite some time to come, even in bad economies, even without federal stimulus dollars.

Developments like these fuel demand for more education and training and that’s why Mission Critical is so enthusiastic and supportive of programs offered by others, 7x4Exchange, DatacenterDynamics, AFCOM, The Uptime Institute, Data Center Pulse, The Green Grid, and Data Center Marketplace.

The industry also needs to find a way to attract the Nintendo Generation, as columnist Peter Curtis calls today’s students into the field.

That’s why I wanted to call attention to an announcement made by IBM today. The company unveiled a new experiential exhibit at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort, which invites guests to discover the possibilities of building a smarter planet. The exhibit is powered by a new Smarter Data Center, providing a real-life demonstration of optimized computing that reduces energy costs by up to 25 percent.

SmarterPlanet presented by IBM offers visitors to the park a “behind-the-scenes” glimpse of how technology is helping solve the world’s most complex problems – from reducing road traffic and city crime to improving food safety and local water supplies.

For example, hands-on interactive kiosks offer guests a “match” game that reveals societal and technological implications of creating a smarter planet. Guests will discover how more than two billion people are using mobile phones to open and use bank accounts for the first time; or that only 11 percent of the United States money supply is cash; or that by unplugging household appliance while not in use homeowners can save cash, up to $286 every year; or how smarter food systems track the temperatures of foods from one location to another to prevent spoilage. From the same kiosks, guests can take a Smarter Planet poll and compare their answers with those of other visitors.

Smarter Data Center

The exhibit’s glass storefront invites guests to peek into a functional IBM Smarter Data Center, responsible for running the SmarterPlanet exhibit and demonstrating the advanced technology required as part of the Smarter Planet transformation.

Implemented by hundreds of IBM clients around the world over the past three years, the exhibit’s version of IBM’s Scalable Modular Data Center is a quick-to-deploy, cost-effective, energy-efficient data center built on a combination of IBM hardware and software as well as partner offerings. Using this type of data center – equipped with highly optimized servers, storage, switches and smart software – IBM has helped organizations reduce their overall IT costs by up to 25 percent, including reducing overall energy costs.

In addition to providing the computer power for the exhibit, the Smarter Data Center will donate unused computing resources to the World Community Grid to help in various types of medical, humanitarian and environmental research. This project joins together thousands of individual computers worldwide, establishing a large system with massive computational power equivalent to a supercomputer, thereby reducing research time from decades to months.

The Smarter Data Center also includes an IBM Cloudburst demonstration environment. This emerging and massively scalable compute model allows a data center to rapidly deploy a workload with a high degree of integration, flexibility and resource optimization. It also helps to drive down costs and accelerate time to market for businesses.

SmarterPlanet presented by IBM also serves as a key venue for several of IBM’s community outreach programs, including Engineers Week (EWeek), an annual program created by The National Engineers Week Foundation to reach out to current and future generations of engineering talent. The EWeek program, which IBM has hosted at its exhibit since 2000, engages visiting elementary school children in activities designed to inspire and motivate them to excel in math and science. The program also seeks to reduce the digital divide, especially for children from low-income communities where access to computers and technology may be limited at home and in school. This year, IBM will host EWeek April 13-15, 2010.