When I last spoke to Martin McCarthy, chairman and CEO of the 451 Group, he told me how he hoped the 451 Group and the Uptime Institute would complement each other after his company had completed his purchase of the Uptime Institute. His haste was understandable as he was boarding a plane at the time, and I know that he was making a flurry of calls, as the purchase surprised many and caused others to question how the purchase would affect the Uptime Institute and the Site Uptime Network, in particular. 

I guessed that the Uptime Institute’s Symposium, held earlier this week in New York, would be the ideal time to catch up with McCarthy and see if the two companies had captured the synergy McCarthy predicted. 

First, I learned that Martin is always rushing. Even on the last day of the event, his words flowed in torrents, sometimes mixing together. He blamed coffee; adrenaline seemed more likely. 

I also learned that the Uptime Institute would be holding its symposium again next year. And why not? Julian Kudtrizki, vice president of the Uptime Institute, called it the organization’s largest event ever. And no less than Mike Manos, vp of Nokia, said the event was great. You can read Mike’s thoughts in his Loosebolts blog. So did 451’s acquistion of the Uptime Institute change the event in any substantial way? In many ways, this event was like other events presented by the Uptime Institute. The number of presentations and quality of speakers place all their events very high on my must-attend list. This year was no exception, and 25 analysts from the 451 Group provided a fresh perspective to many panel discussions and sessions. 

Their contributions would have been even more noticeable except that sessions at this event ran only 30-minutes. For instance, one panel comprised five remarkable speakers, including 451 Group’s Andy Lawrence and a moderator, but time ran out on this session long before the commentary. This scenario repeated far too often. Limiting the more sales- or project- oriented sessions to 30-minutes made sense, however. 

During the session, the Institute also announced that it has developed a new standard that defines and classifies the risk factors to a data center’s sustained uptime. The new standard, “Tier Standard: Operational Sustainability”, will be released July 1, 2010. The Operational Sustainability standard will work in tandem with the international Tier Classification System. The established Tier Classification System ensures a data center’s infrastructure is designed for uninterruptible uptime in line with its business requirements; Operational Sustainability will address the rigorous operations required to maintain a data center’s availability over the long term. In a press release, the Uptime Institute said, “The Operational Sustainability Standard is based on three elements that are most influential in a data center’s ongoing performance: Management & Operations, Building Characteristics, and Site Location. These prioritized elements are based on analysis of Uptime Institute’s ‘abnormal incident’ reporting database, which is the world’s largest. The risk factors to be detailed in ‘Tier Standard: Operational Sustainability’ capture thousands of ‘lessons learned’…” 

This news represented incremental change, as the Tier system is critical for understanding reliability, but not revolutionary as when Ken Brill challenged an audience in a keynote entitled “The Economic Meltdown of Moore’s Law.” 

Key to the success of the program is the abnormal incident reporting that Uptime derives from its Site Uptime Network. Therefore it was especially significant when McCarthy said that the 451 Group would be establishing Site Uptime Networks in new markets in Asia and South America, which will add intellectual rigor to efforts to make data centers in these markets more reliable and energy efficient. It also means that more data will be available for analysis. 

McCarthy pointed to this development as a sign that the 451 Group and Uptime were achieving synergy. Besides incorporating wider perspective into Uptime events and greater international presence, McCarthy also suggested services offered and cash flow as metrics into the success of the combined operation. Citing developments like the Accredited Tier Designer program, he said, “All are positive indications, and we are ahead of where we expected to be in some ways.” 

The Symposium also benefited from the availability of the 451 Group’s organizational resources. The 451 Group’s financial, operations, and events experience contributed to making the whole event seem more organized and the educational and tradeshow segments better integrated. The Green Enterprise IT (GEIT) Awards were presented in a ceremony on Monday evening. The GEIT Awards showcase organizations that are pioneering energy-efficiency improvements in their IT and data center operations, or that provide technology that can significantly reduce energy consumption. The winners were: 
• Audacious Idea – Microsoft Containerization: An Evolution in Data Center Efficiency 
• Beyond the Data Center - Helsingin Energia.  The World's Most Eco-Efficient Computer Hall from Helsingin Energia. 
• Data Center Design – HP A Cool Low Energy Approach to Sustainable Data Center Design 
• Facilities Innovation – Savvis Savvis NJ2 HVAC Upgrade Project 
• Joint IT and Facilities Innovation – Itaú. An Integration Tool between IT and Facilities Departments in a Large Bank 
• IT Innovation - Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, US House of Representatives Going Green at the US House of Representatives 
• Outstanding Facilities Product - Verizon Wireless Orangeburg Data Center: Data Center Intelligent Cooling Controls 
• Outstanding IT Product – Raritan Data Center Energy Efficiency Improvement