In recent weeks, I have blogged about the cover story of the current (July-August) issue of Mission Critical and also about the new column about personnel issues written by Andy Lane and Bruce Myatt's Zinc Whiskers. This week, I'd like to call attention to other features in this issue. And, if you look closely, you will see that these articles have already been posted to our website and made available in our digital issue.

Dennis Cronin, for example, holds a spotlight to the progress the data center industry is making in going green. It's not a pretty picture. Sure, he notes that deciding to be green requires doing things differently. We're not making much progress there, he says. Worse yet, in some areas we are actually losing ground. "On the IT side, data centers are even beginning to lose the energy benefits gained from virtualization and cloud computing, as the management tools for these systems are still far from mature. These processes, which contribute so much to server efficiency, also make it so easy to provision a new server that many mid-level companies are experiencing significant server sprawl because of a lack of robust management policies," he writes.

Peter Curtis points out that preparation makes a difference in coping with disaster. He warns, though, that despite relearning this truism time and time again we never act on this knowledge and leave ourselves vulnerable to the next disaster. He writes, "n the wake of the current oil spill disaster in the Gulf and the recent rash of natural disasters, we can only hope that these situations are the wakeup call to all industries that rigorous standards of safety and planning need to be in play in order to effectively and efficiently handle potentially disastrous emergency situations. Too many times we have seen a loss of life resulting from operational failures that could have been avoided, or at least handled in a safe manner." Peter has been warning that this attention deficit will only be made worse if we don't properly train a new generation to replace a retiring experienced workforce.

Doug Sandberg continues his technology by technology look at safety and reliability practices. Doug's column regularly includes the most hands on content we publish in each issue. This is to be expected, though, given his long career in the industry. In an interesting tie to Curtis's Digital Power column, Sandberg writes, "During a discussion of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, my colleague, Tom Leonard of BTECH Inc., reminded me that most failures are a result of a string of events, and no one event is typically responsible. Most reports point to the failure of a blow-out preventer as a major contributing factor leading to the oil spill, but few reports identify a dead battery as a possible reason that the blow-out preventer failed." Talk about a foreseeable failure, probably caused by failure to follow best practices, or at least, procedures.

Peter Funk's legal column is practical in a different way. The industry often talks about how it is unique, and it is, in many ways. Yet what does this mean? From at least one perspective, the energy demand of data centers means that operators must carefully scrutinize standard leases suitable for almost any other facilities for provisions that could affect costs in a dramatic factor. "What’s more, some real estate professionals may not fully appreciate the special needs of data centers that need to be addressed in a lease," he writes.

The feature line up supports these themes. I hope you can take the time to read about them.  Pentadyne's Frank Delattre tells a very interesting story of how Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has embraced new technology to become greener. "What’s more, some real estate professionals may not fully appreciate the special needs of data centers that need to be addressed in a lease."

Dave Cole compares the task of managing infrastructure to managing an elephant. His use of the elephant anecdote suggests that the elephant is not the problem,  rather it is the judgment of people blind to the needs of the project and overwhelmed by its scale.

Dave Kozischek's articla about structured cable also covers more than its purported topic. "Structured cabling is an important part of data center planning. The use of base-12 and base-24 cabling can greatly improve the design process and provide greater infrastructure efficiencies. Proper planning needs to be taken into account when migrating these types of cabling infrastructures to 40G and 100G networks," he writes. This article, which is a guide to structured cable, talks extensively about project planning.

The remaining story, "Understanding IBC Wind Load Requirements for Generating Systems" by Allan Bliemeister, sort of stands by itself. Still, I wanted to include it as because it adds yet another topic to an issue about a broad range of issues confronting operators of mission-critical facilities.