Q&A: Steve Merkel, CIO, Latisys
Latisys chief information officer Steve Merkel discusses the company's green initiative, parts of which were intentionally timed to occur as the Democratic National Convention brought its environmental efforts to the company's home town of Denver, Colorado.
By David Hamilton, theWHIR.com
September 8, 2008 -- (WEB HOST INDUSTRY REVIEW) -- Colorado hosting services provider Latisys announced its environmental initiatives were complete in support of the City of Denver's role as host of the Democrats' "greenest political convention in history." When the fanfare dies down, Latisys hopes its energy-efficient data center will help steer corporate change to reflect a growing environmental consciousness across party lines.
The Latisys-Denver facility is a 30,000-square-foot data center in Englewood, just south of Denver. It incorporates technology including high efficiency DC battery power systems, lower power use because of virtualization and LEED-approved cooling components, as part of its multi-million-dollar expansion.
Latisys started its "green initiative" as part of Denver's "efforts to leave an enduring legacy of sustainability programs," according to the company.
In an email interview with the WHIR, Latisys chief information officer Steve Merkel discusses the company's own initiatives and the general environmental atmosphere in Denver as "green" becomes a popular buzzword in both politics and business.
Could you give us a timeline of your green initiative?
Steve Merkel: We started our green improvements after the purchase of the Latisys-Denver data center (formerly Data393) by Virginia-based Managed Data Holdings (now known as Latisys Corp.). The purchase enabled the completion of our multi-million dollar expansion in the facility. From the beginning, we had an eye for making these upgrades as a way to offer new and improved services for our customers, provide expansion opportunities for our data center and to end up with a green data center. For instance, our newly installed high-density colocation suite features high-density blade servers that reduce our equipment footprint.
Was it planned to occur around the time of the Democratic National Convention? What is the significance of the announcement occurring close to the DNC?
SM: We made the announcement around the time of Denver hosting the Democratic National Convention because the city and the politicians have been spotlighting green initiatives nationally as well as here in Denver with the arrival of the convention. In fact, the convention was touted as the "greenest political convention in history." Though we had been working on our green initiatives during the months leading up to the convention, the timing of our announcement was well suited during this national political event.
Latisys' Green initiative also follows in the footsteps of the City of Denver's efforts to leave an enduring legacy of sustainability programs in the Denver metro area after the convention. We are promoting our green initiatives to our clients, our potential customers and on our website.
How does Latisys' green initiative fit into the City of Denver's legacy of sustainability programs?
SM: Denver's Mayor John Hickenlooper has pledged along with 49 other cities to improve the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to GreenPrint, the city's website promoting its green initiatives (greenprintdenver.org), cities worldwide cover two percent of the surface but consume 75 percent of earth resources. Denver has charted a course over the next five years to position Denver as a leader in earth-friendly directives, including encouraging green buildings and reduction of overall energy consumption. The progress we've made with the installation of a high-density colocation suite, heat reflection on our data center's roof, use of DC power, and the installation of more efficient 600kw generators at N+1 redundancy complements Denver's green efforts.
According to reports, the DNC not only is touted as the "greenest," but also the most connected convention in history. From looking at the involvement of those Colorado-based technology companies handling the live video and CDN, or those providing additional connectivity and IT services to the convention, is there anything you would recommend the DNC change or improve to make the next convention greener?
SM: While organizations have emphasized several environmental aspects of the DNC, such as replacing plastic hotel key doors with those made from birch wood, as well as fueling the DNC car fleet with fuel made from beer waste, little has been discussed regarding the IT infrastructure that was deployed at this year's convention. Some areas that we would suggest they look at in 2012 are these: