Rookies and Veterans Alike Benefit from Summer Meeting


The Carolinas 7×24 summer meeting held August 14–15 in Charleston, SC, was a magnet for nearly 170 attendees. They gathered for an evening of networking and socializing at the Bay Street Biergarten on the 14th before settling into a day of informative sessions on the 15th.

It was the first 7×24 meeting for Paul Carff, data center facilities manager for Google. Carff is new to the data center world. He admits to being “a little bit nervous getting to meet everybody. But it was very warming. I come from California, so the southern hospitality was alive and well, and I felt very comfortable very quickly. It was great to be able to do that.” Paul was surprised to learn “how much data center activity is in the South. It was really good to get educated and get that exposure.”

Paul found the keynote address on future trends “very useful. At Google it’s how we think.” He points out that Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin talk about taking technological Moon shots. It’s their way of describing the kind of advancement leaps they hope to achieve.  “As a company we work really hard to do that,” Paul says. “We don’t just seek incremental improvement if we can help it; we try to do big, huge jumps. That’s a lot of what speaker Jack Uldrich was talking about. He gave 10 examples. Every one was a technology that cut across industries. In order to make those technologies work, there’s going to have to be cloud information data centers that are going to be very important in their success.”

The panel session on key performance indicators was equally enlightening. “Listening to what the different members thought was important and what isn’t surprised me a little bit,” said Paul. “What I found intriguing and very refreshing was the openness and how different people had contrary views. They had a very frank and honest discussion. That was pretty good stuff.”

Would Paul attend another meeting? “Absolutely. You get exposure to things you haven’t thought about.”

The keynote address on future trends stood out for veteran attendee Daniel O’Hara, chief engineer for BB&T mission critical services. He’s been to eight or nine 7×24 events over the past four years. “Emerging trends like robotics are becoming more commonplace outside of the industrial setting. They’re coming now to the commercial retail setting. It’s really interesting what’s gong on with 3-D manufacturing and 3-D printers, as well as genomics, or gene sequencing technology. The amount of processing power and data these types of technologies use will have a direct impact on the data center mission critical industry.”

Daniel makes a point of trying to attend any event the Carolinas chapter has. “You get to keep up through informal conversations with what’s going on in the industry. It provides a forum where you can talk with vendors and other service providers such as engineers in a non-sales environment. The people respect that you are there to learn. It’s about networking with others in the industry, and keeping current.”


See Article 1: Cloud Computing: A Tale of Two Industries
See Article 3: 2015 Winter Meeting Preview