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October 2013, Volume 2, Number 9

Better metrics for planning and tracking data center investments

Learning the names for different metrics isn't enough to improving the quality of your computing and the quality of your data center investments. In 1958, Oliver Smoot Jr. and his fraternity brothers at MIT measured Harvard Bridge using his body as a measuring stick. The resulting smoot unit is immortalized with markings and a plaque on the bridge, but it’s found almost nowhere else. But people in Cambridge like smoots, which reflect their history and their character. In fact, you might argue that all measurement systems are arbitrary. Inches, acres, miles, meters, gallons and gigajoules -- their definitions were all chosen. We called the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458th of a second p meter and made it a foundation of the International System of Units (a.k.a. the metric system). But we could have picked 1/300,000,000 or 1/299,876,321 or anything, really. IT is going through tremendous rebuilding and re-architecting. We’re between a half-dozen and 30 years into cloud, virtualization, bladed and converging ...

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