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AFCOM president aims to green, globalize data center association

The Data center user group AFCOM recently appointed William L. DiBella as its president. DiBella has been involved with AFCOM for 11 years since founding data center networking company Connectivity Technologies. In this Q&A, DiBella addresses his goals for the organization: greening the data center and expanding AFCOM globally. Former AFCOM president Jill Eckhaus is moving to CEO and was also on this call.

How did you get involved with AFCOM?

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Eleven years ago, I joined AFCOM as an exhibitor [at Data Center World]. Coming in as a vendor, I have a very good understanding of the data center and vendor relationships. At Connectivity Technologies, our focus was on the physical layer of network infrastructure. We provided all physical layer connectivity from the mainframe to the SAN, tape or DASD. We manufactured, designed and installed cabling. That's how we began to understand the issues around data center design What are your goals for the organization
I want to take AFCOM more into a global position. We're very large in the U.S., but we would like to expand into Europe and Asia. There is tremendous growth there in the data center community. The issues for data center managers in Europe and Asia are different from the U.S. -- and we are featuring sections in the magazine addressing those issues. [Eckhaus noted 23 countries were represented at last spring's Data Center World conference.]

Also, when you take a look at the data center industry, there are a lot of subsets. Historically we have targeted data center managers and facility managers, but we also need to reach CIOs and CFOs. The industry seems to be looking at green data center strategies. Is that something the organization will focus on?
If you take a look at power consumption today in the U.S., 1-2% is being consumed by data centers. In five years it could be up to 4%. At that point, it's important to have servers be energy rated, but also data centers themselves to be rated on power consumption. How data center power consumption is managed is going to make companies look good or not. Also, Europe's RHOS compliance issues are going to be coming to the U.S. I look for the U.S. to actually lead in this area. That's why we need to go to the C-level side, to get them prepared for what's coming. The industry seems to be looking at green data center strategies. Is that something the organization will focus on?
Data center managers are hearing about green issues about it all the time. It's not one of their main concerns, but it is something they need to be prepared for. Is the data center industry at a crossroads?
The industry has exploded. About five years back when SAN prices dropped, it had a big impact. The speed, quality and quantity of information have exploded and the storage prices played a part in that explosion.

Today, data centers are built, kept up for five years and then consolidated. The industry is very dynamic. Data centers built 20 years ago weren't designed for today's demands. People have gotten smarter and are now planning down to the fine details.

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