AOL Hunts and Catches the Power Hog

March 30th, 2012 by · Leave a Comment

The most unique story out there this week came from AOL, which won the Server Roundup award by decommissioning almost 10K servers to save some $5M, highlighting just how cluttered infrastructure can get over the years. Mike Manos, now CTO of AOL’s parent, Huffington Post, and of course the former head of Digital Realty, spearheaded the effort and offered some very interesting commentary both on how important and how nasty this job was for AOL.  He also introduced me to the wonderful new word for the detritus left behind in any IT organization by the endless progression technology: cruft – which somehow managed to make it to Wikipedia before crossing my path.

Power Hog StatueApparently they even managed to make the process of cleaning out the ‘cruft’ into a bit of fun, which helped it keep momentum. They were passing around a big brass statue of a hog to whomever was thought to be next on the inefficient power usage hit-list. Dave OHara of the Green Data Center Blog posted a picture of the hog itself (small version to the left).  He’s kinda cute.

It just goes to show that the cloud revolution is not just about installing the latest and greatest gear to power the applications of the future, it’s also about a real opportunity to clean out the garage, and the basement, and the shed. AOL will get more out of all the effort they put into this project than the $5M that shows up on the ledgers. It will show up in the intangible but critical self-understanding an IT organization has for its own capabilities and opportunities. There’s power in that, hopefully they will find a way to harness it.

And of course they had to celebrate with a YouTube video that deserves a Friday viewing:

Apparently AOL staff now has plenty of time on their hands… and a substantial stockpile of fake mustaches.  All of which reminds me, I need to go clean out the shed. It is Spring after all.

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Categories: Cloud Computing · Datacenter

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