Meet the Conference Chair: Andy Lawrence

Andy Lawrence, Research Vice President, is serving as the Conference Chair for the upcoming Datacentre Executive Summit in London on 21 October. We sat down with Andy to gain some more insight on this innovative summit and what you can expect from attending.

Hi Andy, thanks for speaking with us today. 451 Research has been holding topic-related Executive Summits for a few years now. Why do you think there was a need to add an Executive Summit with a Datacentre focus?

AL: We at 451 Research have wanted to hold a Datacentre Summit like this for some time. We, along with our colleagues at Uptime Institute, think a lot about where datacentres are going, what technologies are emerging and how they can be implemented, and of course, Uptime is the global authority on how datacentres can best be designed and run. With this event, we really want to discuss our thinking and ideas with well-informed managers and individuals in the UK and Europe. We think they will appreciate and benefit from our input, but just as important to us, we want to get their feedback, and hear what their issues are.

There are, of course, quite a number of datacentre events on the calendar in the UK, but these tend to be vendor-dominated and have a “footfall” model. We’re much more about small, focused groups and discussion sessions. Neither 451 nor our sister company Uptime has ever held an event like this in Europe, where a very few key suppliers, along with executives from enterprises, take part in a small, interactive event.

#451datacentresummit: What type of attendees do you expect to see at the Summit?

AL: With this event, we’re inviting a fairly specific group of individuals. We want managers/executives who have a direct interest in building or running datacentres, and who want to know how to achieve availability, efficiency and business agility. Some of these managers will have responsibility for IT, some for facilities and many for both. The UK is a very important hub for datacentres, which helps with issues such as expertise, connectivity and support, but it also means the competition is intense. We’re expecting our strong interest in, and knowledge of, cloud will also attract individuals who want to understand how cloud is affecting or will affect their datacentre strategies.

#451datacentresummit: How is the Summit different than others we have run?

AL: This is the first Datacentre Summit that we have run; we want it to be the first of many, so we have thought carefully about ensuring it will be a lively, interactive event with discussions, panels and presentations that are non-salesy and very current with technology. At 451, we focus a lot on change and disruption, and needless to say, we can see a lot of that in this sector. The Uptime Institute has been running datacentre events around the world for years, but this is the first time the practical input from Uptime has combined with 451’s market and technology-led approach. Uptime will have its own sessions, and several of their top engineers will be present – and 451’s top analysts in datacentre technology will be there as well.

#451datacentresummit: What are some of the current challenges facing datacentre professionals that will be discussed at the event?

AL: There is so much change in the datacentre industry that it is sometimes hard to know where to focus. We have structured our event to ensure we give some time to the big developments: software (DCIM); evolving and emerging infrastructure technologies (power, cooling, open compute); the impact of cloud; connectivity (in the UK and European markets, again in a cloud context); and operational efficiency. In think tanks and roundtables, scheduled subjects include prefabricated datacentres; DCIM and ITSM/business software integration; and optimizing existing datacentres. There will also be panels where we present ideas to customers to see whether they agree with our views and assessments.


#451datacentresummit: Thanks again, Andy. It sounds like there will be a lot to discuss. Interested executives can apply online for a place at the summit. 
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