Tune in to this #NomadFuturist podcast to learn what it takes to run mission critical facilities at a time when the data center industry is in flux. Chris Wade is our first speaker with extensive experience working at the foundational layer of physical infrastructure.
From architecture to climate-controlled technologies to nuclear power plants to data centers, Wade shares the thirty-year journey that led him to critical infrastructure leadership positions with responsibility for data center facility systems, energy management, construction, engineering, operations, and maintenance for multi-megawatt infrastructures, supporting multi-billion-dollar businesses.
Wade stresses the importance of stakeholder management and bringing everybody to the table at the same time to figure out what can and cannot be done.
There’s always been this lack of conversation between the IT guys and the facility guys…As far as the IT guys were concerned, things just magically happened. And then you have the facility guys saying these IT guys always want something that we can’t do.
He sees energy efficiency and power utilization challenges bringing IT and facilities teams together. “Everything is getting smaller. And as it is gets smaller it gets hotter. So how are we going to dissipate the heat?” He describes the need to look back at techniques like liquid cooling as well as consider new technologies like immersion cooling.
The podcast highlights the importance of having a holistic approach, as the data center is its own ecosystem with many interrelated parts.
Back in the old days, a facilities guy had his tools and was doing different things. Today that same guy has to know the facility side, the IT side, the controls side, because now we’re getting into energy management, into capacity planning… even from a physics perspective you are looking at computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
Wade comments on the evolution of the data center industry - how training didn’t exist thirty years ago, because everyone was still learning.
Today, the data center is not only an industry, it’s a profession. Now you see universities starting to provide training programs for data centers.
In terms of future trends, Wade predicts that data center automation will grow in importance and will free technicians and engineers to focus on more strategic work.
He offers the following advice to those who want to enter the datacenter industry:
Don’t think you can’t make a good living without going to college. If you get into the datacenter industry either on the IT side or the facility side continue to learn. Look out there and see what’s happening. AI will take some jobs away, but it will also create some jobs. So, start looking at what will be needed for the future realm of the datacenter.
Christopher A. Wade has 30+ years of experience working in the Mission Critical Facilities industry in the areas of retail, government, air travel, education, banking, and nuclear power generation. He has been involved in all aspects of critical facility management including data center facility design, build, installation, and operations.
Wade is currently the Regional Manager of Data Center Operations in Atlanta, GA. Before this, he was an Area Manager for Data Center Engineering Operations at Amazon Web Services, the National Director of Critical Environments with NKF, a Managing Director at Resilient Mission Critical Solutions, a Senior Manager of Global Data Center Services at Walmart, the Senior Manager of Facilities Operations and Maintenance at Southeastern Facility Management, and a Senior Facility Manager at ARAMARK Facility Services. Wade is a member of several industry organizations and has authored numerous industry articles, co-authored white papers, and delivered conference presentations on data center facilities management, energy efficiency, and facilities management.