What would you describe as your most memorable achievement in the data centre industry?
Being asked to talk at DCD Mumbai was exciting as it showed people were genuinely interested in what I had to say. With the data centre industry being full of industry experts with a lifetime of experience, it was humbling to have been chosen to take part in this talk, with so many industry leaders in the space. With well over 100 people watching at the event, this translated to a huge queue at the booth I was exhibiting on post-talk. It was great to be able to discuss specific topics one-on-one and expand on points with the talk attendees.
My second most memorable achievement has to be having the opportunity to go on stage to accept a major award on behalf of Iceotope – this was an incredibly proud moment for me and a fantastic moment for the whole Iceotope team too. Celebrating the team’s successes and knowing that Iceotope’s innovation and hard work have been recognised by an industry-leading awards body, really makes all the work that we do worthwhile.
What first made you think of a career in technology/data centres?
I’m not sure many of us planned for a career in data centres (or even knew what one was for that matter) however once you’re there, you realise how data centres are intrinsically linked with everything we do every day and it’s a crazy thought. The innovation within the sector is something I find incredibly interesting and I wouldn’t dream of leaving this industry. I think that’s why it’s so close-knit, where everybody appears to know everybody – once you’re here you tend to stay.
What style of management philosophy do you employ in your current position?
Everybody should be as autonomous as they want or need to be with the right support available when required. The world has changed and I believe, certainly in this industry, that nine to five is a thing of the past. If I’ve learned anything over the last few years, it’s that you need to find the right balance between work and personal time – it’s a real cliché but it’s true and I always try to make sure people take the time they need, even if it’s during the traditional working day. Trust is critical within team dynamics to ensure a successful and happy environment.
What do you think is the current hot talking point within the data centre space?
I’m going to be completely biased here, given what I do, but I also think most people would agree with me that liquid cooling is one of the main topics of conversation at the moment. It’s not just a case of if liquid cooling will take off on a wider scale but when. Of course, it’s directly linked to the other main buzzwords at the moment within the data centre industry including Edge Computing, HPC and sustainability, making it an exciting place to be working within. Looking at the energy efficiency of liquid cooling and the overarching savings it can have for a data centre is outstanding and something I feel is progressing the data centre industry forward.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?
I think it’s important to remain active and I find running in the countryside is a great stress reliever and a way of organising the thoughts in your mind after a stressful day. I’ve also recently taken up kayaking, which I’ve found to be a great way of unwinding.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
Sustainability is key and I think several global events over the last few years – from extreme weather to war – have shown just how important it is that changes are made and that these changes are made sooner rather than later. Seemingly unlinked events can have catastrophic consequences for many industries – just look at the cost of energy. I can’t think of many industries, certainly ours, that aren’t severely affected. Investment is required to lessen the impact of such events in future and the focus on sustainability is vital, again I can link this back to what I do with liquid cooling and the ability to save huge amounts of energy and water.
What are the region-specific challenges you encounter in your role?
From a technical standpoint, it would be climatic conditions that I encounter within my role, sometimes this can be of great benefit given liquid cooling can be almost agnostic to conditions until you start hitting major extremes. From a personal point of view, working in a truly global business it’s always a challenge staying on top of time zones with both colleagues and customers, particularly when you’re trying to bring together the UK, Singapore and the US’ West Coast.
What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the coming months?
I’ve been a home worker since before the pandemic so that in itself wasn’t a huge change, however, not being able to meet in person or travel for events globally was noticeable.
My working style depends on getting to know people to understand what drives them and it’s so hard to do over video calls. At the time you don’t think it’s affecting you but since I’ve started to get back out in the world, I’ve realised how much I’ve missed the face-to-face interactions.
There are some really exciting things going on at Iceotope so the next year is going to be busy but, with travel ramping up again, I’m excited to see what the future holds.