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[#GreenerData | Author Spotlight] Virtual Power Systems’ Karim Shaikhc

GREENER DATA Author Spotlight

Karim Shaikh, CTO at Virtual Power Systems (VPS) and a faculty member of the Integrated Innovation Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

Karim is also a contributing author to the much-anticipated book Greener Data: Actionable Insights from Industry Leaders, making its debut on Amazon on Earth Day – April 22, 2022.

What does the term Greener Data mean to you?
Each piece of data flowing through the internet infrastructure incurs an economic cost and an environmental cost. We tend to ignore the environmental cost covering the embodied and operational carbon footprint of the infrastructure we need to process that data. To me,  greener data uses less embodied and operational carbon to flow through the internet.

At what point in your career did you shift your mindset to developing more sustainable solutions for digital infrastructure? Did you have any mentors or inspirational leaders you account to your shift?

I’d say this happened to me when I first connected with Virtual Power Systems (VPS). Until then, I had very little awareness of the huge inefficiency in the data centers. While there was significant focus by the industry on improving the mechanical and electrical systems, no one was paying attention to the underutilization of power infrastructure. In the process of my shift, I was mentored and inspired by Peter Gross, one of the most influential people in the data center industry, Shankar Ramamurthy, founder of VPS and Dean Nelson, founder of Infrastructure Masons and CEO of VPS.

What do you see as the future of the industry in regards to Greener Data and more sustainable solutions?
I am excited by the awareness and acceptance of sustainability in the digital infrastructure industry.  What I really expect will happen in the future is that environmental impact will play as important a role as economic impact in day-to-day decision-making.  When we get to that stage, it’ll be even more meaningful and revolutionary. 

What are some of the initiatives or new technology you, along with Virtual Power Systems (VPS), have formed or been a part of to support the overall cause of sustainable solutions?
Through our productsVPS is educating the industry on how software/hardware interplay and automation are essential elements of a sustainable data center. This is a new concept to a traditionally risk-averse industry.  We are also collaborating with other members of Infrastructure Masons on industry-wide green initiatives.

You have a chapter you authored in Greener Data: Actionable Insights from Industry Leaders, titled “Defining the Digital Infrastructure Industry”, due out on Amazon on Earth Day, April 22. What was one of the main reasons you decided to be a part of the book and how do you plan to utilize the opportunity to spread the word to others?

My fellow authors in this book are some of the most innovative leaders in the digital infrastructure industry. It was a great opportunity for me to collaborate with them. In my chapter, I use simple terms to educate the industry on the economic and environmental benefits of software-defined power and autonomous digital infrastructure. I also highlight a few easy steps that can be taken by every stakeholder to test these concepts in their data center.

Click here to listen to Karim talk about maximizing power infrastructure and more in a special Greener Data episode of JSA’s Data Movers podcast.

Follow the Greener Data movement on LinkedIn with the hashtag #GreenerData.

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