Web Exclusive: CeBit Technology Show

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This past Monday, March 2, marked the opening of the international trade show CeBit 2009 in Hannover, Germany. Attending the show this year, I’ve had the opportunity to see product and service providers that are showcasing their latest and greatest in data center infrastructure–including power and cooling solutions, physical security, and products that we may be seeing in the future.

CeBIT is the world’s largest trade show highlighting digital IT and telecommunications solutions for home and work environments. The key target groups are users from industry, the wholesale/retail sector, skilled trades, banks, the services sector, government agencies, and science. Since 1986, Deutsche Messe AG has organized the event in Hannover.

Hannover Fairgrounds/CeBit 2009

Hannover Fairgrounds/CeBit 2009

Economic conditions around the globe have been a topic of discussion by many, and the situation has also seemed to create a backdrop to the event this year. Also, CeBit 2009 has seen a decrease in exhibitor companies; 4,300 companies from 69 nations are being represented at the event, compared with 5,845 in 2008. However, many are taking a optimistic viewpoint; perhaps it’s because technology is so central to the so many lives today and holds much promise for increasing cost saving efficiencies.

Deutsche Messe AG has taken that mindset for the event. Said Ernst Raue, managing board director, previous to the show opening: “CeBIT 2009 is sending a signal to buck the international crisis mentality. Given the depth of the world economic crisis, [the number of exhibitors] represents a success. In view of the overall business environment, we are extremely satisfied. 4,300 enterprises will demonstrate they are in solid shape and want to put the recession behind them quickly. At CeBIT 2009 the goal is–now more than ever–to develop new business and act boldly and with confidence vis-à-vis the future.”

Joining the show this year as the 2009 official Partner State of Germany’s IT and telecommunications industry association, BITKOM, and of CeBIT, is the state of California. This is the first time a state has been a partner; previously, only nations have been CeBit partners. As part of this partnership, 51 California companies are exhibiting here.

California’s participation brought another dynamic presence to CeBit this year. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spent time in Hannover to participate in the opening ceremony on Monday and to tour the show throughout the day on Tuesday. He ended Tuesday by hosting a California reception on the show grounds.

Gov. Schwarzenegger was a big draw for CeBit 2009.

Gov. Schwarzenegger was a big draw for CeBit 2009.

Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony on Monday, March 2, took place in the city of Hannover. Welcoming attendees to CeBit was Lord Mayor of Hannover Stephan Weil. He was followed by August Wilhelm Scheer, BITKOM president; Craig Barrett, chairman of the board of Intel; and Gov. Schwarzenegger.

During his address, Schwarzenegger spoke optimistically about the future of technology and its ability to “pump up” the economy. He also spoke fondly of the years he had spent in Munich, Germany before moving to the U.S. With a nod to his Hollywood movies, the governor concluded the speech with a few of his best known lines: “I’ll be back. Hasta la vista.” The crowd loved it.

The opening ceremony speakers watch robotic arm technology in action.

The opening ceremony speakers watch robotic arm technology in action.

Rounding out the opening ceremony was German Chancellor Angela Merkel who urged her country (along with the rest of the global community) to keep moving forward with innovations in technology.

Day One

Tuesday, March 3, included a look at some of the products offering solutions for the increasing overlap of facility management and IT.

One new release from APC by Schneider Electric is the latest version of its InfraStruXure Central. This server appliance, part of APC’s Data Center Physical Infrastructure (DCPI) Management Suite of applications, handles Capacity Manager and Change Manager softwares, which enable managers a deep view into their equipment. One interesting development from the facilities side is that InfraStruXure Central 5.1 can integrate with existing IT and building management systems (BMS). A Modbus TCP output provides a standardized method of integrating rack level power, cooling, and environmental data and alarms with a facility’s BMS. With this capability, facility managers can be afforded access to the data affecting their planning and operations, as it relates to the data centers in their buildings.

Another interesting aspect of this is the Capacity Manager software, which now offers an energy cost management report plug-in to provide visibility into the energy usage of a specified group of equipment, based on kW/hour. Useful to facility managers who would like to track the energy usage of the various departments/business units in their organizations.

Green Grows

The Green IT World Pavilion (formerly Green IT Village) is a larger presence at the show this year from its introduction in 2008. I attended a panel discussion, part of the Germany-California ICT Business Summit at the show, entitled “Green IT – Hype or Hope?” As might be expected the participants were enthusiastic about the potential of technology to increase efficiencies in a variety of applications, including data center operations, other facility type operations, business processes, energy sources, and healthcare.

Dennis Pamlin, global policy advisor for World Wildlife Fund, pointed out the potential that Green IT offers to a wide range of applications. He observed that sometimes those in the industry can get caught up in “naval gazing,” noting that where he sees the potential of Green IT to be is about 2% actual IT components and processes, with the remaining 98% of the equation being what IT can deliver in sustainable benefits (e.g. video conferencing, energy sources).

The other participants were Brian McGowan, deputy secretary for economic development and commerce/ business, transportation & housing agency for the State of California; Fabian Bahr, head of international affairs, BITKOM; Martin Jetter, IBM country manager, Germany; Prof. Lucas Bergkamp, president, Hunton & Williams; and Rob Mulligan, sr. vice president, international affairs, TechAmerica.

Today, this editor is walking the show to dig deeper into the potential of Green IT for facility managers. There will also be a visit to futureparc, a pavilion showcasing products and technologies just entering the marketplace or those that we might see within the next 20 years.

(Center and lower photos copyright Deutsche Messe AG)

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