A Roof in Midtown Manhattan

I was on a plane flight with an executive from the hospitality industry not too long ago, who told me a very interesting story – about the impact of flat panel televisions on hotel room occupancy. According to this exec, flat panel TV’s drove down industry occupancy rates.


No, seriously.


Apparently the space savings and lower power consumption of a flat panel TV (think about it, they’re quite a bit smaller and draw far less energy) allowed hotels to skip having to put giant media cabinets in their rooms. And they could save on their total power (and air conditioning) envelope, as well. Which freed up space, power and budget for more rooms. Which led to a glut of new rooms, and the rest falls into place.


It reminded me of a conversation I had with a CIO at a large financial institution in midtown Manhattan a few months back. She’d just been promoted to be the CIO of her company, and in one of her first meetings with the CEO, brought him a picture of the roof of their building.


Care to guess why?

42 Comments

Filed under General

42 responses to “A Roof in Midtown Manhattan

  1. Steve

    I presume she’s interested in installing solar panels or other similar technology with which they can power their data center? Or, is she pointing out the number of HVAC units required to cool their datacenter?

  2. OK – I’ll bite! Although I haven’t run the numbers to sense-check my guess. Anyway, my guess at her proposal is:

    o Install new low-power servers (e.g. CoolThreads), which will give a factor of ten saving on power – as measured by “watts per square foot” in the data center

    o Recognise that historically, to run a data center on solar power, you needed 10X the surface area of solar panel cf data center floor area

    o Put the above together – if you use CoolThreads servers in the data center, and you could power it via solar panels on the roof

  3. Paul Beiser

    to look at all of the air conditioners..

  4. Lickedcat

    The amount of air conditioners?
    BTW, I run a little production voip network. When I started there was no Unix and no hardware except for Dell and IBM.
    First thing I did was buy Suns SF60x and V240, 14 in total. This was 2.5 years ago. 10 months ago I had to buy a system that only ran on Dell, 4 of them.
    In the last 10 months 2 of the Dells have failed due to hardware problems (50% failure rate in 10 months). Luckily the Suns are still humming along after 2.5 years.
    Thanks Again Sun.

  5. > Care to guess why?
    Air conditioners?

  6. To show him how bad for the environment was the cooler (needed to dissipate all the calories produced in the server room) installed on this roof?
    A way to convince him to purchase more energy-efficient servers

  7. Andy

    Sun with power of waterfall will clean your roof🙂

  8. Taking a break

    To show the number of cooling towers?

  9. Hmmmm . . . does it have anything to do with the number of HVAC units cooling their data center?

  10. Massive AC units on the roof?
    -M

  11. In the middle of January there was snow on every neighboring rooftop but, from air conditioning exhaust required to cool their energy-hungry server room, their share of snow had melted?

  12. Dave

    Air conditioning for their servers.

  13. Justin

    Covered with air conditioners?

  14. Love it. I’m seeing a great customer profile: Leading New York bank switches to Sun servers with lower power and cooling requirements, frees up roof space by removing a/c units, uses recovered square footage for xeric container garden!

  15. Marc

    Because there were too many satellite dishes on the roof?

  16. She had solar panels to supplement her electrical needs as she was running HW from our competitors…

  17. It was probably either empty, or cluttered with signboards. (?)

  18. Peter J.

    She wanted to install one of these?

  19. Huge cooling towers on the roof?

  20. Patrick Osborne

    I hope the photo was to highlight her firm’s new commitment to sustainable energy sources, i.e. solar, and not her point of egress after finding out how much her budget is spent with IBM Global Services…

  21. Mike Pogue

    OK, even though I work for Sun (which I say in the spirit of full disclosure), I’ll take a guess.
    Knowing Jonathan’s focus on power consumption, and having lived on the east coast before, I bet that the picture was in winter time, and it showed lots of snow everywhere, except right over the machine room, where the snow was melted. No snow equals costs literally going through the roof (sorry, I couldn’t resist!🙂.

  22. To show him just how far he has to fall if he screws up as CEO? Bit of early psychology for the new CIO..

  23. …to see Sun shareholders jumping off the roof as the share price falls below $4.25? I jest! I’m still holding a long position and can’t wait for your blade and storage announcements this summer. Your recent real estate sale proves you really do care about getting back in the black.

  24. Richard Chuo

    If the management only focuses on saving ‘costs’, it may not really help the business, on the contrary this may deteriorate the business. If every business decision is only based on financial statements without contemplating more perspectives, the decision may not benefit the company. Sorry that I do not exactly answer what that CIO’s purpose may be. Just have the thought after reading the story about flat panel TVs.

  25. Adam

    To prove that glass ceilings are so 80s.

  26. Lots of guesses are already their,number of HVAC units seems the best one , let me try for the rest, only one left -> she must be very beautiful🙂

  27. No room for a new cooling tower

  28. To use as advertising space for passengers on flights landing/taking-off to see, or even via google maps type applications; if the offices are near a place of interest. Both could be argued to be a good return of marketing budgets.

  29. Jan Brueggmann

    She tried to blackmail the CEO because he is a married man and was “relaxing” with one of his female co-workers on top of the roof.

  30. Sarah Mayhew

    To show him that by standing on top of the building he couldn’t really see what was going on within his own company. He might might be able to see across to other companies (buildings) from his lofty view point but that’s all. It’s only if he bothered to take the stairs down from the roof and visit each floor that he would be able to see what was happening within his own company. The CIO had been working in the company and walked up the stairs so she knew what was going on. Being at the top doesn’t always mean you’re in the know.

  31. Chris Mueller

    No Solar Shields to grab more energy for power-hungry servers?

  32. David S.

    From the roof, buildings are most indistinguishable (at least in Manhattan). Like a financial institution, a building can be built higher and higher, bigger and bigger, than its competitors, but it remains a building; it remains a financial institution. The roof only has so much area. The idea is: either distinguish the institution from the myriad others or specialize therefore minimizing spilling any ventures over the ledge.

  33. Jody Scott

    Increases in quantity supplied facing an unchanged demand curve will result in lower prices, thus increasing quantity demanded. Net change in occupancy rate is zero.
    or
    Buy a Sun Cool Thread System because your competitors already did.

  34. Bobby Orbach

    35 answers:
    24 about power
    4 about Vision
    3 cute answers
    2 about communications
    My question is, did the roof picture work??did the CEO approve her IT budget??

  35. Tan Wee Hing

    To show how ugly is a root top that filled with chillers and want her to cut down on the number of c hillers and to put this her 1st and primary task, as this is no.1 cost of data center.

  36. To install cell phones antenas as a new source of revenue?

  37. I wonder how many industries are experiencing a similar trend towards reduced space, heating and electricity consumption.

  38. It would have been wiser for those hotels to make the rooms slightly larger and charge slightly extra…
    or even put an optional small exercise area for those to self conscious to visit the gym

  39. Henning Heinz

    Unfortunately I can confirm that flat panel TV take less space but they generally do not draw far less energy. This is a marketing myth and unfortunately it seems to work.
    There are a lot of reasons to buy a flat panel TV, energy consumption is not one of them.

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