What is a Leaders Lab?

AFCOM Leaders Labs
 are a series of regional workshops comprised of data center professionals who explore ideas and develop solutions to the most critical issues impacting data centers today. In the process of the workshop, which is led by an expert advisor, the attendees provide real-world experience and guidance in solving these issues and contribute to a whitepaper that is written by a professional writer. Each attendee is identified as an author of the whitepaper, which is ultimately released at Data Center World and published on AFCOM.com. Some of the topics we tackle include: 

•         Big Data/Machine Learning
•         Disaster Operations/Recovery
•         Energy Crisis/Energy Efficiency
•         Hybrid Cloud Architectures
•         Internet of Things
•         Data Center Security

These exclusive gatherings of thought leaders drive innovation, education, and advancement of data center concepts and technologies.

The AFCOM Leaders Lab groups meet in cities across the U.S., and the attendees become part of an exclusive group that continues year-round to share ideas through a gated LinkedIn group, and ultimately meet up at the annual Leaders Lab Alumni Reception at Data Center World. This year's cities and topics are:

San Diego, CA

  • September 24, 2019


What makes most sense for your data center when it’s time to handle larger and more complex workloads? Do you scale up or scale out? What are some of the parameters you need to know to make the right decision? In this Leaders Lab, attendees will work with our expert advisor to discover real-world solutions for their individual needs and then collaborate on an industry whitepaper that outlines recommended best practices. Attendees will determine how to decide if a scale-out approach with a large number of smaller nodes is needed, or whether a scale-up approach might be a better fit in a virtual server consolidation design and can rely on fewer physical servers. In today’s fast-paced business environment, it’s important to know all the information ahead of time to make an informed decision.

Houston, TX

September 26, 2019


Advisor: Kirk Killian, President, Data Center Selection/Procurement, Partners National Mission Critical Facilities

Colocation is becoming an integral part of many data center strategies, and coming up with the most effective cloud implementation to support it is imperative. Whether you’re designing a data center from the ground up or trying to determine how a co-location strategy fits into your current planning, you’ve got to have the right information and the right tools to avoid making costly mistakes. At this Leaders Lab, attendees will work with our advisor to discuss and debate decision making on cloud strategies, workload provisioning, site selection, partnering, and more. Attendees will bring their real-world experiences to discuss with their Leaders Lab colleagues and learn from the advisor which best practices make sense for their specific data center strategies to create actionable plans that will be included in the resulting whitepaper.

Minneapolis, MN

  • October 22, 2019


Advisor: Bill Kleyman, SVP, Digital Solutions, Switch

No matter where you are on the DCIM adoption spectrum, this Leaders Lab aims to get you to the cutting edge of what’s possible in data center management. Advancing on our conversation and discoveries at the 2018 Leaders Lab, attendees will discuss with the advisor how new technologies like AI, machine learning, predictive analytics, and more will impact the effectiveness of DCIM. The goal is to help attendees create a more intelligent data center that optimizes performance and efficiency.

Attendees will bring their real-world experiences to the conversation and work with each other and our advisor to analyze some of the industry’s most disruptive DCIM features and determine where to invest resources now and in the immediate future so they can better understand how to deploy DCIM. The resulting whitepaper will help industry peers to understand the next level of data center management.

Washington DC - Dulles Corridor

  • October 24, 2019


Advisor: Carrie Goetz, Global Director of Technology, Paige DataCom Solutions

We’re well past the days where legacy infrastructures – that is compute, storage, networks, and software – are designed and implemented individually in the data center. That kind of approach no longer is feasible to meet the growing demand of enterprise applications and explosion of data in today’s business. Rather, the hyperconverged approach of a highly scalable, software-defined data center is enabling businesses to grow and deliver for customers at the pace they demand. But HCI is approaching a next level of performance and capabilities that data center professionals need to better understand.

In this Leaders Lab, attendees will bring their real-world experiences and challenges to share with group members and, along with our expert advisor, make decisions that will help them develop tangible solutions to bring back to their own enterprises and also recommend to the industry via a Leaders Lab whitepaper. Attendees will discover how to deliver on-premise IT and data center services with the speed and efficiency of the public cloud.

San Antonio, TX

  • March, 2020


Exclusive Global Gathering

All Leaders Lab alumni will be invited to a special networking event at Data Center World. Results of all Leaders Labs whitepapers will be shared at sessions at the conference.

More than 1,600 data center, facilities and IT infrastructure professionals will gather in San Antonio, TX, from March 16-19 for Data Center World Global 2020. Unique to the industry, the Data Center World conference draws upon the knowledge and experience of the more than 3,500 AFCOM members, the association for advancing data center and IT infrastructure professionals, to create an end-user driven agenda that focuses on real solutions for today's key challenges.

Download Copies of the 2019 Leaders Lab Whitepapers Today