Cisco's Marcoux Charged Up for Designing a Corporate 'Green Road Map'

Electrical engineering wunderkind and Green Grid co-founder Paul Marcoux is charged with lowering the (electrical) charge requirements for a wide variety of products and putting intelligence into energy management. And he's doing it for a 68,000-person corporation.

Data center and power-supply industry veteran Paul Marcoux was hired a year ago to serve as director of all of Cisco Systems' green IT initiatives, and that's one tall order. Cisco employs some 68,000 people and owns dozens of workplaces around the world.
Marcoux (pronounced Mar-KOO), whose official title is vice president of green engineering in Cisco's Development Organization Operations, joined the company from American Power Conversion Corp., where he held an executive position reporting to the CTO and founder.
Marcoux has an extensive background both in technology and environmental issues. He is one of the founders of The Green Grid, a nonprofit consortium dedicated to advancing energy efficiency in data centers and business computing ecosystems.
Marcoux also has held executive positions in the financial, health care and technology industries. He has provided consulting, design, engineering and management services for more than 3 million square feet of domestic and international data centers, ranging from small LAN (local-area network) rooms to state-of-the-art data centers requiring dual redundancy.
Marcoux met recently with eWEEK Senior Writer Chris Preimesberger on the Cisco Systems campus in San Jose, Calif.
How do you approach your mission at Cisco Systems?
We're essentially putting together a "green road map" for the entire corporation. This involves everything from recycling cans in the cafeteria to the kinds of energy-conscious products we make. The CDO group is represented by all the manufacturing through research divisions at Cisco with a group that is responsible for building the products that you see.
Now, within that organization-which is very large and very diversified-the level of interaction between each "siloed" group, or business unit, as some people call it, is mostly good, depending upon the level of the organization to its, say, "sister" organization. Sometimes it's not [good]. So my role here is to kind of bridge that. When you have a siloed organization and you're trying to run a horizontal element through it, what you're really creating is a matrix management-and this one's around solving the green issues for CDO.
What qualifications do you bring to Cisco?
A lifetime of experiences in the data center, in power management systems and in power management networking systems.
What's first on your agenda?
We're really using a multipronged approach. There are lower levels where we have set in place teams that make up the Green Engineering Task Force. This group of people within CDO represents some of the most talented people throughout these various silos-we've now corralled them into one group. This group will be able to analyze very strategic elements of the greening issue.
Let me give you some ideas what they'll be tackling: Basically, all IT equipment has power supplies. The efficiency of power supplies is dependent upon the utilization. You can engineer a very high-efficiency power supply, but again, if it's not utilized with a high degree of throughput, it runs in a very low area.
What we have chosen to do is take a look at all our power supplies and redesign them to make them high efficiency over a very broad range of operation.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...