Can one still pursue a technology career without having technical education? In this engaging Nomad Futurist podcast Allison Boen, President of Alcatex Data Center Services and a certified DCEP, shares her dynamic career journey from a girl with a business administration degree to one of the top 25 women in technology.
Boen, the OG of Data Center, did not begin her career in the tech sector. Instead, she chose Business Administration as her major because everyone in the 1980s did. Boen started her career in mobility selling cell phones, which resulted in being the gateway to her exploring the technology market segment.
“I loved technology, and I love talking to people. So I decided I couldn’t be hiding in an office.”
In 1995 she and her husband, an electrical engineer, started Alcatex. Boen discusses the difficulties and challenges of an unfamiliar industry with seven children to feed. Nevertheless, she shares her pride in being one of the forebearers of Women in Tech. She emphasizes the importance of more women in tech and the need to change the educational system.
“I always felt we were in this cool club.”
Boen started her pursuit of energy efficiency in data centers in 2016. She discusses the technical aspects of immersion cooling and how it has been overlooked for over a decade. In the podcast, Boen explains the need for energy-efficient solutions and the importance of Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria and standards.
Increased computing power and performance demands, combined with technological advancements such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and machine learning (ML), have resulted in rising temperatures within data center infrastructure and IT equipment. More compute means more power, more power means more heat, more heat needs more cooling, which consumes yet more power, and the cycle continues.
Given the inefficiency of traditional cooling solutions — and the combination of sustainability-minded design goals, governmental regulation, rising power costs, and the technological demands to cool cutting-edge CPUs and GPUs — the need for more efficient and less power-hungry cooling systems is clear. Boen discussed her recent experiences with immersion cooling usage in Blockchain.
“We go back to our education and realize… there are certain things you learn, but real-world learning… happens in the real world.”
Boen encourages young people to get out of their comfort zone and explore the technology infrastructure in their youth, as it will significantly impact their future. She describes how, in the past, people predicted that the internet would be a fad, but it is now one of the world’s fastest-growing industries.
“Don’t be afraid to learn something new. Don’t be intimidated to learn.… I set my mind to learn, and I… did it.”
Allison Boen, President of Alcatex Data Center Services, has worked in the Data Center Design and Construction space for 27 years. As a certified DCEP, she has had the unique opportunity to watch the industry evolve into where we are today and see a vision of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Data Center Infrastructures have evolved over the years, with larger Data Centers, more power, and more data generated, but little emphasis on Energy Efficiency and Sustainability. We must do better, and Allison’s vision as an Ambassadress and Evangelist of Immersion Cooling is that these days will be remembered as a watershed moment propelling us into a Greener, More Sustainable Data Center Infrastructure that uses less energy, less water, and less space.