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The leading knowledge exchange for Data Center, IT and Mission Critical professionals.

Meet a Member – Don Mitchell
Mission Critical Division Manager, Victaulic

Don MitchellAs the Mission Critical Division Manager for Victaulic, Don works with the global data center industry developing liquid distribution systems in and around data centers to be more sustainable, reliable, and cost effective by advancing success of offsite manufacturing and DfMA – Design for manufacture and assembly. His role as Open Compute Project (OCP) Cooling Environments (CE) Project co-lead has similar objectives – coordinating the input of three Advanced Cooling Solutions (ACS) Sub-Projects and Advanced Cooling Facilities (ACF) Sub-Project to advance global success in data center cooling evolution around liquid cooled ITE, scalability, and sustainability. These roles align well with each other and with the 7×24 Exchange mission to be an educational forum that addresses key industry challenges (such as liquid cooled ITE, DfMA, and sustainability).

Career Path to the Mission Critical Industry

Don brings 30+ years of mission critical operations and design experience to his work with Victaulic (Mission Critical Solutions) and Cooling Environments.  After receiving his degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Naval Academy, Don’s career in “mission critical” started in nuclear submarines, where he completed engineer qualifications and managed “SUBSAFE” quality control programs.  From submarines, he became a PE, earned an MBA, and subsequently worked in engineering programs for the US Navy, including ordnance and missile system reliability programs, as well as materials testing in civilian life.

In 2000, Don was recruited by APC to join a leadership team tasked to create and train a new breed of “systems engineer” in data center integrated solution design, addressing power, cooling, racks and monitoring as an integrated discipline.  His role as a director of systems engineers for APC and Schneider evolved significantly over 10 years, from enterprise to “cloud-scale” facilities.  In support of this role, Don earned a Masters in IT.  From Schneider, Don transitioned to Eaton, directly supporting “cloudscale” (30 MW+) design and delivery of electrical distribution systems.

In 2016, Don returned to his passion – cooling solutions and liquid distribution systems, joining Victaulic – an organization with a 100-year history of delivering mission critical liquid distribution systems.  On a global basis, Don is leading the Mission Critical team of Victaulic to advance concepts in data center design and delivery that reduce waste, risk, cost, labor hours and maximize reliability and sustainability.

Open Compute Project (OCP) Cooling Environments leadership

In 2020, OCP invited Don to launch the ACF Sub-Project, a global collaborative workstream delivering reference design and best practice guidance on the addition of liquid cooled ITE to existing data centers. In 2022, the ACF Sub-Project led to the creation of the Heat Reuse Sub-Project, and Don was invited to co-lead the creation of the Cooling Environments Project, harmonizing the delivery and messaging of these four key Sub-Project areas (immersion, cold-plate, rear door heat exchanger and liquids in facilities). With tight cohesion between these areas of cooling both inside and outside the rack, the OCP Community can leverage the best industry practices, improve efficiency, provide guidance to industry, promote collaboration and enable sustainability.

Involvement with 7×24 Exchange

Don has participated in 7×24 Exchange programs since 2001, presenting in both local chapters as well as at the national events.  Since 2017, the Mission Critical team of Victaulic became gold sponsors of 7×24 Exchange events and frequent participants in local chapter and national presentations.  Contributions to 7×24 Exchange Magazine include “Fast, Unsinkable Data Centers – Submarine Lessons in Mission Critical” which provides insights on applying SUBSAFE principles to ensure success in data center liquid distribution systems.  Also, “Navigating the Data Center Trade-Off Triangle Through VDC” looked at Virtual Design & Construction and DfMA as a means to address the speed, cost, and quality challenge of data center construction.

Why 7×24 Exchange?

The challenges and opportunities facing the data center industry require global collaboration.  7×24 Exchange is the leading knowledge exchange in data centers, providing a forum for discussion and contributions from many organizations, including Open Compute Project (OCP) and Infrastructure Masons (IMasons) – two programs Don actively supports.  OCP is a rapidly growing, global community developing guidance and best practices on delivering ITE at scale, with efficiency and sustainability.  IMasons provides executives and technical professionals with opportunities to “connect, grow and give back.”  7×24 Exchange hosts contributions from OCP, IMasons and others seeking to address the challenges of data center design, delivery, operation, and sustainability.

“7×24 Exchange has served the data center industry for decades, providing an essential knowledge exchange to address challenges, opportunities and obligations facing the industry. I’m looking forward to future events and opportunities to grow.”

-Don Mitchell