Data Center Geeks
The Wizard's blogs have a recurring theme, reminding folks that a data center is an extension of the IT stack and not just a piece of real estate.
Realizing this, my question is, "who is minding your shop?" My belief has always been that data centers should be infested with geeks. After all, if a data center customer has to hire his own geeks to man his outsourced data center, then what's the point of outsourcing?
The Wizard enjoys reading the Shark Tank blog (blogs.computerworld.com/blog/shark-tank)over at Computerworld.com. Sharky always seems to entertain while passing on great data center and IT lessons.
When thinking about who's minding your store, The Wizard was reminded of an article (blogs.computerworld.com/data-center/22840/noc-noc-whos-there) that Sharky wrote about NOC access and NOC security. The article is a fun read and leaves you chuckling, but it does bring up a serious question that begs discussion.
The article is about the attempt to secure the NOC at a data center to keep those that should not have access out. According to Sharky's article, some pranksters would enter the NOC late at night and hit the sports channel on the satellite feeds. Harmless, right? Kind of funny, right?
Let's expand on that concept a bit. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of touch points for your data in a data center. Even if an enterprise doesn't utilize colocation services, employees of the outsourced data center can and will come into contact with your data or the infrastructure that supports your data every day.
For example, The Wizard once witnessed a security guard booth in a large data center with a space heater blazing away. The facilities people didn't see an issue with this, nor did the security company, but one CIO freaked out about this uncontained heating device resting feet away from his data - not that a space heater has ever started a fire or anything.
Every person that has been in the industry for a few years has a similar story of a trade, vendor or visitor doing something that placed the data uptime in jeopardy.
Obviously you will never be able to have a geek sitting right next to a non-geek data center worker, it just isn't practical. So do the next best thing and use a data center that is run by geeks, who developed and wrote process for EVERY task in the data center with an eye for uptime. Every process MUST be driven by geeks.
From the company that cleans the data center floor, to the vendor that upgrades equipment, you can't tell if someone is doing something to jeopardize the data if you don't know what all the pieces and parts actually do.
You may say, "Wizard, it sounds like you don't like facilities guys."
Not true, The Wizard LOVES facilities guys. They are critical. The Wizard's data centers cannot survive without them. What The Wizard is saying is you need geeks too.
There are actually commercial, outsourced data canters with ZERO geeks on staff.
Who is minding your shop? Make sure you have some geeks around.
Twitter - @DataBankWizard