[svlug] Server farm tour?

Ian Kluft ikluft at thunder.sbay.org
Sun Jul 31 22:10:29 PDT 2005


On Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 10:16:40AM -0700, Rafael Skodlar wrote:
> On Sun, Jul 31, 2005 at 09:56:36AM -0700, Matt Walsh wrote:
> > I've support a bunch of server farms but I don't know a single one that
> > has tours.
> > 
> > It's really not that exciting, IMO.  I mean there is that eerie chorus of
> > cooling fans, and the alternating cold/warm rows that give you a cold, but
> > it's what you can't see that's the interesting part.  Heck I think it was
> > more fun when I was a kid to see the whirring disks/tapes/punch cards.
> 
> Agree. A visit to Computer History Museum in Mountain View is more
> exciting than seeing a "server farm".

That may be the case for those of us who have seen that.  But then again,
I remember I was quite impressed when I was invited for a tour of one of
Disney's data centers after I spoke at the LUG in Orlando in 1999.  I had
already seen data centers before - yet it was still one of the highlights
of my trip.  (That's saying something, considering it was on a trip where
I saw the space shuttle Atlantis in its hangar, and the AMSAT P3D/AO-40
Ham Radio communications satellite being "buttoned up" for launch.)

I think if a data center or co-lo facility is big enough, it's probably
worth seeing, as long as you can also be told some of the things it's
being used for.  That's the important thing - give some context to
differentiate it from a plain "chorus of cooling fans".

IIRC, the request was on behalf of a 12-year old.  I wouldn't rule out that
if anyone can arrange it, such a visit could inspire a technically-inclined
kid more than you think.

I'll see if I can arrange a tour of one of the data centers where I work.
Since he already understands what a computer and a network switch are on
a small scale - it may well be a significant inspiration for him.  Who
knows what this kid might do later on after this broadens his horizons.




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