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Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign

As I’ve mentioned in more than one post, I enjoy touring Data Centers.  One detail I pay attention to during these visits is signage.

Are patch panels and structured cabling labeled, so it’s easy to trace connections between devices? Is electrical circuit information provided at each cabinet location, so power feeds can be quickly identified? Do alarms (fire and otherwise) have instructions nearby, telling visitors what their various audio tones and light patterns mean? 

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Bumbling and Stumbling in the Data Center

What’s the klutziest thing you’ve ever done in a Data Center?

Over the years I’ve seen people drop tools, tangle patch cords and step into notched floor tiles.  Once when I was giving a Data Center tour a fellow was so intent to see how outside air was drawn into the HVAC system that he whacked his head on a viewing window.

I’ve encountered outages caused by clumsiness, too.  In one case a co-worker was lifting a floor tile and tilted the panel too steeply, causing it to separate from the suction-cup tile puller he was using and crash into the plenum below, slicing a fiber cable. Read More »

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Making Noise About a Quiet Data Center

I like touring Data Centers. Whether it’s a makeshift space with out-of-control cabling or a state of the art, innovative facility, I’m always curious to see how companies accommodate their computing equipment and tackle the inevitable challenges of space, power and cooling.

Ten years ago I visited a then-new Data Center in the western United States that had several interesting features.  Two elements – and the moments I discovered them – still stick with me.
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Taking the CUE to Reduce Carbon Emissions

More and more businesses these days are taking steps to reduce their carbon emissions.  (Cisco is one of them, as the company met a 25% greenhouse gas reduction goal last year and subsequently upped it to 40%.)

There are several compelling reasons for doing so – some philosophical and others pragmatic.  Here are a few:

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Bizarro On My Mind

Saturday morning wasn’t complete for me as a kid if it didn’t include a bowl of pre-sweetened cereal and time watching cartoons.  Challenge of the Super Friends was my favorite, thanks to its unforgettable opening sequence and the chance to see Superman, Batman and other heroes overcome the latest scheme by the Legion of Doom to take over the world.

One of the Legion’s intriguing villains was Bizarro – the imperfect duplicate of Superman with the blocky white face and backwards S on his chest.  Although the writers didn’t give poor Bizarro much personality beyond bad grammar – “Me have plan destroy Super Friends!” – my friends and I enjoyed debating how his backwards, bad-means-good perspective would express itself in everyday activities. Read More »

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