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.

My klutziest Data Center moment happened 12 years ago.  I was lifting a notched floor tile to show a visitor how the under-floor electrical conduits were labeled.  I gathered the patch cords passing through the tile with one hand and used the notch as a handle to lift the panel with my other hand.  I had done this hundreds of times before without incident, but this time cut myself on a small barb on the bottom of the tile.  (It stung, but I didn’t realize I had been cut until I saw drops of blood on the floor.)

One way to make a server environment less prone to accidents is to provide a separate space for people to unbox and install new hardware into cabinets.   It won’t make people less clumsy, but it will take those mishaps out of the Data Center.

Below are a few thoughts about the advantages of a dedicated build room and the common Data Center infrastructure you probably don’t want to equip it with.