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My Workout Day at the Data Center

August 30, 2017

As I've noted previously, IT pros aren't the healthiest lot. But if you spend any time setting up new hardware in data centers, you're at least getting a workout.

This occurred to me while I was recently unboxing and racking customer setup equipment, including V7000, V5000 and V9000 storage units and several POWER8 servers. In a sense it's like opening presents on Christmas. I'm always amazed to see the effort and care that goes into the packing and shipping of this gear. It's done in such a way that the boxes can take some abuse (which they often do) while the contents survive quite nicely.

Keep in mind that many environments don't allow cardboard in the computer room, so most of the gear must be unpacked and transported at least a short distance to get it to the raised floor. Even with carts and lift tools and sufficient manpower, a lot of this stuff is pretty heavy. On top of that, you may find that you're unloading hardware in areas where the facility's A/C isn't up to snuff, at least compared to the chilly computer room. And once all the boxes of servers, controllers, expansion drawers and disks are opened, you're also dealing with a fair amount of trash, so it's good to have a roomy staging area and a plan for waste management.

The point is, it's easy to take for granted what goes into this process?as well as what it takes out of you. After doing several racks worth of equipment, you might find yourself a little sore the next day, so be sure to build in some recovery time into your project plan.

My most recent "workout" at the data center has me convinced that we could develop technology-related, CrossFit-type programs based on these activities. For sure there's plenty of bending/lifting/hauling/kneeling, etc. that goes on. And if you don't have power tools, the simple acts of installing rails and tightening screws and attaching cables must equate to various familiar exercises. Why put yourself through dead lifts, squats or bench presses when you can just do a rack and stack?

My plan is still in the inception stages, but I have to think people would happily pay for this type of workout. People pay to go to hot yoga; what could I charge them for time spent in hot and cold aisles in a computer room? Or maybe The Techie Fitness Spa (the name's also a work in progress) will be more like those strongman competitions or the gyms where they toss old tractor tires around. But instead, I'll have racks and drawers and everything else we deal with. To make my establishment stand out, I could recreate the whole computer room experience by throwing in a few man traps, retina and fingerprint scanners, and bag checks.

No doubt, the money will be rolling in soon. I just hope that nobody tries to steal my idea in the meantime.

Posted August 30, 2017 | Permalink

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