Database Disasters

Women's restroom leading to the server room

Convenient server room access in women's restroom

Yes, that is a door to the women's restroom leading to the server room. When I originally found this photograph I couldn't believe it, but I've since visited another brand new datacenter with a similar strange layout. Hard to believe even one company would make this kind of mistake, let alone two.
Condensation from an in-room air unit.

Who me?

The culprit here seems to be condensation from the little in-room air unit. With the number of reasonably-priced commercial datacenters around, there's just never a good business case for this.
This should be the intranet cable

This should be the intranet cable

Probability: approaching zero.
Bring more buckets, I mean trashcans!

Bring more buckets, I mean trashcans!

This server room appears to be plagued with overhead leaks. Commercial building design is more forgiving than datacenter design. Buying more trashcans is probably not a good strategy.
A classic Paper Tiger datacenter

A classic "Paper Tiger" datacenter

There appears to be about two inches of water under the floor tiles of this datacenter.

I wrote a white paper on "Paper Tiger" datacenters like this one. Just about every remotely respectable datacenter is going to look impressive for a casual tour. Touring data centers is a reassuring experience. Data center operators are eager to showcase their facilities. The biometric security scanners, uninterruptible power supplies, spotlessly clean server rooms, and of course the massive generators, create a very reassuring impression. But how close is this impression to reality?

In this case, not very close. Don't put your organization's infrastructure in a datacenter with only the operator's assurances. OnePartner led the industry with the first Tier III Certification for a commercial datacenter by the Uptime Institute in North America.
Wet pipe woes


The leak could be coming from the obviously rusty air vent or from the sprinkler system. Hopefully, they can keep the server room door locked so management won't notice the giant plastic garbage bags draped over the cabinet.
Wet pipes

Wet pipe woes

This previously smokin' hot server room is not helping anyone stay in business. Its a victim of inadequate fire suppression systems. When adapting normal commercial office space into a server room, people get nervous about wet sprinkler heads and turn them off. While this does prevent dripping and accidental release, its obviously not a good solution.

The best approach is to locate critical computer infrastructure in a professional datacenter and keep the office space for more productive uses.
Fans in the server room

Let's hear it for "Fans in the server room"

What server room would be complete without a fan hanging down in the doorway? (By the way, there's another fan positioned in front of the server racks as well.)

Fans are pretty commonplace in private server rooms. Even some of the nicer private server rooms have fans to circulate the cooler air up into hot corners.

Unfortunately, there's just nothing about seeing something like this that instills confidence. Avoid compromising on something that's only going to reflect poorly on you, take a stand and move your infrastructure into a professional datacenter.
Five fans in the server room

Full house, five fans in the server room

There's really nothing good happening in this photo. Makes you wonder what is on that tower PC that is so important that it has earned a place in the hallway.

I"m guessing that when they have clients in the building, the server room is not on the official tour route. This type of compromise always catches up with you. After killing yourself to keep a terribly designed server room functional, do you think they"re going to congratulate you?

No. They are going to recruit someone to provide strategic leadership. Don"t compromise. You"re only hurting your own career.
Dry vac in the server room

Something in this server room sucks

I'm a big believer in making touchpoints count. How can a talented IT representative demonstrate, in a clear and concrete way, how capable they truly are? The rest of the organization won't understand how thoroughly you understand DNS. Their opinion of your abilities is usually formed by the concrete, physical touchpoints they can see. Organized cabling, everything in its place and a professional appearance tells laymen you know what you're doing.

Isn't it better for your organization to see you managing infrastructure in a pristine, commercial datacenter, believing that you're the guy with everything under control?