Performance, Pressure And Car Parks: Five Things I Learned At Data Center World

Our ongoing World Of Servers series returned to Las Vegas last week and loaded up on knowledge at Data Center World. Here are five key lessons to take away from that event.

1. Disaster recovery: it’s about people

The event kicked off with a panel discussion looking at how data centre managers coped with Hurricane Sandy. What really stood out in these presentations was the importance of planning for how your staff will cope in a disaster. It’s not just a question of switching from one data centre to another: you also need to contemplate how you’ll feed and clothe employees stuck in isolated locations.

2. Everybody makes mistakes

Data centre management is a relatively advanced role in IT terms, but the same basic principles apply to that role as to many others: not writing documentation, not accurately assessing costs, and spending too much time worrying about what other people are doing. Check out the full list of five mistakes IT pros often make in this context.

3. Tablets help, but you need to like passwords

You can definitely make good use of tablets to help manage data centre facilities. However, if you choose the iPad as your primary platform, you need to be prepared for one common annoyance: having to repeatedly sign into applications. Single sign-on to network resources is still a pain in the iOS universe.

4. There are some old data centres out there

I’m personally very grateful that I don’t have to manage a 25-year-old data centre built in a former multi-storey car park. But someone does, and it’s a reminder that not all data centres are purpose-built environments sporting modern equipment.

5. Pressure management matters

In most areas of life, switching things off won’t make them less efficient, but that isn’t always the case with servers. In some instances, switching off servers in a data centre can actually cause more problems than leaving them on because of changes in air pressure. The lesson? An unused rack needs to be blanked if you have any kind of containment system in place.

Next stop for World of Servers is the Gartner Enterprise Architecture Summit in London next week. Catch you then!

Lifehacker’s World Of Servers sees me travelling to conferences around Australia and around the globe in search of fresh insights into how server and infrastructure deployment is changing in the cloud era. This week, I’m in Las Vegas for Data Center World, looking at how the role of the data centre is changing and evolving.

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