I had to run back to the datacenter this morning to help with something and it was nice to be reminded that there is actual metal somewhere that I’m working on. It made me think that it is probably a good idea that all SharePoint people in their various roles should at some point have a tour of that nice little icebox that houses the servers. Really the invitation can be extended to all technical people such as information workers, decision makers, and developers.
Here are a few things to look for;
Routers and cables and switches oh my – It’s easy sometimes to get tunnel vision when thinking about your own system or area of expertise. You may be the master of your own domain (or rather house since domain can have a different meaning in the IT world) but you are supported by a team of people, each with expertise in different areas. It is impossible for anyone to be an expert in all things and the rows and rows of servers each with their own complex systems can be an eye opener when considering the skills and perspective of other people on the team.
Lots of blinking lights – Touring the datacenter is a solid reminder that you are part of a greater whole. As a developer you can make the lights pretty, but your ops team keeps them on, and the business users make them mean something. A lot of attention is given to helping technical people “understand the business” but that needs to be a two way street. Business people also need to acknowledge the contributions and complexity involved on the technical side.
Rows and rows of sever racks – Virtual servers are servers to. It seems obvious but people can forget that they are working on actual equipment somewhere. This equipment takes up space, consumes resources and requires a whole lifecycle of management. The next time your team spins up additional resources for your project remember to say thank you.
It’s a great place to cool off – On very hot days you will notice that the datacenter maintains a constant cool temperature. It can be easy to take this for granted but remember that there are also maintenance personnel, A/C specialists, electrical engineers and others that contribute to keeping things running. These are people you may pass in the hallway and never give a second thought as to what they do or what their day is like.
Remember that Sysadmin appreciation day is July 27th this year. (The last Friday of July)