Wednesday June 28th 2017

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Data Centre Life

It’s unfortunate that only few selected people can get into places that have restricted access for the most of us. Just think about the most secret places in the world like the Pentagon or the Air Force Plant-42 or even the mystical Area-51 in the Nevada desert. If you’re interested in military secrets, those should be the places to be and you probably would be proud of the privilege to get in and out from those sites, wearing your “top secret” badge and a grin on your face.

What if you’re an Internet passionate tough? Where would you go to discover the “what’s in there….” thing? Let’s say you’re travelling around and you see a big building, generally white or light grey, with a lot of warning signs, gates with cameras etc. You probably don’t bother yourself asking what is that? Let’s put it this way then, you’re sitting on your desk at home with your pc surfing the big net, then you just stop clicking and mousing around and you look probably at the corner of your desk or eventually under your desk, where that small box that connects you to the Internet is, and then on the back of the box you look at the small telephone cable plugged into the wall socket. There you ask yourself: where is that cable going? In case you have a laptop you would probably look at the little usb stick plugged into your usb port with a blue or green flashing light, and since there are no cables you will ask yourself: how the hell am I connected to the Internet?
Well, answer in both cases is the same: Data Centres.

Nothing fascinating really in Data Centres from the aesthetic point of view. The DCs I generally like are the ones made with reflecting surface that reflects the sun light like mirrors and that makes you feel like if you’re entering in a great cool place. I don’t know about great, but the DC can be really damn cool as the guys inside are generally Air conditioning paranoids.

At the entrance the surveillance welcomes you with security guys generally all trained in martial arts. If you’re clear they will give you a badge (pass par tout) to go through, otherwise they will gently push you outside.

Being given a DC badge the very first time it’s an interesting feeling, you got the key for something where on the top is written “restricted” and you feel proud again, maybe not as much as a 51-area visitor, but at least you get the feeling of being part the elite who is allowed to see… what’s in there.

So, what’s in there then? This is it, more or less:

Again, nothing really fancy you might think at first sight but, you need to understand exactly where you are first. Most DCs might also show some beauty after all. You look better and you see all these racks perfectly shaped, cleaned, perfectly aligned on the floor like great columns of an ancient cathedral. As you walk through them amazing flashing lights will come out from every equipment, machine, computer, all together  flashing in a endless pulsing activity which shows you the live digital life going on.

As you get closer to those machines you see all those nice coloured plugged cables and fibers and lights again. You get closer and you see the data going through them, a web page surfed, a file downloaded, a video streamed, a song played, an email delivered, a program cracked, a porn played, streamed,  downloaded and shared.  Youtube, Google, Amazon, Facebook, My space, Twitter,  they are all in front of you, in those big dark solid racks with flashing lights. That’s where everything -digitally living- goes, that’s where everything passes by, that’s where all the cables end and that’s where all the usb sticks end (in a metaphoric sense). That’s what the people is doing,  in the pulses of those flashing lights there’s a bit of people life…. or maybe few megabytes. Data Centres are places where people live and enjoy their life, the only point is they don’t know that. They probably also don’t care about that.

After all, life in the DC it’s not that different from life in the outside world. You sit in the middle of a big square in a big metropolis and you see all the people going around, living and enjoying their lives until you look at one guy’s face, you get close to him, you look at him better and say: I saw what you were doing on Internet, you dirty pig!

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