Haute couture and data centres: when servers become the height of fashion

Tikiri Wanduragala

Monday 7 August 2017

In previous blogs, I have covered changes in the market that are impacting data centres such as big data, analytics, artificial Intelligence and cloud. These changes require data centres to adopt new technologies such as software-defined storage, software-defined networking and hybrid cloud systems. What has not been covered is the impact of haute couture on the data centre.

This was brought to my attention on a recent business trip to Madrid, where I had to take one of those awful flights at the crack of dawn. Basically, you are half asleep when you arrive at the airport, which does not help with the joys of check-in and security checks. This particular morning, I was wondering if it would have been smarter to arrive in pyjamas and dress after security.

It is after this that one has to do a reality check and realise you have not been magically transported into an upmarket shopping centre and rather than shop to your heart’s content, you actually have to find a gate, a plane and have work to do. As I was sleepwalking to the gate, I went past the usual line of shops selling essential Swiss watches, silk scarves, leather bags, perfume, data centre accessories… At this point I woke up, stopped and retraced my steps.

Fashionable servers

To my utter amazement, I had not been dreaming: I was standing in front of a shop window with four 42U racks and, in front of them, four mannequins obviously representing a professional services team doing an upgrade to a HPC installation, one with the presence of mind to bring heavy spare parts in a particularly stylish roller case.

 

Haute couture and data centres 2

 

Then, when I stepped back I was even more surprised to find the display was by Chanel – a brand associated with the dizzying heights of Paris fashion. I have spent most of my time telling customers that servers are neither cool nor fashionable – they are boring and dull by design.  One does not want an exciting server, just one that is reliable, dependable and does its job day after day without fail.

Now, I realise the error of my ways, the reason to buy a server, or four racks of them, is not based on TCO, price performance or reliability: they are now an essential, must-have, fashion accessory, and any self-respecting fashionista would not be seen dead without one.

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