What is a Datacenter?

At a conference roundtable discussion about staffing of datacenters in 2018, the conversation led to speaking about the potential staffing shortages the industry is facing and the fact the average age of the current work force is so high. There was genuine concern from major European datacenter management that this is a going to be a serious short/mid-term issue.

I changed the direction of the conversation slightly and looked a further 10-15 years down the road, If we have problems in the short/medium term, then they are only going to get worse. I asked the question to the table of senior datacenter people from various countries, companies and the answers were all very similar. Do your children know what a datacenter is? The answer was a pretty resounding no, not really. I admitted that with my 20 years of experience in the industry that my children don’t really know what one is, what it does and how one works.

So that day I made a commitment, I recalled that my kid’s school are frequently looking to the parents to present to the school children on their careers, their hobbies, charitable work etc. I always thought well mine is a bit boring compared to the Dad who is a fireman and the Mum who kayaked down the amazon for a cancer charity. But I decided I would put myself forward to the school and prepare a ten minute PowerPoint and explain to a few hundred kids, what a datacenter is.

So with this in mind, I did what any good sales person does and went to google to see what content I could grab for free. I was amazed at what I found. Anything that explained what a datacenter was, was written by a PhD in words and terms that only engineers would understand, nothing out there was suitable for a ten year old. So, with much begging and favors offered, a good friend of mine (whom happens to be a website and graphics expert) offered to help me with my project. I wanted something short and snappy that would hold the attention of an 8 year old, but not belittle my dad in his 60’s.

We decided a short video in the form of a question and answer session between a child and a smart device would be perfect, and from here, Colin was born. Colin is our cheeky know it all smart device who just so happens to be a datacenter expert.

Since the launch of the video, I have been given some amazing feedback, I just hope that it inspires someone to take a look at a STEM subject to become the next engineer, operator, designer or consultant in an industry that is now carrying this generations most important asset, data.

I would like to thank the following people whom made the video possible, Ruby Roots (My daughter and voice over artist), Max Romer (Producer), Datavita, Datacenter.com and Rich Miller (photo content) and Uptime Institute for the opportunity to have the original conversation and the platform to spread the message.