Isn’t amazing that for many products and services you don’t realize how important they’ve become until something goes wrong with them? Admit it, you don’t even really think about your iPod until it craps out in the middle of your morning run and you realize that for the next two miles you have nothing to take your mind off the fact that you are a hot, sweaty middle aged man in tennis shoes that cost more than your first car who has just been passed by two “speed walking” septuagenarians. I hadn’t realized that data centers had reached this point until this past holiday season.
The entire Crosby clan was gathered around the big screen—Mrs. Crosby made hot chocolate—to view the Netflix provided streaming version of that interminable holiday “classic” It’s a Wonderful Life. Am I the only one that thinks that Bedford Falls looked like it was a lot more fun if George Bailey had never been born? Anyway there we were, right at the climactic scene where Jimmy Stewart finds Zuzu’s petals in his pocket, when suddenly the screen went blank. Confusion quickly gave way to grief as we soon came to the conclusion that the kids weren’t going to see the visual proof that every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings—or anything else for that matter. Naturally, the Mrs. and the kids were inconsolable. I changed the channel to the football game. No reason for everyone’s good time to be spoiled.
Later I found out that the Netflix problem was due to a data center related failure. I couldn’t help but be a little proud. After years of relative obscurity I realized that the data center industry has finally made it. We really are the foundation for the digital economy. I know we’ve been saying it for years but other than co-workers and your immediate family, did anyone really seem to care? But here we are at the point that all businesses dream of reaching. Millions of people all over the world now depend on us to enable them to perform the most trivial of tasks. From checking their bank balances to updating their profile picture on Facebook people are now enslaved to the technologies and applications that our facilities support. In other words, we’ve got them right where we want them.
Now I’m not going to dwell on the obvious global domination aspects associated with this new level of indispensability but you can draw your own conclusions. But I will say that when people are depending on you to find out if George Bailey is able to escape from the evil clutches of Mr. Potter, then the world is your oyster.