DCN May 2017 - Page 32

Legacy A RUNNER’S GUIDE TO DATA CENTRES Is there life after legacy? asks ‘Ian’, a data centre expert from GCHQ (and one time keen athlete!) A good few years ago, if you had asked me how I was, like many, I would have said simply, ‘OK. How are you?’ What precisely does that mean? How do you define OK? At that time I was fit. Very fit. Athletic. I was training hard and running every day, sometimes twice – putting the miles in and pushing my performance to the next level. You could say I was optimised for performance; my muscular and cardio-vascular systems ready for high performance when it was asked – on demand. Fast forward to today and ask me the same question. Funnily enough, I’d probably answer the 32 | May 2017 same way, I’m OK! However, a lot has changed in that time. My answer masks a noticeable and steady decline caused by the passing years, a change of lifestyle and a certain amount of neglect. Am I still fit for purpose? Most definitely, but that purpose has changed; However, I’m sure that my wonderful wife would prefer the leaner, fitter version and my mother points out the weight I have put on, but how is this relevant to data centres? Twenty years ago, one of the data centres that I operate was commissioned. We began operation in 2002 with 10,000m 2  of pristine data centre space. Flush with the optimism and excited by the journey, we had a grand plan for the seemingly vast area that we would surely never fill! We considered ‘fallow space’ allowing us to install, remodel and refresh as we grew. We had structured cabling to provide connectivity – on demand. We knew our power, space and cooling limits and we had sufficient measures (we thought) to keep on top of it all. We were fit. Very fit. We were optimised for the time. We were OK. Again, fast forward to today. The halls appear full, the idea of ‘fallow space’, a distant memory. The structured cabling and containment is burgeoning at the seams. We have