Data Center Supplies
As a Systems Administrator, I have spent my share of time in various data centers. So, I was keen to read Ben Rockwood’s Personal Must-Haves. He wants a Leatherman, a particular mug, a particular water bottle, an iPhone and a particular bar code scanner. Honestly, it kind of felt like reading a marketing advertisement. I like the idea of a bar code scanner that can dump ASCII as if it were a keyboard device:
Your laptop will register it as a keyboard, so when you press the button to scan the contents of the barcode are “typed in” where ever you like, which means you can use it with Excel just as easily as my prefered auditing format, CSVâ€™s created in vi.
I explained that I keep my liquids in the break area, so I don’t need any fancy mugs. And I don’t know if an iPhone supports making calls over wifi, which is important because mobile signal is often poor to none in a datacenter, nor have I any idea if the camera is all that handy for quick, low-light macro shots.
My own list would include:
In the Cage
- A proper toolbox
- An inventory of cables in a variety of sizes that match your color scheme.
- Velcro cable ties
- Label maker
- A USB DVD-ROM/CD burner
- Some blank DVDs and CDs
- Some USB memory sticks
- Spare server parts
In the Cage – Networking and Comunications
- Wifi access point to a DMZ or sandbox.
- A specific port on an Ethernet switch configured for the guest VLAN, and a long, loudly-colored cable reserved for connecting to it.
- Dynamic DHCP (Seriously: sometimes your NetOps people don’t grok the convenience of DHCP . . .)
- A terrestrial VoIP phone with a very long cable.
In the Cage – Human Sanity
- Noise-cancelling headphones
- A pocket camera, stashed in the toolbox, which can take good close pictures in low light with minimal shutter lag.
- A power brick for your IT-issue laptop. (Especially if the cage is DC power!)
- A sweater or jacket.
I like wearing the earplugs, then earbuds under noise-cancelling headphones, or over-the-ear earphones. You block out most of the noise and can enjoy some tunes while doing what is often non-thinking physical labor.