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The essential guide to IT transformation

Episode 14

"You want to WHAT?!?!" the PFY gasps, beating me to the draw by microseconds.

"Move the computer room?" the Boss responds, surprised that there's any objection to his latest brainwave.

"You've got to be kidding!"

"Not at all," the Boss asks, still not aware of the enormous upheaval he's proposing. "I've been talking with the head of IT and the architect and they both agree - it's prime office space wasted."

"But it takes MONTHS to move a computer room – properly," I respond.

"Why, we just need to fit out a room with a raised floor!"

"And air-conditioning."

"Yes, air-conditioning, we've thought of that. As space is a little limited we thought we'd install the unit in an alcove on the floor above and duct chilled air down into the room."

"What about UPS power?" the PFY chimes in.

"Can't we just leave the UPS here and run power down from it?" the Boss says.

"I doubt the people using the 'prime office space' will consider a 120KVA UPS with noisy inverters to be a desirable roommate."

"Point taken. I suppose we could move it to the sub basement and just get a smaller unit for the critical users left up here."

"Sorry, are you proposing we move as well?" I ask.

"Well yes - you'd need to be close to your machines wouldn't you?"

"THE SUB BASEMENT!" the PFY cries, having lost his love of dark, enclosed spaces during one of those weekend-in-a-lift practical joke sessions we enjoy so much.

"It makes perfect sense!" the Boss replies "A computer room has very few visitors - it doesn't need a second floor office space - and you don't even like visitors."

"We'd need fire suppression," I add.

"Not a worry, we can install that in the basement along with the air-conditioning. I've been promised three car park spaces in the basement to house air-conditioning and other services."

"Emergency lighting?"

"One at each end of the space."

"Offices?" I ask. "Assuming of course that you weren't proposing we work in the computer room itself."

"I... not a problem, we'll have an office built."

"Cabling?"

"What cabling?"

"The fibre and copper network cabling, the patch frames, the rack cabling."

"Oh... Do we really need them?"

"You mean could we fit wireless lan cards to every server and cover a wall with Wireless Access points?"

"I... yes."

"No."

"Oh. So how long would it take to get the network installed?"

"You mean repatch the fibre and copper distribution components down there, put in PBE frames, fibre termination points, racks and rack cabling? A couple of months."

"I... guess that would be ok. It affects the time frame a little but it shouldn't be too bad - should we go and look at the room just in case we see anything else we might want to consider?"

. . . Five minutes and several unhappy gestures from the PFY later. . .

"So this is the room," the Boss says, showing us into a large clinically clean concrete room.

"It's big," I say.

"What's that smell?" the PFY asks.

"Oh that, that's just a... two pot leak-sealing compound the contractors used to make the place completely watertight - because I knew you'd be concerned about leaks and flooding in a sub basement area," the Boss says smugly.

"So you've started work on this already without discussing it with us?"

"I... well yes, we're under a bit of pressure for the space so I thought I'd get a headstart by organising some of the work that I knew would be needed - like the leak sealing and the access for the air-conditioning - see up there?"

"Where?" the PFY asks, gazing into the roof space blankly.

"There, to the right. That hole corresponds with the alcove at the back of the car park where the bin normally sits. The bin will be moved outside and the air-conditioning and fire gear can be ducted through that hole into the room."

"Sorry, to go back to a previous point - you said something about pressure for space?"

"Uh... yes. Yes we need the space on the second floor - as soon as possible."

"For..."

"For a... uhhhm... video conferencing, multimedia and fishbowling centre," the Boss blurts.

"A multimedia centre!" the PFY cries. "You're planning on moving us so you can chat to mates and watch movies! Whose bright idea was that?"

"I... Well it's not like you interact with people anyway," the Boss says defensively.

"And let's face it," I add. "This is a greenfields computer suite - we could build the perfect computer room here."

"What?" the PFY gasps.

"It's perfect - below ground so not subject to wild variations in temperature, watertight so not prone to flooding, overhead services so we don't need to sacrifice valuable computer room space for non-computing use, isolated and secure - it's perfect!"

"PERFECT!?!?!"

"Sure - well, almost perfect. I think the aircon ducting run might be a little long from ceiling to underfloor though - a little lossy," I say, pulling a seemingly valid criticism out of my nether regions.

"It should be ok," the Boss says, not wanting to ask what the hell 'lossy' means.

"Are you sure - it's a little long. Have you got a measuring tape?"

"Sure," the Boss says, handing one over.

"Okay, I'll feed the tape down and can you just hold it about 200mm from the floor - where the subfloor would start."

"Okay then," the Boss says as the PFY and I exit.

. . . two minutes later . . .

"How's that?" the Boss asks from below us.

"Fantastic," I say. "11 feet three inches. And what's the size of the room again?"

"Thirty feet by twenty feet, why?"

"And what rate does water come out of one of these babies?" I say dropping the fire hose into the hole a little while the PFY turns the handle.

>GUSH!!!<

>rattle< >rattle< >RATTLE!!!<

"The door's stuck!!!" the Boss cries as the PFY pushes the bin back over the hole

>indistinct rattle<

"Completely watertight you say? So I guess he'll get to try that fishbowling going WAY ahead of schedule..." the PFY sighs.

. . .

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