Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Yesterday's data center

London, ON
April 2012
Click here for more Thematic "somewhat worse for wear"

Everything starts off shiny and new, but a few short years of everyday use turns them into yellowed shadows of their former selves. I find it interesting how some examples of human engineering - say an old, colonnade-style building or a turn-of-the-century pocket watch - seem to stand the test of time, while others, like 80s-era tract housing and most examples of modern technology, seem to wither almost from the moment we start using them.

I'm not sure why that needs to be the case, and it frankly saddens me a bit. Because at one point, this now-forgotten pile of computers represented a limitless future for countless students at this area school. It didn't take long for them to reach this sad state, part of an ever growing pile of uselessness.

The technologist in me understands why things turn over so quickly. The dad, husband, and everyday guy in me thinks it's a depressing comment on our modern-day priorities.

Your turn: Is it? Does disposability have to rule?


Mark said...

I think there's way too much disposability in today's world. Those computer cases, for example, could have been built so that changing out their insides is easy. I know that computers have become more svelte and that a rack of servers can hold far more computing power than could a rack full of these, but at least the school could sell the cases used to somebody if they were easily upgradeable. I don't mean easy for a computer nerd (like me). I mean easy for the average user.

What an awful waste of materials these cases turn out to be.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

It's a matter of the dramatic transformation of what's inside those boxes, Carmi.

We ought to recycle our plastic, for sure, but one of them sell-phone thinghies all you kids have now has more computing power than all those boxes together.

Unknown said...

Ha - great photo of old school computers. From what we have seen, granted we do visit newer state of the art data centers, there has been a wave of integrating new data center management software into new and existing data storage facilities. It doesn't necessarily make the old computers better, but it certainly enhances their efficiency and can extend their lifecycle by a few years.