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Datacentres should have kitchens

There's a standard checklist of items you'll need to include for a datacentre: raised flooring, easy access toredundant power supplies, an air conditioner the size of a small hotel room, but chances are you don't have a kitchen in there.
Written by Angus Kidman, Contributor on

There's a standard checklist of items you'll need to include for a datacentre: raised flooring, easy access to redundant power supplies, an air conditioner the size of a small hotel room, but chances are you don't have a kitchen in there.

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(Sandwich,toast by Oscar Martinez, Royalty Free )

Brennan IT certainly didn't anticipate selling culinary features when it began building its new datacentre in Brisbane earlier this year. The centre was designed to host both Brennan's own telephony management equipment and co-located servers for commercial clients, so there was a kitchen, toilet and shower facilities connected to the staff side of the building.

However, the kitchen turned out to be an unexpected selling point for external clients as well, as account manager Sandy Forster explained when I toured the centre recently.

There's a fit-out room on the premises where visiting techs can make sure their equipment is working properly, and several clients suggested that offering access to the kitchen would be a useful bonus. On the original floor plan, the two were separate, but after the idea was raised, adding a doorway meant that budding data centre gurus could also show off their inner Jamie Oliver.

Aside from the minor hassle of needing a security policy to stop visitors nicking staff member sandwiches, this seems like a simple and obvious step, but such features are often low on the list. Reputedly, some large datacentres don't even have toilets, since they're supposedly meant to be "lights out" facilities. Bet that makes for an unpleasant carpark.

In the case of on-premises data centres, many are located in odd nooks of the building and nearly all have high levels of security by corporate standards, so access to amenities is often awkward. But if you want to show staff that they're as valuable as the data they look after, offering a fridge and a microwave is a good way to start.

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