Prepare your data center for the zombie apocalypse

Believe it or not, there's a small business lesson in this article. But first you'll have to get past the zombies. Isn't that always the way?
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

Believe it or not, there's a small business lesson in this article. But first you'll have to get past the zombies. Isn't that always the way?

The other day I got a press release that somehow got my attention. The email message had a terrible subject, "Question about zatz.com". ZATZ.com is one of my domains, so I opened it, figuring it was from one of the many PR people I work with.

Once I opened it though, the first paragraph sucked me right in. No, wait, that's not right. That would be appropriate for a vampire story. Let's try this again. The first paragraph ate my brain:

I stopped by zatz.com earlier today and noticed you tend to write about zombies from time to time. Because of that, I thought it might be worth it to share an article with you published by CB Structures Inc. with detailed information on how to prepare a barn or garage for the zombie apocalypse.

I didn't recall writing about zombies (the flesh eating kind). But a quick search of "zombie site:zatz.com" on Google turned up a bunch of articles -- mostly about zombie computers and botnets.

Even so, the release caught my attention. It came with a URL for a company that makes pole barns, which are.  I presume, barns made from poles.

Clicking through led to -- and I quote -- "The comprehensive plan for surviving the zombie apocalypse from your pole barn." Now, while most of you probably don't have pole barns, many of you do work in data centers. I believe some of CB Structures suggestions would apply just as well to the data center.

Stocking your data center

Here's some of what they recommend, first for how to stock up your pole barn (or data center):

  • Cured and smoked meats that will stay long
  • Canned goods and nonperishable food stuffs
  • Blankets, extra clothes, and shoes
  • A first aid kit that includes antibiotics, ointments, and plenty of ibuprofen
  • A small grill or fire pit and charcoal
  • Cots or mattresses (after all, you want to survive the end of the world in comfort)
  • A tool box and plenty of extra materials to shore up weak points in your structure
  • Hunting knives, fishing line, and other hunting tools to use for hunting forays
  • A bad-bleep zombie crushing car or SUV, complete with spare tires and parts

I had to cherry-pick some of their suggestions. After all, this is a family show. I'm cherry-picking even more carefully in this next section.

Weaponizing your data center

Okay, I have to admit that just writing that headline gave me goosebumps. I so want plasma cannons. But let's see what our pole barn friends would recommend (and I'm mostly quoting here):

  • Chances are, you don’t have an in with a black market gun runner or military connection, so grenades, rocket launchers, and fully automatic weapons are out of your reach.
  • Double barrel shotguns with plenty of ammunition (both slugs and buckshot) for close range combat.
  • Rifles with hollow point ammunition to take out zombies from afar.
  • Ammunition, ammunition, and more ammunition. Oh, and some ammunition.
  • Molotov cocktails to set the suckers on fire (apparently dead flesh is pretty flammable.)
  • Louisville sluggers – the bat of choice for zombie killing aficionados.
  • A few axes for chopping off heads and slicing through limbs.
  • Rocks, bowling balls and other heavy objects that can be stored by windows to drop on unsuspecting victims.
  • Crowbars, which are useful as tools and brain bashing weapons.
  • Tire irons, for both brain smashing and tire changing.
  • Tactical tomahawks or crovel with a Z-Spike.

Choosing your survival team

I definitely can't quote all the various suggestions for how to choose a team here. But I'll leave you with a few standouts that seemed both logical and had me chuckling. First, the people not to include (you in-the-trenches IT folks will love this):

  • Stay away from: People in useless white collar trades like SEOs, marketing professionals, accountants, and salesmen

On the other hand, the "dream team" of survivors contructed by CB Structures makes some sense:

  • Someone with military and/or police experience, preferably an expert marksman
  • Someone with hunting/foraging experience
  • A nurse, doctor, or veterinarian (honestly, a vet might be your best bet if you also have livestock)
  • Someone with farming/gardening experience
  • A handyman who has mechanical experience
  • A genius who dabbles in everything from computers to mechanical engineering

That last suggestion, of course, fits all our ZDNet readers, so you're all welcome in the well-prepared zombie-proof data center.

The small business lesson

I did promise a small business lesson if you got through all the dead flesh, and here it is. The page CB Structures built to showcase their zombie apocalypse prevention strategy was fun and inviting. Heck, it even got me to write an article!

Although you might think there's no way your business could spotlight something like this, remember that pole barns don't normally imply zombies. The marketing people at this small business got creative and came up with something fun and inviting.

I was never particularly aware of pole barns, and I'd certainly never heard of CB Structures. But I picked up their press release and turned it into coverage for them.

Now, to be fair, there's not necessarily a perfect prospect cross-over between IT professionals and pole barn afficianados, but that doesn't really matter. They had fun and they built awareness.

The only mistake they made was the subject line of the email. The probability that I would open "Question about zatz.com" was relatively low. Had they used "How to survive the zombie apocalypse" as their subject line, the chances of me opening the email would have come very, very close to 100%.

Go forth and have fun. Promote your business and be creative doing it. Oh, and if you need a pole barn, go look up the zombie fighters at CB Structures. Just make sure that when you walk in their front door, you don't shamble.

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