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What's a datacenter? It depends on whom you ask

Although the folks who manage facilities, systems and software use the the same word, they're really not thinking of the same thing at all. This, of course, leads to confusion, misunderstandings and, on occasion, failures.

It was quite interesting to discuss the topic "what's a datacenter" with several people.  Although the folks who manage facilities, systems and software use the the same word, they're really not thinking of the same thing at all. This, of course, leads to confusion, misunderstandings and, on occasion, failures. I can here it now, readers saying "Daniel, what are you talking about?"

Let's look at how each group might define the term.

Group Group's View of Datacenter Components
Facilities Management A building (or group of buildings), power supplies, air conditioning/chillers, fire suppression equipment and communications lines
Systems Management computers (mainframe, midrange, industry standard), storage systems, networking equipment and, quite possibly, various types of appliance servers that support specific functions
Solutions Architects some sort of system supporting one or more operating environments, data management functions, storage management funcitons, network management functions, application deployment frameworks and, of course, the applications themselves.
After thinking about this a bit, it made me think of one of those Russian Dolls.

Matt Browns Russian Dolls

(if you're interested in more of Matt Brown's art, please visit his site here)

It is quite clear how three different members of an organization's staff could all think that they're speaking about the same thing and yet not be aligned at all.

Can you think of other areas of computing that pose similar challenges?