What's next Uptime Institute, an adobe data center?

Santa Fe, New Mexico is the ultimate location for green data centers, high tech and The Uptime Institute. OK, one out of three ain't bad.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor

Up 146,365 days 16 hours 35 minutes 23 seconds

Santa Fe: Up 146,892 days 16 hours 35 minutes 23 seconds

The other day, while doing some research for a data center-related article, I ran across a bit of interesting trivia: Santa Fe, New Mexico is the home of The Uptime Institute. In case you don't know, The Uptime Institute is the company that certifies data centers with those Tier numbers that you hear so much about. They certify Tiers I through IV, with IV being the highest level currently attainable. Its location in Santa Fe surprised me a bit. When I think of high tech, data centers or certifying authorities, Santa Fe is not in the top 100 cities in that list. In fact, it might be 463 out of 500 in such a list. Santa Fe? Really? Until I took a moment and realized that Santa Fe might be a great choice for such a company.

I used to live in Santa Fe and really enjoyed my time there in spite of all the weird displaced East and West Coasters who now own T-shirt shops, the WIPP protesters, the gaggles of New Agers, the hordes of tourists, the very high cost of living and the smug art community. I loved the weather, the outdoor activities, the sunlight, the views and the proximity to Albuquerque (civilization). I liked exploring locations where Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams gained inspiration. I liked my weekly trek to Bert's Burger Bowl for a green chile cheeseburger. And, I liked being in the midst of one of the most active art communities in the country.

But, never did I believe that this would be the location for a major force in today's data center-centric world in which we live.

This is a city where there's little to no night life, the mall closes at 6pm on Saturday night and no one but no one gets in a hurry about anything. OK, some people might find those things appealing but I didn't. Part of the reason is that I moved there from Dallas, Texas, where everyone moves fast, thinks fast and drives even faster.

Being in Santa Fe was like taking a walk back in time with most of your modern conveniences still available. It's a place where you can go to a five star resort (Ten Thousand Waves), go skiing, shop for locally made pottery and jewelry or just chill out under stars. But, it's not a place where I would think that one of the most influential forces in data center information and certification would be found.

After giving its location some consideration, I think that Santa Fe might be a good place for The Uptime Institute because of Santa Fe's age (uptime). The only better cities, in that respect, might be San Juan, Puerto Rico or St. Augustine, Florida.

It would be interesting to see the world's only adobe data center but, due to the extreme cost of real estate, I think that you'd have to build it so far out of town that you could hardly call it Santa Fe anymore. It makes me wonder if either Tesuque or Pojoaque needs a good data center? Although, Espanola might be a better location. I'm sure that Los Alamos has at least one data center but it's probably not for public consumption.

If you're not from Santa Fe or familiar with that area, you're probably wondering why the data center would have to be adobe. It's because Santa Fe has some city ordinance about building design. It has to be adobe. It can't be over so many feet tall and it has to meet certain color and aesthetic standards as well. Being Santa Fe, you'd probably have to make it solar-powered or use all-natural, biodegradable server racks or something along that line. Additionally, you might have to close on Sundays.

OK, so Santa Fe is a reasonable location for The Uptime Institute but not so much so for a data center--adobe or otherwise.

Anyway, I'm thankful for The Uptime Institute, regardless of its location. We need to have a discussion of their Tier model but that's a topic for another story.

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