By Howard Solomon

Assistant editor Network World Canada

IT is a relatively young discipline, particularly if you date it from the advent of PCs, networking and the Internet. But it isn’t young enough to have prevented some data centres from becoming centres of chaos. Or maybe they’re chaotic because it’s so young and undisciplined.

My dictionary defines chaos as “utter disorder and confusion,” which how a CIO I recently interviewed described a data centre he took over – and he didn’t mean the interpersonal relationships. I won’t go into the details here, but the mess ran the gamut from wonky air conditioning to the ancient fire suppression system. It did get me wondering, though, how many others found themselves in the same position: Walking into a data centre or network that needed not merely a tweaking but an overhaul from top to bottom.

It must have initially been a deflating experience, but also a great challenge and learning opportunity in planning, budgeting, design and management. There were lessons, I hope, you’re willing to share.

If you’ve had an experience like this and want to talk about it, please contact me. Tag your message as “Chaos” and send it to

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