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Get Out of Your Closet

April 22, 2014

For some reason in the middle of the night on a random Thursday last month, there was a major power issue, some form of outage followed by a surge … at my house.

Although my wife and I like to think of ourselves as prepared people with a plethora of surge protectors to safeguard our stuff, we weren’t careful enough. We can easily quantify the cost of the iPhone that blew out as well as the expensive new shaver. But how do you quantify waking up shivering in the middle of the night because the furnace had stopped functioning (yes, it gets cold at night in March in Northern California)?

How do you quantify the incredible hassle of getting the phone issues taken care of … and then getting on the ferry and forgetting to leave the back-up phone with your significant other? (When’s the last time you went a day without a phone? The horror!)

That makes it that much more impactful to learn that every minute of downtime in a data center can cost an average of $7,900, according to a study by Ponemon Institute. But how about the non-quantifiable costs of stress on staff, missed opportunities and inconvenience to customers?

My friend and colleague Mark Stephenson has a saying I am fond of: “Friends don’t let friends build data centers.” The overall return on investment of turning to an expert like Digital Realty is clear when it comes to large-scale deployments. However, every day as I look out at the hundreds, perhaps thousands of smaller businesses that surround our San Francisco offices in the Embarcadero Center, I worry about so many of them having critical IT loads deployed in server closets in their offices … which are just as vulnerable as my house, and probably as ill-prepared.

Worry about them? Yes, that’s honest. As a startup advisor and investor—outside of my duties as a Digital Realty employee—I have a great passion around so many of the great things going on in San Francisco and the surrounding areas today.

And here’s the thing: We have a world-class colocation data center right smack in downtown San Francisco at 365 Main Street. It’s an old tank factory, solid as a rock, has some of the coolest seismic retrofit work on the planet and is incredibly cloud-connected.

It already houses dozens of small companies who don’t want to wake up shivering in the middle of the night. Part of the job I do here—that I love—is spreading the word about this and our other best-in-class facilities worldwide.

Because there are so many companies out there who need to get out of their (server) closets.

~ Jeff Baumgarten, Vice President, Inside Sales at Digital Realty (NYSE:DLR)

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