Quality Control in the Data Center

I was talking to one of my really smart data center friends, and he showed me a list of things that need to be done to manage the date center process.  I looked at the list after he showed me his video feed using my helmet cam idea I wrote about 2 months ago.

May 16, 2010

Shouldn't Helmet Cams be used to document Data Center action?

I've had this idea for a while, and haven't heard of any doing this yet.  Why aren't data center events like maintenance and emergency trouble shooting documented with Helmet Cams?

I saw this article in PopSci that shows a helmet cam on a Dutch Marine boarding a German ship occupied by Somali Pirates.

The helmet camera ideas is working for him and we were laughing that people aren't doing this more.  And, the video was hilarious too.  He's figured out the whole system and he'll share the parts he used when he gets me his own video feed I can share.  He is a believer in the method of open sourcing ideas.

So, back to looking at his list of things that need to be done to manage a data center.  I looked at the list, decomposed the list into fundamental concepts, and started thinking how the pieces could be integrated into a system.

After a minute, it hit me.  "You need to put all these pieces together into a quality control system.  And, give the system to a group independent of the data center operations team to audit operations."  What group?  "Put it in Marketing or Finance so the issues have to go up to CEO/COO if the groups cannot work directly with each other."

One of my first jobs out of college was working at HP in quality engineering and the group reported up to marketing, not manufacturing.  Why?  #1, the quality of your products affect the customer experience.  Who is focused on the customer?  Marketing!  They can make the trade-offs of customer and warranty impact vs. manufacturing cost to affect margin.  Finance could also do this, but I would choose marketing before finance.  The last group you want to do quality control is your group who runs your operations.  You need to think where the group should exist so  they will get rewarded to find problems.

This idea may sound crazy, but luckily we both know the VP of marketing we can float this idea by on his next trip to Seattle.

And, you thought my helmet cam ideas was crazy.  Quality Control in the data center is even more radical.  :-)

PS, when I say my friend is really smart, he fits in with a few friends who I worked with developing software, creating OS features back when we all worked for Apple.  One thing Apple taught us is sometimes when you know what is right you just do it, because there is no data to support your decision as no one has done it before.