News Column

The cloud is just a crazy datacenter

July 21, 2014

Molouk Y. Ba-Isa

Saudi Gazette

These days we all imagine our data floating peacefully in white, fluffy clouds out in cyberspace. In reality, all those bits and bytes are crammed into servers in datacenters. Those datacenters are run by real people, who manage hardware, software and systems.

Sometimes things go wrong at the datacenter. Mistakes are made. Equipment fails. Communication mutates into nothing more than words. Showing the realities of working life in a data center is the goal of a new book of cartoons by Diane Alber. "What Happens in the Data Center...Featuring Kip and Gary" is the first humorous look at a place that's usually hidden behind closed doors.

Eight years ago, after graduating from Arizona State University with a degree in Fine Arts, Alber found herself offered a position as part of the sales team selling infrastructure to data centers. She decided to take the job - starving artists don't live long - and soon was caught up in the very close-knit world of the data center.

"I really enjoy this world," said Alber. "Everyone is a joy to work with and a lot of people have stumbled into this industry by accident, too!"

But Alber's first love is art and one weekend she created what became the Kip and Gary comic strip. The comic strip's focus on the data center aims to be both educational and entertaining. The drawings show too, that network engineers and other data center staff, while highly educated, can still make silly mistakes or come up with crazy schemes.

"I believe tech people are VERY smart, in fact some of the smartest people I have ever met," said Alber. "Some of these comics are actually based on true stories and the storyteller was able to look back at it and laugh, so I figured other people could, too. When you can relate or if you can envision something happening, it can make it humorous. That is my inspiration for the comics!"

In many ways, Kip and Gary has the flavor of the famous Dilbert comics, but Kip and Gary work in a data center not an office. And Alber remarked that while many of the ideas for the comic strip come from "people in the industry" she's also a creative thinker. "Sometimes I wonder, 'What if this happened in the data center?' That could be pretty cool!"

Experience Kip and Gary comics through Give the book as a special gift to an engineer who needs a break from all those racks and cables. Last month Alber began animating Kip and Gary. Watch Kip and Gary on to see how data center cooling can start the journey to the cloud.

For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel

Source: Saudi Gazette, The

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters