On Tuesday, I was lucky enough to get a guided tour from Bob Whalen of the DoITT facility in Brooklyn, New York City, where TLC stashes its servers, along with many other city agencies, and the future home of the joint 911 Call Center.
The first thing Bob showed me was a sketch of the power systems in the facility, which gave the impression that these guys were prepared for almost anything. Not only do they have battery-based UPS systems, but they have 2 generators on-site with enough fuel to power everything they have for about 2 days before the storage tanks need to be refilled. Which is comforting, since a lot of the city agencies have their data centers and connectivity through this facility.
We then stepped into the DoITT data center. They have an entire floor to themselves with row after row of servers (using an arrangement method called “hot isle cold isle” where the server racks face each other, so one row is all cabinet fronts and another is all exhaust), followed by rows of switches, cables, and networking equipment. And despite having run the network for a while from the building, the cabling was still clean, not the usual rat’s nest.
Off in one corner was what amounts to a NOC, where workers watch terminals 24/7 looking for network issues. The room looked like something pulled straight from the movies, with 2 big displays showing some real-time data and rows of computers waiting for a crisis. It was the kind of setup every computer nerd dreams of operating.
Downstairs, Bob gave me a sneak peek at the new 911 Call Center. At the moment, the various departments (fire police, etc) all have their own in separate locations, but starting soon, they’ll be under one roof. The technicians were just starting to install the final touches: the computer monitors and setting up giant displays all around the room. It looked like the room, while one long hall, was partitioned into smaller groups. Each operator had their own desk with 3 or more monitors, a hydraulic desk that moved up and down as preferred, and its own climate controls. Each desk was then circled around a larger display.
It was pretty neat, and I’ll definitely be looking out for internship availabilities over there in the future.