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1st time in Virginia

I returned from Virginia yesterday and am almost over my cold. Descending in the plane wasn’t painful, but my head felt like it had a lot of pressure built up on it. I went through almost an entire roll of toilet paper to blow my nose. It and my lips were so chapped it was painful to even eat food.

The whole Dulles/Ashburn/Sterling/Herndon area is weird. It feels like it’s barren land with nothing there except roads to take you to other roads. You’re driving along, “oh there’s AOL”, four miles later of nothing but trees, “oh there’s verizon”, four miles later, “oh there’s IAD”. I wasn’t quite ready for the 44 F mornings and 70 F daytime highs, since it’s been hitting the 100s here in Austin.

I’ve never been to an Equinix facility before. This one was really nice for a datacenter, or even a business. It was also much, much bigger than I expected (it’s about 500 x 200 feet in size). It’s in a big warehouse, all the cable runs and piping around 8-10 feet off the floor, with another 10-20 feet to the roof. I’m curious to see what the facility looks like from above all the cages. The place is kept dark except for the area you’re working in, so it was cool to see rows and rows of blinky lights on computers. I’m glad they spruced the place up with colors, to keep it from being an incredibly dull grey and white datacenter.

The other facility was bought by Equinix and “Equinix-ized” according to our implementation manager. The customer area wasn’t nearly as posh as the other, and what’s up with the glass tube mantraps? Inside the colo, it was the same as the other, just cooler. Somebody had a cage of a couple thousand 1 U servers which was awesome as hell. Approaching the cage, you could hear the roar of the huge array of fans. Some cabinets had a different type of servers with more fans, so as you’d walk past, the roaring would get louder with a higher pitch. It sounded like you were at a race track with cars zipping by.

Another thing about the facilities, there’s rarely any interaction with the staff. The times you do see them, you’ve gotta have a ticket opened. It’s sort of odd, there’s nobody around you can ask a question to, except maybe the security guard to ask where something is at; everything else is emailed in.

Working on site seemed to make time drag. I put in 13+16+6 hour days and it felt like I got nothing done. I was in a mad rush on Saturday to wrap things up and leave for the airport by 2. I took a direct flight back to Austin and caught up on a bit of sleep.

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