San Francisco, California

Between Trident Lakes and Technology Drive

Ingrid Burrington is one of my favorite writers and here she’s jotted down notes from a talk she made on data centers and power:

When I’ve gone on data center tours I know most of this security theater isn’t really for me, but there is a subtle nudging request for validation in these design choices. In colocation data centers, it’s for someone else’s middle management–potential clients who need to be impressed. In purpose-built data centers like Facebook’s, it’s for a general public that uses but maybe does not love Facebook. Facebook’s desire to be loved and trusted has always struck me as sort of overcompensating. The public image of the data center is about reassuring someone (clients, themselves) that this ridiculous massive human project of the networked world is secure and certain and inevitable and perpetual, and by extension they are secure and certain and inevitable and perpetual. And, it is worth noting, privately held. There is a difference between infrastructure and public works, and spending time with Internet infrastructure is a reminder that the anxieties over walled gardens and media manipulation and equal access kind of missed the extent to which the Internet was never “ours” to begin with.