Originally posted to Data Center Frontier by Rich Miller.

IMG_0323SACRAMENTO, Calif. – At first, it looks like any other hallway. But as you step onto a glass-enclosed catwalk, your entire field of view is filled with Internet infrastructure. Glance in either direction and you suddenly have a birds-eye view of an entire data hall, gazing down upon cabinets, cages and IT equipment.

Walk a few more feet ahead, and you enter a round observatory with dueling portals of critical infrastructure – cooling on one side, power on the other. Just a short walk ahead is a door that opens on a view of the entire equipment yard, including emergency backup generators and cooling towers.

This corridor offers a window into the data center, visualizing all aspects of the facility without ever having to enter a secure area. It’s in the RagingWire CA3 facility in Sacramento, which represents perhaps the ultimate example of a data center optimized around customer tours.

The facility tour has always been a staple of the data center business. On one level, it’s a type of inner-sanctum experience for techies. Billions of people use the Internet every day, yet few will ever see where the Internet actually lives. It’s a world of extraordinary infrastructure, full of blinking lights and huge machinery.

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