Wednesday, April 8, 2009

FBI Datacenter Raid

Glenn links to a Wired story about an FBI raid of datacenter. First, if you don't know what a datacenter is take a look at the picture atop the Wired story. Those look like 42u racks each of which can hold, in theory, 42 x 1u rackmount servers. In practice you'll have some 2u, 3u, 4u and maybe a few 6u blade servers, as well as rackmount UPSs and networking equipment. Their are eight racks in each aisle and there are eight visible aisles, so we're talking about the potential for a lot of hardware. The article indicates that about 220 computers were taken.

I've been to a couple of datacenters. They're basically warehouses with aisle upon aisle of these computer racks. I know of a couple of companies that have space in datacenters—smallish consulting companies with twenty to thirty employees. They rent half racks. Larger companies will need more space and, obviously, business needs will drive the space requirement, too.

For the FBI to waltz in and take the business critical computers of so many companies because of a couple of bad apples, well, that is a really bad precedent. Looting the bank accounts of the owner of the datacenter is appalling. This is going to force companies around the country to waste time updating their disaster recovery plans to address the recently introduced problem of FBI raids and it's going to driveup the cost of using datacenters.

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