It’s all fun and games until someone presses the big red button and everything goes dark. No, not the big red Staples “Easy” button that makes affordable office supplies magically appear. I’m talking about the big red button on the wall in many data centers, the one that’s usually inadequately labeled, but should actually read “Paralyze Data Center” or “Commit IT-Career Suicide By Accidentally Bumping This.” Yes, yes, the Emergency Power Off button, affectionately known as the EPO.
The whole point of having an EPO button is so that a data center’s power can be cut in one fell swoop if there’s a fire, electrocution, or other dire emergency. The only thing is, an EPO can wreak total havoc, and even cause you to lose your job, if you accidentally push it. When the power suddenly dies, you’re left with hours or even days of downtime and recovery, which can mean very bad things for both your business and your clients. As a matter of fact, I recently saw a hilarious blog post that showed a picture of an EPO that was cleverly labeled “Armageddon.” That pretty much sums it up. So why the heck don’t data center managers (with the exception of the “Armageddon” guy) do a better job of labeling these things?
Put away the Post-It notes, masking tape and markers: it’s time for a real label, one that’s worthy of a Bond villain’s control panel. One that’s authoritative enough to say “do not push this unless absolutely necessary” and mean it. What we need is a little HellermannTyton.
HellermannTyton has recently developed a really cool, extremely substantial foam label that can be printed with a thermal transfer label printer, but has a lot more impact that plain old tape-style labels. They can take large fonts, have room for additional graphics, and some of them are even cut to fit around buttons and toggle switches. These things are not joking around – they’re serious labels for serious controls. Try them out, because a data center is never the place to say “oopsie!”