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Data Centre Tools

15th July, 2010 by Daniel

There was a post today on Evil Mad Scientists listing their favourite tools for the job. So I thought, hey that’s a good idea I can steal! So I’m going to present to you my favourite tools for the data centre.


Just so so useful. I walk into the data centre sometimes not knowing what I might need and it’s a pretty long walk back to the office where the tools are. So I bring this guy along just in case and nine times out of ten – it does the job.


Maglite 2AA cell. It doesn’t have to be the LED one, I just like it. The modes aren’t particularly useful to me but you never know one day you may need to have it on SOS mode (which If you’ve read Cory Doctorow’s When’s Sysadmins Ruled the Earth you might be able to envisage). Our data centre has a lack of lighting at the top end so it’s good for that as well as being essential for seeing with when you are crawling around the floor. I also carry a Maglite Solitaire on my keys in case i’ve forgotten to bring a proper torch with me.

3. Crimps
You’ve got to have good crimps. I used to have on that did cutting, stripping and crimping in one tool but the stripping bit started to wear out so I’ve now decided that separate tools are better. I keep getting the bit of skin between my thumb and first finger caught in our current one so I’m not going to be reccomending that particular model.

4. Wire stripper
Because using your teeth gets tiresome and wearing. We use one that you poke the end of the cable through and twist it round.

5. Cutters
Believe it or not these can get pretty expensive. But with good reason, several times i’ve cut out a power cable that’s out of use but stuck in a rack through over zealous cable management and it’s been still connected to power. Flash and a bang later and you’re glad that the snips have done their job and insulated you from it all.

6. Tile Lifters

Go for the double, single suckers aren’t enough often. We had a couple that had slight hinges on the suckers but they wore out pretty quickly. For lifting vented tiles I usually use the pliers on my penknife.

7. Cable tester
Stops the user complaining about their dodgy network connection when you can show them that there’s nothing wrong with the cable you spent time crawling under the floor to install for them.

I could go on about how my iPhone has helped me in situations, which it has – often to get to the universities phone directory, make sure a DRAC card I’ve just set up is pingable. But until the university sorts it’s wireless out so I don’t have to re-authenticate every time I use it it’s actually much easier to troop back to the office to use my PC.

1 Comment »

  1. Tom says:

    Hi Dan

    Nice review. Re the wifi, you want the app called AutoWifi – it does a good job of (mostly) automating authenticating against those brainless captive portal systems.

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