Google is willing to pull out all the stops in convincing companies to take their IT operations to the cloud -- or rather, its flavor of the cloud.
Sophisticated upgrades to Google Docs, Sheets and Slides? Check.
A backdoor for end users to download and use new apps from its Marketplace without IT intervention? Got it.
Heck, Google has even offered cash
to Microsoft Office or Office 365 users anyone willing to make the jump to the cloud.
Whatever the reasons are, it's succeeding. Two recent surveys from BetterCloud show more companies are not only moving to the cloud, but are moving all of their IT operations to the cloud and at faster rates than the folks at BetterCloud had expected.
Google and its enterprise offerings are a significant reason for that migration.
So what's left for Google to do? Why, declare victory of course! Not over Microsoft or Amazon, however, but over its most primal, most mortal enemy of them all: the company server room. The now abandoned company server room.
Oh So Chic
In a Google at Work blog post recently, Google had some fun with suggestions about what to do with those windowless rooms that used to hold the servers that ran a company's IT operations.
It teamed up with PDM International, an interior design consultancy in the Asia Pacific region, for styling suggestions. And frankly, they're not half bad.
First PDM envisioned …
… a karaoke bar.
This, I must say, is ingenious and I don’t refer just to the disco-era strobe light.
Companies with servers on site long ago learned to install appropriate soundproofing to quiet the non-stop roar of the equipment. Plus with no natural light, employees can adjust the lighting
can hide in the semi-gloom to match the mood as they belt out painful renditions of top hits and classics.
Next they thought that …
… an indoor garden to grow leafy greens and herbs would be welcome.
Indeed it would! Circumventing the extreme waterproofing that the server room had prior to its abandonment — water and hardware do not mix well and a leak from a ceiling could spell death to an IT budget — would no doubt be very easy and who needs natural sunlight to grow food anyway.
Any residual chemicals in the room from the server operations can just be hovered right up.
Finally, PDM International suggested a …
A game room!
Now we're talking. As noted, server rooms are notoriously cramped, windowless spaces that no one wants to visit on a regular basis.
What better place for a light-hearted game of ping-pong or pool? Perhaps the company could also hold summer picnic in there as well.
Okay…maybe I'm not looking at it the right away.
Rowan Hamman, managing director at PDM International Australia, wrote about its work with the Australian Google at Work Team in the Australian publication BRW and yes, they were being tongue-in-check about it all.
That game room, for example: with the non-stop blast of air-conditioning coming at you from all angles is "helpful when you have to head to a client meeting after shooting some hoops."
And Hamman shows off some cred as a gardener with the indoor garden scenario.
"The existing server room lights could be refitted with hydroponic options, water could be harvested and re-piped to the plants in self-watering facilities. Cover the walls in water-durable vinyl, or take it to the next step with a moss wall, which the extra bracing in the walls could easily secure. Fast-growing plants like herbs and salad leaves work well as in most greenhouses, and the raised floors could become excellent plant beds."
A New Way of Working
The larger — and, finally, serious — point that the companies were making is a valid one.
In general, companies are revamping how they work and the space in which they work to meet changing demands of the workplace. Server rooms, noisy, basement-residing server rooms, are not easily integrated into this new world.
PS from Google: that new world includes a cloud-based IT operation.