The folks at the Wall Street Journal saw Monday's announcement that Oracle would build a Global Information Technology facility in West Jordan, Utah and wondered: what exactly is a "Global Information Technology facility." Vauhini Vara, who blogs about business technology at the Journal, called Oracle to find out and was surprised when the company would offer no additional information about the $285 million facility.
Which is why the Journal decided to accompany Vara's blog item with an image of a space alien bearing the caption "Is this what's in Oracle's Utah 'facility?'" Naturally, if a big company like Oracle is trying to hide something, it must be a double-top-secret project like Area 51. It couldn't possibly be "just a data center."
For the benefit of the Journal and our newer readers, it looks like it's time to restate The Fight Club Rule of Data Center Secrecy.
Google isn't the only company that is secretive about its data centers. Many large U.S. companies are paranoid about discussing their data center facilities, including their location and contents. Among them is Wal-Mart, which generated Internet conspiracy theories in 2006 when it refused to discuss its facility in Joplin, Missouri with local media. "This is not something that we discuss publicly," a Wal-Mart spokesperson told the Joplin Globe. "We have no comment. And that's off the record."
"The first rule of Fight Club is - you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is - you DO NOT talk about Fight Club."
Just substitute the words "data center" for "Fight Club," and you have a succinct summary of many companies' policy on discussing their data centers. It's not just Google, Wal-Mart and Oracle, either. Many financial institutions and government agencies are even more silent about their data center operations. They're so silent that their silence is off the record.
Of course, Oracle is not all that secretive. If the Wall Street Journal was really interested in what's inside an Oracle data center, they could have simply Googled the term "Oracle data center" and found plenty of information - including a video tour of Oracle's Austin data center here at Data Center Knowledge. But then again, that's not nearly as much fun as a picture of a space alien - not to mention a shark with a friggin' laser beam on its head.