group, these twenty-to-forty-somethings can usually be found participating in their organization's secretive rites
late at night in the city. Throughout the wasteland of blowing newspapers and blinking traffic lights
waiting forlornly for the dawn, at the bottom of concrete canyons
lost long and unsung, they slink past. Their steeds a variety, from Lexus
es to Lincoln
s, from Nissan
s to Neon
s, from Jeep
s to junker
s, they slide through the empty streets on their sacred mission.
The Servers Call.
Yes; it is a mystical and dark time, a time of magic and kleptomania and high caffeine consumption. Stealthily, these minions of the machine slip into darkened office towers and Soho lofts and urban basements containing their places of employment. They emerge, moments or hours later (gotta have a quick game of Diablo 2), bearing strange black and beige shapes and talismans. From the Monoliths of 2U VA Linux boxen, to the Beige Tower Edifices of Compaq Proliants, to the Stealth Grey Slabs of UltraSPARCs and HPs, they skip back to their panting steeds.
And then, my friends, the steeplechase begins.
For in very few occasions are their destinations local! Oh, no. Their goals lie beyond the concrete walls, out past the ring roads, in the land of cheap warehouse real estate. Low, vast, stealthy buildings with forests of HVAC and communications gear perched on top; Diesel generators standing ready in the night for that one small hiccup from Con Edison or Boston Electric or whomever, they wait for the chasers to arrive.
This is Colo. This is home.
With a screech of tires, a last blare of techno from the car deck, or perhaps some Pachelbel, they turn their keys and revel a moment in the silence, basking in the invisible but present kinship they share with others on this mission this very night. Then it's time to open the trunks, and don the tools and hoist the servers; time to sign in, to be inducted, inspected, detected and ejected1. Time to satisfy security's curiousity, to inveigle them into opening the sacred Portals of the Colo Chamber, where cages by the dozens wait with banks and banks of humming machinery!
If you listen carefully, you can hear them sing, sometimes, invisible in the distant aisles and buried in the machines that they serve and protect2:
Push the button
Pull the lever
Move the rackmount
Hit the power
Join us in our industry...
I love my job
He loves his job
She loves her job
Nighttime is our time to wail...
Slap the bitch in
Power's pushed in
Network's jacked in
Fan's up, kick tin
Join us in our industry...
I ping my box
He pings his box
She pings her box
The LAN is up so coffee time...
Yes, the Midnight Server Shuffle has taken place. The geeks having confounded contemporary security yet again, wafting through corporate and police protection with a hundred or five hundred thousand dollars worth of machinery tucked neatly into their cars. To paraphrase Eddie Murphy, how can a black man, dressed like me, just walk in here and start poking around? And walk out with computers under his arm at two in the morning? Easy - welcome to the new economy.
The MSS & Colo Crew await. Here's your membership card. Sign it just above where it says "Vesting Date."
1: With apologies to Arlo Guthrie.
2: Sung to the tune of "Happy Workers" by Tori Amos, from the Toys soundtrack.