Just about 4 months ago we (former Planeteers) received word that we would soon be moving to a new, shiny and bright office located in North Dallas. Most responses were mixed: What does it look like? Where will I sit? Will the drinks still be cheap? What kind of coffee do they have? You know those types of questions... The "important" ones.
As the days counted down, the anticipation grew stronger. The weather outside grew colder, and the speculation about what was to be expected was roaring like a wild fire. I heard rumors of sitting in cages and construction areas and discussions about ambient office temperatures varying from "polar bear toenails" cold to "Texas July" hot all year long. It was more than a little nerve-rracking.
Finally, big-move Friday was here. I remember it like it was two months ago.
Everything that you owned and accumulated since day one had to be stuffed into a bright reddish-orange plastic crate. For me, that meant more than six years of stuff. We’re talking about documents, paperwork, chotchkies, reports, printed pdf’s, business cards, pens, technology briefs and even a few magazines. Somehow, I managed to get it all in one crate.
Movers were scheduled to arrive at our Stemmons office at 4 PM to start moving computers, phones and anything else we left on our desks. Watching them do this brought a sort of sadness because I knew that the move that we had all been anticipating was really happening. I couldn't help but think about all the years in this office, the memories and changes I was part of.
Needless to say, that lull only lasted for a few hours. I was ready for something new, something fresh: New paint, new floors, new things to learn. In two days, a lot of things were going to be different and I was ready for them. I was so ready that I actually showed up a day early just to get the lay of the land and nothing could have prepared me for what was in store.
We're talking about three buildings totaling over 120,000 square feet. I think I have counted over 20 conference rooms that are all outfitted with meeting necessary amenities. There are somewhere in the ball park of ten coffee machines with over forty different flavors of tea and coffee. I found twelve refrigerators filled to the brim with soda, green tea and Monster (the number one drink of techies). Also, during my travels, I saw at least eight water coolers, a "Sonic" ice machine, three sizes of cups and a healthy supply of my favorite Welch’s fruit snacks! This is, of course, the "important" stuff as I mentioned before.
Oh and I guess it's worth mentioning that there's a data center here as well. Soon to be three pods located right here in our HQ with 5,000 servers each and the most advanced network you have ever seen. You need gigabit? You've got it! You need 2 gigabit? OK, no problem. You need 10 gigabit? Of course. We'll have it for you in less than four hours. You want forty-five cloud servers and three dedicated servers for your MS SQL cluster with private communication between them, iSCSI and SAN replication to Washington DC with a single portal to manage all cloud instances and servers? That's a piece of cake. You want us to deploy a pod in southern California? We'll put that on our expansion roadmap [*EDIT: See Below]. You want out of band management, VPN with every account, multiple Internet backbones, and back-haul between cities for inter-city communication? Check, check, check and yep, you guessed it, Check!
I'm sixty-days old at SoftLayer, and I'm still learning new and exciting things about our infamous platform. I also still use our n00b's guide - the office map that we were provided with upon our arrival to our new office - to find people, conference rooms and printers.
It’s a new year and SoftLayer has taken on a wealth of new talent, building new DC pods concurrently in different cities while continuing to offer new features and products. With Lance at the helm, this re-born company will keep growing at alarming rates in 2011!
P.S. Before I wrap this up, I would be remiss if I didn't note that I found one of those pre-move speculations to be true: It is colder than a polar bear's toenails in here. If you ever decide to visit, even in the heat of the Texas summer, bring a parka ... You will need it!
*EDIT: The original post said "No Problem," which was a little flippant. A lot of time, research and investment go into choosing where our next pods will come online. Right now, we're turning up pods in San Jose and Amsterdam, and if a lot of customers call for SoCal to be next, that'll definitely play into the decision-making process. In the meantime, we have a network point of presence in Los Angeles which makes all of our data centers screamingly accessible from SoCal.