I had reason this morning to visit the attic and wound up taking a trip down memory lane. Specifically I wound up browsing clips of articles I wrote in the 1980s, pre-Internet. To the best of my knowledge, no one has taken the time to archive all the good work that our team did for CEE magazine. As a result, even I only see it when I am stumbling around up there.

Too bad, it was a fun time.  Ask me to tell you about the morning I got to watch dozens of Elvis impersonators rehearse for the centennial of the Statue of Liberty while I was working on a story about the Meadowlands arena? Indy cars were doing time trials in the parking lot that day. I actually got to wander pit row with my press pass and wound up taking photos with one foot on the track.

I wrote other stories too.  For our May 1987 issue I wrote an article entitled “Shearson anticipates tomorrow’s data.” The theme of that issue? Maintaining Critical Power.

I spoke at length with Pete Saraceni, Kling-Lindquist’s chief electrical engineer, about the design of the 90, 000 square foot facility and the eight 1.2 megawatt generators.

John Ritter, Shearson’s first vice president of facility operations told CEE’s readers that the firm had hired a specialty UPS engineer. I even interviewed Dennis Cronin, who was vice president ISC facilities engineering. Dennis said at the time, “We always have room for more computers.”  Dennis is now a columnist at Mission Critical and has been on an adviser since before we developed a board for the magazine.

In some ways the article still holds up. Some things have changed: Shearson, Halon fire protection, and Cronin’s position in the industry.

Other things have not: Cronin remains in the industry, as Steel Orca’s Coo and reliability remains a key concern as does cooling, fire protection, security and IT capacity projections.

The biggest changes? Energy use and efficiency are covered only in passing in the article. Even more striking is the certainty everyone conveyed about the systems supporting Shearson’s data center. I can’t tell if my naivete produced the sunny, optimistic tone of the article or whether it was the excitement of the owners and the design-build team.

In either case, I’m sure we didn’t expect the challenges that Moore’s Law and the accompanying demand for services would bring. And the Internet was still years off.

It turns out that data centers would turn into a pretty interesting and important part of the economy. I’d love to hear some of your stories, too.

How did you get started in the industry?