Kara Manon Local McDonald’s Lets it All Hang Out

October 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Did you know that McDonald’s feeds more than 46 million people every day? That’s more than the population of Spain! Additionally, McDonald’s represents 43% of the United States fast food market. One would think that a company like McDonald’s would practice appropriate server maintenance. We were horrified when a friend of Data Cave sent us this picture they snapped through the window of a local McDonald’s drive through.

So let’s play a game. What’s wrong with this picture?

McDonald's server equipment

Taken at the McDonald’s drive-thru in Columbus, Indiana

1. Kitchens and Technology are a Recipe for Disaster

This McDonald’s chose to locate their servers near the kitchen. It doesn’t take a data center expert to note that this is not an effective strategy. Consider your personal cell phone, for example. SquareTrade conducted research that stated that 21% of all iPhone accidents occur in the kitchen. An iPhone is a critical device for many, but most of the vital information is backed up using iCloud. And it isn’t cheap to replace an iPhone, but the price is not nearly as prohibitive as purchasing and implementing a new server. Being near to food and drink can only result in terrible technology tragedies.

2. Exposure to the Elements

Not only did this McDonald’s choose to place their servers near the kitchen, they exposed them to the elements because they were in the drive thru room. It is estimated that an average McDonald’s serves 1,584 customers daily. If half those customers came through the drive thru and the window is open for an average of 10 seconds per customer, those servers were exposed to outside conditions two hours and twelve minutes each day. This takes the idea of an uncontrolled environment to the extreme.

3. Crossed Wires

While the appearance of messy wires isn’t aesthetically pleasing, it is also dangerous. Tangled wires pose fire threats (and we are willing to bet that McDonald’s didn’t employ a fire suppression system exclusively for its servers). Due to this cabling, it doesn’t even appear as if they can shut the door (see #4). In fact, this picture below details the challenges of having messy wires.


Cable management

4. An Open Door Policy

Open door policies are great for dealing with employees, but they are less than optimal when it comes to technology. Having an open door to their servers poses many security risks. Damage could be done, both intentionally and unintentionally. McDonald’s  has employed one in every eight American workers. That is indicative of a high employee turnover. A disgruntled employee could easily wreck havoc on McDonald’s because the technology is so readily available.  Additionally, accidents happen. By having an open door, the chance of accidents increases.

5. The Data Closet

Finally, it goes without saying that we encourage all organizations to protect their valuable technology (especially offsite). McDonald’s has their main data center in Dallas but their restaurants obviously still needs local equipment. There are so many risks that come with housing an internal data center, especially one in a closet with no ventilation or cooling. If you want cost savings and increased protection, it only makes sense to outsource your data center.

McDonald’s, we urge you to clean up your technology act! It is inevitable that something will happen, and you will suffer!

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