'Kip and Gary' brings data center jokes, stories to life

No such thing as a funny data center? One comic artist created 'Kip and Gary,' a cartoon duo who make data center horror stories hilarious.

And now for something completely different.

Diane Alber ended up in the data center industry by way of art school. Now she's fused IT with art in the "Kip and Gary" comic series, which captures misadventures in server racks, raised floors and more.

"There weren't any comics out there, so I started asking CIOs to tell me their horror stories. That's where ideas came from, and people can relate to them," said Alber, who works for a distributor selling cabinets and other IT facility infrastructure components. Even if an IT guy hasn't been through a situation depicted in the comic, they can imagine it happening in their data center.

The first collection of "Kip and Gary" cartoons, released as a hardcover book, showcases the hard work, nonsense and oddities that occur in a data center. The comics mix insider data center jokes and fun takes on how to prevent catastrophes and horror stories.

Green data center comic by Kip and Gary

"You have to have a light heart to enjoy these comics," Alber said. "In real life, you screw up and it costs thousands and hurts the business."

Alber wanted to capture the lighter side of IT in a package worthy of giving to coworkers, CEOs, family and friends that listen patiently to data center jokes without quite understanding what makes an in-row cooler RFP hilarious. The book, published in 2014, includes some background on Kip and Gary -- the Odd Couple of the data center -- and on the art that goes into creating a comic.

Alber's future plans include a technical book that describes the workings and usefulness of a data center.

"I envision something comic and clever but informative," Alber said. We'll all know what a data center is soon, she added, with Internet of Things, high-speed fiber and personal cloud computing necessitating IT closets in homes and businesses.

Alber is also putting together animated comics for Web fans.

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