Jun 17, 2020

Choose Your Own IT Adventure

Just to set expectations, the IT in the post title is indeed Information Technology. There are no murderous clowns or spiders from outer space in this post.

Data Center of Doom cover

I've had this for awhile and never got around to sharing it. It all started back in BC (Before Corona) when I was talking to one of my managers in his office. I happened to see just enough of the book corner sticking out from a pile of books and papers to know it was a CYOA book. At first I thought it was a parody because it didn't look or sound like a typical CYOA book.

Data Center of Doom back cover

When I (excitedly) asked what it was he said I could take it as it was just a promo item he got at a tech trade show. As I started looking at it, there was no doubt it was an official book after seeing the ChooseCo logo. What a cool way to promote your company!

Here is the back cover text:
Palo Alto Networks next-generation firewalls provide a security architecture that protects, scales and evolves with data center needs. Our firewalls are designed to safely enable applications by user, application and content without compromising performance. We support physical, virtualized and mixed-mode date center environments, with consistent next-generation firewall features managed with a single centralized management platform.

There's also mention of a secret online ending but since the book is around 8 years old, that page no longer comes up with anything.

Data Center of Doom other books

I think my favorite thing about the book is this Books You May Have Missed section. CYOA fans will no doubt recognize the original inspirations for some of these tech parody titles.

So, what's the book about? You take the role of a network Security Architect at a pharmaceutical company that is on the verge of going public. Sounds like a thrilling adventure, right?

Your day starts off noticing network traffic from R&D is being routed to Georgia (the country) and from there your choices begin.

You can try to chase down the mysterious R&D network traffic.

You could end up giving a presentation to the Chief Information Security Office about Palo Alto firewalls, which would have prevented the whole R&D data thing to begin with.

You may find yourself heading off to the Amazon to find out what happened to another tech that was going to visit the company's latest acquisition.

Data Center of Doom illustrations

It's not all as boring as you think it might be, but then some of it is. My first run through followed the Amazon plot and it was fun. The corporate stuff, not so much and I don't know if someone that isn't into IT would even enjoy those parts.

For the heck of it, I checked eBay for this book and if the current listings are to be believed, it's on the rarer side. I couldn't find any completed auctions but there are two for sale right now, both asking over $70!


  1. I chose an IT adventure about 30 years ago. I think I should have turned to the other page...