There's no "Data Centre", insofar as data-processing. It's a data storage array into which you insert things, store them for a while (if not 'forever') and occasionally retrieve them. (A bit like the system described here1
, which first came to my mind.)
If the complex weren't by now on lockdown (mostly against the outside), there may have even been other arms grabbing other modules, perhaps semi-manually, perhaps (at the lower, less information-sensitive storage levels/unseen peripheral stacks?) more of a push-button/voice-id-response automated process, but here at the top levels (of the central stack, assuming there were those others, in separate side-shafts) with the really
juicy stuff, only a trained manual control of the arm from a specifically isolated console might be acceptable, to prevent accidental/malicious remote retrieval of these highly confidential modules, and putting them (unknowingly) onto an outbound ship that could then be ambushed for all the Super Secret Squirrel goodies it contained. (If the ship concerned wasn't already compromised by compatriots of the 3117-h4x0rs!)
Or, at least, that makes sense to me.
As a design element, assuming they needed
such extreme verticality (rather than mostly horizontal 'shelving', or multiple shorter stacks spread warehouse-wide), I might have been tempted to go for a shaft drilled into the ground. Risk of flooding aside (with all the other stuff like atmospheric forcefields, and even decent lining of the shaft up until way-above-high-tide mark on the surface complex buildings, I'm sure they could have secured against that
) a subteranean complex would be far less vulnerable and easier to recover from the attack of anything short of orbital bombardment (which the tower is at least as vulnerable to, never mind low-power Death Star blast to the vicinity), more secure from other attempts at physical ingress by unauthorised individuals, and does just about everything the tower does much
better, apart from "looking good". And we know they haventhe technology! The Naboo power-station, the Endor shield-bunker, etc...1
But I disagree with that assessment. The guy was clearly looking for some code snippet that he had once written
(or other details of an old backdoor method), perhaps in an idle moment, to save him time in putting together the targeted worm/whatever that he probably never thought he was ever going to use in anger, but now clearly relishes the prospect of the intellectual exercise like only a disassociated geek of that kind could. Either without much thought of the morality of subverting 'his' own system, or more likely swayed to take Ryan's bending of the rules as more moral/authoritative than what he knew of Ritter's... Either way, I always remembered the gleam in his eye...