6 Keys to Data Center Planning by@zacamos

6 Keys to Data Center Planning

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Data centers require plenty of space, advanced cooling systems and reliable security. Six steps designers can take to create successful data centers are: 1) Understand standards and guidelines; 2) Install energy-efficient cooling systems; 3) Find compatible security systems; 4) Purchase reliable backup power systems; 5) Use racks to save space; and 6) Hire a reliable contractor.

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Zac Amos

Zac is the Features Editor at ReHack, where he covers...

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The digital revolution is increasing the quantity of global data. Technological advancements in communication, information processing and banking require efficient storage systems. For this reason, engineers developed data centers to store and distribute computing information.

Modern data centers require significant amounts of space, advanced cooling systems, reliable security and management technologies to store users’ records. Data-storage facilities are expensive business assets — and their designs impact their cost-efficiencies. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind when planning a data center.

What is Data Center Design and Planning?

Data center design and planning improve information storage successes. Engineers construct centers using the critical principles of scalability and flexibility. Designers can model a facility’s architectural layout, information technology (IT) and infrastructure.

Designing a data center requires strategic and in-depth processes. Before developing a blueprint, professionals must consider a facility’s energy use, internet capacities, waste production and cooling demands. There are six steps designers can take to create successful data centers.

1. Understand the Standards and Guidelines

The first step to efficiently creating a data center is identifying local building standards and guidelines. Building standards vary from state to state, so designers must thoroughly investigate the construction regulations in their area to minimize fines and building limitations.

Most building codes regulate the height, energy use, water sources and construction materials of commercial structures. Inspectors use the standards and guidelines to determine whether a data center may access operational permits. Data center officials also created service organization control (SOC2) reports to evaluate a structure’s compatibility with data mining.

Designers must abide by SOC2 regulations when building data centers to reduce cyber attacks and protect customers’ data. Center owners must fill out SOC2 attestation reports before opening a new facility. This information represents a center’s compliance with security, processing and availability standards.

Understanding commercial building and data center guidelines can prevent permit issues. Individuals may confidently hand their blueprints over to builders after meeting building and SOC2 guidelines.

2. Install Energy Efficient Cooling Systems

Environmentalists often target data storage facilities for their extensive energy use — they consume up to 50 times more energy than conventional commercial buildings.

A significant portion of energy comes from cooling systems. Data centers use large-scale computing systems to process, store and distribute data. These systems generate heat, which may damage internal computer components in excess.

Designers can protect computing systems by keeping internal data center temperatures low. Professionals may also conserve energy by installing smart thermostats using the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT thermostats use sensors to monitor indoor temperatures and reduce energy loss.

They connect to facilities’ heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Smart thermostats use real-time weather predictions to reach programmed temperatures sustainably. Designers can add smart thermostats to their data center designs to preserve computing systems and reduce energy waste.

3. Find Compatible Security Systems

Data, energy, internet and firewalls require specialized security systems to prevent information theft. Designers should explore different security systems to find the most compatible options for their centers.

Professionals can improve a data center's physical and digital security by exploring modern security features. Some designers are adding smart security systems to their facility designs, which minimize break-ins and physical theft. These rely on multiple sensors, cameras, locks and microphones connected through Wi-Fi.

Individuals can also use digital security systems to protect data. Anti-phishing programs, sandboxing systems and remote browser isolation technologies may prevent digital theft. Minimizing cyberattacks may help data center companies meet consumers’ storage demands.

Designers may also increase a center’s flexibility using cloud migration security. They can install advanced digital security systems to prevent data loss during cloud transfers.

4. Purchase Reliable Backup Power Systems

Power outages significantly impact the efficiency and general functions of data centers. Many businesses report high amounts of losses when they lose power. Data center designers can prevent these financial deficits by installing reliable backup power sources.

The frequency and intensity of storms increase as Earth’s temperature rises. Tropical storms, hurricanes, wildfires and other climate change effects disrupt energy production and distribution. Data centers will require reliable power supplies to store and secure customers’ information as time goes on.

Industry professionals are calling upon data center operators to shrink their facilities’ carbon footprints. Large-scale data storage companies like Google and Microsoft are developing sustainable facilities to meet their carbon reduction goals. By installing renewable energy systems, data centers can shrink their carbon footprints and reduce power outages.

Architects can add photovoltaic (PV) solar panels and solar generators to their designs. PV panels and generators produce emission-free electricity when local grids and powerlines go down. Renewable energy sources are also cost-effective, which helps companies decrease their utility costs.

5. Use Racks to Save Space

Global Switch Singapur is one of the world's top five largest data centers. The center’s designer conserved land by building the structure up instead of out. It has six floors containing racks, which stack and protect servers, routers, hubs, switches and other equipment.

Designers can use racks in all data centers to optimize space. Some come with built-in cooling systems to protect valuable equipment. Other units contain efficient cable management features, which prevent damage and reduce fire hazards.

Professionals design racks based on a data center’s needs. Large-scale facilities may contain racks with many bays to hold a significant amount of equipment. The number of servers in a facility also influences a rack’s design.

6. Hire a Reliable Contractor

The final data center planning step involves finding reliable contractors. Data center construction is a new field and few contractors have the necessary experience to facilitate construction projects. Designers should explore a builder’s certifications before teaming up with one.

One construction certification signifying an individual’s knowledge of energy efficiency is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) endorsement. LEED-certified contractors can help professionals build data centers with smaller carbon footprints. Other builders may have advanced appliance installation knowledge.

Some contractors are more equipped to install backup energy systems and servers. Large-scale servers help data centers keep up with information storage and distribution demands. Individuals may assess builders' experience with data center appliances before hiring them.

Trends in Data Center Design

Current design trends tend to focus on sustainability. Because so many data centers rely on a large amount of energy, people want to find ways to create greener facilities.

The use of smart technologies has become prevalent in many areas of operation — from temperature control to security. Designers can anticipate these devices and software improving functionality and finding more traction as time goes on.

Data center developers may also create cost-effective facilities using previously built facilities. Individuals may convert used structures into data centers or deconstruct buildings to reuse materials. Reclaiming building materials significantly increases the affordability and sustainability of construction projects.

Building Smarter, Not Harder for the Future

The digital realm is expanding and requiring more data storage space, so designers can predict digital expansion to develop flexible facilities. They can create data centers with room for future growth.

Designing with the future in mind is vital for any data center owner. Find ways to maximize storage capacity while keeping an eye on sustainable technology to create a long-lasting facility.

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