Wednesday, 23 October 2013

It looks great a great Data Centre, but ...

I've just visited a small data centre which had been developed by someone who's had little previous training in creating such rooms/buildings. This lady has good business qualifications and has had plenty of experience as a general manager, but little in the operation of a data centre. 
She was proud at the low development costs of the site, partly achieved by using lowest bid general contractor. The overall decorative appearance of the "Data Centre" is good, but when you dig a bit deeper into the construction methods the picture changes. 

To spare her blushes I won't go into too much detail but there were some basic mistakes. I've made some recommendations relating to safety which shocked her as there's now no budget to fix the issues and she doesn't want to interrupt operations with additional works.

There are many factors to consider when planning and designing a Data Centre, but here are the main factors I put into consideration:

  • Power
  • Cooling
  • Resilience
  • Weight bearing capabilities of the building structure
  • Noise and vibration
  • Insulation
  • Security and safety
  • Lighting
  • Personnel
  • Access
  • Data, telecommunications and power cabling
  • Shared Mechanical and Electric facilities
  • Space allocation
  • Storage
  • Maintenance
  • Expansion and upgrading planning
These factors overlap and are often interdependent leading to many careful design decisions being required.

In the case mentioned at the start of this blog article. I've recommended an increase in the fire rating of a couple of walls and doors. It is possible to retro-fit this, but the process will require some minor building works. I've also recommended one stud wall where there is public access should have greater security by adding security mesh lathing with a surface covering of lightweight wallboard. I'm sorry to ruin the wallpaper!

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