Building a data centre can be a difficult task, as it has to be robust enough to last for years and years, usually expected to be in operation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. With so much technology in one room, regardless of the size, a data centre build needs careful planning. Businesses are likely to have thousands of customers relying on the services of the data centre at any one time – and it could be catastrophic if problems arise.
The specialists at ITE Projects have been designing and building data centres for over 20 years, so the industry experts have decided to share their advice and knowledge. Read on for the best practices in data centre builds – use this as a checklist before you progress from the design stage, to ensure you don’t forget any crucial elements within the build.
1 – Site Space & Layout
The location and nature of the build should enable the data centre to expand as required. Always think about the future, as it’s much easier to expand with increased demand rather than have to build an entire new site elsewhere.
All items of equipment require sufficient space for ongoing maintenance tasks, so this is vital to include in your design planning. Additionally, delivery routes are needed throughout the data centre to allow items to be delivered or removed.
3 – Functional Areas
The computer room should be designed with a number of functional areas for carrier equipment, routers, LAN switches and comms racks. Other areas outside the main computer room should include offices for support staff, delivery and goods areas, rack build area, kitchen and rest rooms. All of these areas need to be incorporated in the most efficient and logical places.
4 – External space
Sufficient external space surround the building is required to enable the cooling plant to work efficiently. Also bear in mind that generator sets, ring main units and transformers require access and maintenance space.
Sufficient door heights and floor loadings are required for equipment delivery and installation, as detailed in TIA 942.
5 – Cable design
The proposed layout of racks and equipment should facilitate optimum cable paths. Data cables run within the hot aisle, and power cables within the cold aisle of the raised floor. To maximise cooling ability, racks should be positioned in a hot / cold aisle arrangement.
Adequate floor height is needed to accommodate data cables, power cables and cooling air paths.
6 – Lighting
Lighting within the comms areas should be to 500lux at floor level to allow sufficient light for technicians working within the racks. Lighting in other areas can be minimal to aid the efficiency of cooling procedures and save energy.
7 – Security
Security levels need to suit specific areas of the data centre, for example the highest levels are required for the carrier and main distribution areas.
8 – Tiered reliability
The data centre should be built to withstand a certain level of equipment failure and power supply failure. If you prepare for the worst case scenario and have emergency plans in place, the damage can be minimised. The uptime institute provides four levels of data centre resilience ranging from tier 1 – (basic n+1 level of redundancy) to tier 4 – 2N+1.
9 – Fire protection
The build should separate areas of the data centre into zones, and each zone should be protected by a fire-rated wall or partition. This will slow the spread of flames in the event of a fire.
Fire detections systems should be installed within all fire-protected areas to BS5839.
10 – Hire Professionals
We always follow these best practices to ensure our data centres are fit for purpose and meet the high demands of clients. Built to last and offer high performance 24/7, ITE data centres remain some of the most stringent and forward thinking in the industry.