by August 4, 2005 0 comments

One of the biggest problems with most data center designs is sizing. On one hand people talk of having a modular system which will give them the flexibility to scale up the center as and when requirements increase and on the other hand, they go on to build a data center from day one to cater to all capacity needs that they may have in the distant future. This leads to underutilization of resources and ultimately wastage of money. A better idea is to build a modular data center for current and near future needs. With a modular system in place you can increase the capacity of the center as and when required in the distant future.

A very important, and most overlooked, criterion while building a data center is its location, and in most cases you also do not have much in hand to decide. But still there are several things you can control. You should not go ahead and build your center at any available space in the office building. Factors such as accessibility to the center in case of an emergency, earthquake, fire and flood history of the place, and its ability to accommodate increasing number of equipment, should be kept in mind. Technology obsolescence in the computer world happens much faster than any other field. While you may today have the latest equipment, they are bound to become obsolete in a matter of 2-3 years. Designing a data center to match this speed is not easy. Typically the physical data center is made to last for at least, taking a conservative figure, 10 years. However, the IT systems such as the servers, switches and storage are changing in size, shape, power and capacity by the day. So, a data center design that you do today, should take into account that, the IT systems that it has to support will go through at least three complete changeovers. Predicting the nature of these systems that are going to come is a difficult task for the designers. With increased density of computing power and storage capacity in smaller and smaller equipment, providing power and cooling has become a big issue, and is still considered as a non-issue by many.

Challenges: How to tackle them?

Capacity planning: Build for present and near-future needs; prepare a modular design for expansion in case of distant future requirements.

Technology obsolescence: The life of data center is usually more than the life of the IT equipment that it supports. The data center design should be flexible enough to adapt to future technology changes.

Location: Often overlooked criterion, the location of the data center is as important as the center itself. A poorly selected location can put you into trouble in the longer run.

Power and cooling: Once considered an after thought, the power and cooling requirement of computer systems today is so
high it has become one of the most challenging tasks in a data center.

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