Design Rules For Data Centers in Urban Areas

Design Rules For Data Centers in Urban Areas

One design problem that often gets overlooked when creating a data center is building in or renovating an existing building. There are some specific and unique physical requirements, as well as obstacles, that you need to address first before going into the building stage. Building a server room or an entire data center in an already heavily-populated area comes with a number of problems, but they’re not impossible to overcome. Here are ten basic guidelines to help get you started:

1. Remember that, according to TIA-942, cables must be run to accommodate growth so that you don’t have to revisit your horizontal. Confused by their wording? All this means it that you need to lay cable according to your needs today and what your needs might be in the future. So you’ll probably want to cable for speeds that will likely be used in the next 10 years. A 10 Gig system will definitely be very active during that time.

2. Check into local codes regarding abandoned cable. Most likely, in order to be compliant, you’ll need to have all abandoned cables removed. It would be best for you to have all cables out of the way before you start adding your own anyway. After all, more cables means more restricted air flow, which can make cable organization a disaster, not to mention the safety hazard if there’s ever a fire.

3. Make sure you check with your data provider first to ensure that they will be able to run conduits that will accommodate your requirements. It can be a very expensive nightmare if you have to go back and pay to have additional conduits drilled/built, for example, under existing roadways.

4. Check into local laws and codes regarding fire suppression and specific cable coating requirements. Does the cable need to be limited combustible? Does it need to be run in special conduits?

5. Heating and cooling requirements in your server room are always important. Check to see what HVAC requirements you have. Depending on your server type, the requirements may greatly increase.

6. Although it may not be something you think of at first, seismic activity and flooding are always possible. Check for local building standards and codes.

7. You’ll probably want a redundancy option. Be sure and check with your local power company to see what they offer.

8. Something to always consider is how accessible your location will be to the local fire department and fire hydrants. Hydrants should be close, and the fire department should not have to cross railroad tracks to get to your building. Why? Because it will probably make your insurance rates go up.

9. Check the physical security of the building. For example, are you going to need to add barriers on one side of your building next to the road to prevent people from accidentally driving directly into your server room? What are your security options?

10. Keep floor loads in mind. Quite often high rise buildings cannot support very heavy loads, like large data center equipment, without expensive structural modifications and fortifications

Planning is an essential part of computer room design, especially when building in or moving to an urban area.

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