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Finding A Quality Construction Team For Your Next Datacenter Project

data center maintenanceWhen you are preparing for your next datacenter construction project, whether it is your first time or you have built datacenters before, you probably know that the construction team you choose can have a big impact on the outcome of the project. In fact, the construction team you choose is one of the biggest factors that determine whether your building project is a success, completed on time and within budget, or whether it’s a financial or operational disaster. To hire a good construction team, consider these factors.

Find a trustworthy company. Your data center is going to house some of the most important—and probably some of the most expensive—pieces of equipment in your entire business. Not only is the equipment very specialized and imperative to keep running in tip-top shape, but the volume of sensitive data that may be contained in the servers you install in your data center is equally valuable.

If you cannot trust the datacenter construction team to be strict about the quality of the data center, there are many things that can go wrong. The building itself must be high quality to ensure that it does not fall apart. In addition, if the construction team is not paying attention to detail, you may end up with faulty wiring, an inadequate cooling system, or some other problem that can damage the equipment inside.

Be firm about deadlines. Choosing a company that can complete your project in a timely manner is a worthwhile investment when you are preparing for your datacenter construction. Delays in the timeline of a project can be frustrating, not only because they delay the time before you can use your data center to its fullest potential, but also because they can be very costly. Check the track record of the construction crew you are hiring to find out if they consistently complete projects on time, or if they have a habit of cost and time overruns.

 

Save money with a quality construction crew. Because datacenter construction projects tend to be costly ventures for any business, it is often difficult to convince upper management that it’s a necessity. In some cases, even if management signs off on the project, they want to find the least expensive option for doing it. It is always a good idea to shop around and find an affordable company, but keep in mind that just because a company is charging the lowest price does not mean they are the best deal. Be sure that with the price you pay you are getting the highest quality construction, otherwise you may end up having to pay even more later to fix mistakes from low-quality work.

Get it done right the first time. Check out each company’s track record to make sure that their prior clients are satisfied and received quality, accurate work. Companies that can complete your project to your exact specifications the first time will always save you money and time over datacenter construction companies that do it wrong and have to keep coming back to fix it.

Constructing a great datacenter is an essential part of your business, and finding the right construction crew to build it just the way you need it is equally important. Using these tips, you can find the best construction team and be on your way to a new datacenter.

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Purchase The Right Data Center Equipment For Data Center Size

A lot of factors play into the equipment necessary for any data center. Data center design experts are able to deduce more quickly and more accurately what equipment you will need and how much of it. Knowing what Data center equipment you need is not just a matter of types. The process does not equate to a “one of each piece makes a whole” sort of format. Rather, each piece of equipment must be determined based on power needs, data storage needs, the amount of hardware that will be present, the amount of power that is needed to run the necessary hardware, and the backup power supply that would have sufficient juice to keep all systems running in the event of a blackout.

There are five main types of Data center equipment that you will need to build your data center. First is your UPS or uninterruptible power supply. The function of a UPS is to support servers, computers, data communications systems, and other electronic equipment during a voltage drop or power failure. Your UPS will sit in standby mode a majority of the time, but you’ll have to ensure it has the capacity to provide all the power you would need to stay functional and avoid data loss in the event of a power failure. The amount of power needed is directly related to the electronic equipment that will depend on it. The larger your data center, the larger capacity UPS you will need.

Batteries are another necessary type of Data center equipment. These are the power source for your uninterruptible power supply. The UPS battery represents the most vulnerable aspect of any UPS, despite its capacity. The battery is essential to UPS reliability. You must ensure that the battery is not only reliable, but be aware of its natural degradation, always careful to ensure you will have the juice your UPS needs to function properly. Once again, the battery size is a function of the energy draw your Data center equipment needs to function properly. One size does not fit all.

DC power systems are also key components of any data center. The hardware on your system requires DC power to operate. Most of these individual hardware units will have their own AC/DC power adapter which allows them to run off of AC current from the building. Unfortunately, when dealing with large amounts of hardware, this process is very inefficient, as a significant amount of entropy occurs during the adaptation. For this reason, your Data center equipment should include a DC power system which feeds your hardware with a direct current power supply. As with all the equipment discussed here, the size of the power system you need will have to be determined relative to the size of data center and the hardware it powers.

Computer room air conditioning (CRAC) is another significant aspect of Data center equipment you will need to factor into your data center design and build. Once again, your CRAC system size will be relative to your data center size and density. If you have a smaller data center, your cooling needs will be less and require a less substantial CRAC system. If you have a large data center, you will need to ensure that you have a substantial enough CRAC system to keep your hardware from overheating.

When it comes time to design and build your data center, utilize the experience and knowledge of data center design professionals to ensure your will have the right ratio of equipment to hardware. The equipment you need will be intrinsically based on the size of your data center.

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Datacenter Build Projects Are Vital For IT

For many companies today, the data center is the heart of your business, pumping out vital information that keeps your operation running as smoothly as possible. When your IT department has to constantly fight with inefficient datacenters, it is slowing your company down and giving your competitors a chance to catch up. If you have been coasting along with a sub-par datacenter, and you know that it’s time for a new datacenter build, here are some key points to consider to ensure that your new facility is appropriate for the vital mission that the center plays for your IT department.

First, take a look at your data center’s overall plan—and also your company’s overall needs. One of the most crucial mistakes companies make is to plan a datacenter build project that meets your information needs today, without any thought for the future. If you make this mistake, chances are you will be faced with building another datacenter in the very near future as your IT needs grow. Your plan should have plenty of room for today’s data needs, and also have lots of scalability to introduce new equipment and capacity as it is needed.

Next, think about your location. There may be some instances where you have the capability to house your datacenter within your current building, and there are advantages and drawbacks to this kind of plan, but in most cases you will likely be looking for a location outside your building. The advantage of having it on-site is its ease of use for your IT department; they can troubleshoot, repair, and add on to the center without leaving your office. The downside is that if something happens to your building—a fire, flood, earthquake damage, robbery, or other disaster—your backup data may be destroyed. If your datacenter build plan includes an off-site location, make sure it is still convenient enough that your IT people can get to it in a reasonable amount of time when necessary.

Another important consideration is the security of the facility. You already know that it’s critical to protect your data from cyber threats like hacking, and you have the best firewalls that money can buy, but that will not protect your data if the building is not secure and someone can simply walk in and steal the information. Security features like keycard access, biometric security, and cameras can deter a would-be thief.

When you are designing the interior of your datacenter build project, speed and flexibility are paramount to ensure your IT department and your equipment can do what you expect them to do. This means designing cable systems that are as fast as you can get within your budget. It may seem like a big expense, but again, if you build to support your capacity today, chances are your needs will grow soon in the future and you will be back to square one with an inefficient datacenter, having to add on or even build again (the worst-case scenario).

The mission of your IT department is to provide your company with access to data and information as quickly as possible. The data they provide is crucial to the rest of your employees’ success in being able to perform their jobs well. Without a good datacenter build plan, you are setting your business up for inefficiency, headaches, higher costs, and hassle down the road. Start planning now for your needs today and well into the future.

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The Importance Of Keeping A Data Center Build Project On Schedule

Constructing a data center is always a significant undertaking and any number of factors can cause hiccups along the way. An efficient Data center build is essential to avoid unnecessary use of various resources including time, funding, employee focus, and productivity. This is why having a project outline and schedule drawn up before implementing a Data center build is so imperative. Having a clear build plan and schedule will also be of benefit to every member of the build team. Knowing when and where they can expect their services will be expected allows them to focus their attention where needed and be productive otherwise when their services or expertise are not currently required. A plan and schedule are also essential to ensure that all the aspects of a build are working in concert and so that communication lapses do not cause an unnecessary loss of time or progress in the overall project. As with any major project, if one party is competently carrying out their aspect of the build but the team overall is not working in concert with the same goals and expectations, small or major derailments may result. These misalignments can not only be frustrating, but costly as well.

A clear data center construction schedule is essential to avoid various hazards during a Data center build. Unfortunately, defects during a build often do not show up until the latter stages of the project. As a result, back tracking is not uncommon. This can lead to a pattern of having to start over on various sections of the build. These types of defects that lead to back tracking are almost always the result of planning and process adherence rather than the defect of physical components. When team members understand the relationship between schedule adherence and successful implementation, they are more likely to take the approved Data center build schedule seriously. Efficiency can be very motivating, and avoiding the need to backtrack is an even greater motivator. In order to make the best use of their time and resources, and to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome that meets expectations, adherence to the schedule is imperative.

data center buildA schedule should be developed with team leaders involved who can appropriately assess goals and realistic implementation time frames. This schedule should not only involve major achievement points, but have a clear integration of smaller steps along the way. When a build schedule incorporates this level of detail, it makes is easier for various parties to adhere to the schedule on a day to day level. Another key component is having a project manager that sends a clear expectation of adherence to schedule’s time limes. Such a project manager can also keep consistent communications going out to team members reminding them of time frame expectations and that all pieces are required at each phase to keep the project on schedule.

Every Data center build is based around specific business needs. While the build is intended to meet these needs, the process has the potential to derail other projects, employee focus, and general productivity. For this reason it is essential that your Data center build be guided by an approved schedule and be held to that schedule. This will also improve the successful implementation of the data center and avoid unnecessary backtracking and delay.

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Computer Room Design For Expanding Businesses

As your business grows, so does your need to house data safely and securely. Whether it is customer information, vendor contracts, inventory data, or anything in between, it is important to have a computer room design that will enable you to meet your data needs today, keep your data safe and secure, and allow room for growth into the future.

One of the first things to consider is the location of your data center. Depending on your specific situation and the size of your current data center, you may be able to find a place in your current building where you can complete a great computer room design, or you may need to outsource it. If you are outsourcing, look for a building that is conveniently located in an area where you can get to it when necessary, but also far enough away that it is protected from a disaster that may strike your business building, such as fire or robbery.

Next, consider the size. If you have a computer room design that fits your business needs perfectly today, you can almost guarantee that it will be outdated and too small within a few months. With that in mind, plan for the growing needs of your business, and design an area with plenty of potential for expansion. Planning in advance can save you the hassle of having to design a new computer room a few months down the road because you need more space.

Another important consideration when it comes to space is the type of equipment you are going to use. Servers take up space, and space costs money, so you want to minimize the total space you need with your computer room design. This means finding technologies that optimize resources and minimize the space they take up. Things like enclosed racks, intelligent rack PDUs, and other organizing systems can be helpful in this area.

For most businesses, the primary cost of any data center is the cost of energy to adequately cool the room. Servers, especially in close proximity, can get very hot and without proper cooling will eventually fail. When you create your room design, be sure to account for areas where they may be “hotspots” that need additional cooling, and also use design ideas that can help promote cooling, such as higher ceilings.

When you have such a high volume of electrical equipment in one concentrated area, having space for the cords is also crucial. Without good planning, you will wind up with criss-crossing cords, wires, and other hazardous situations that could be prevented. Simply creating space under the floor can be an easy solution where you can hide cords to keep them safely out of the walkway areas of the computer room.

Finally, you should consider security as an important part of any computer room design. Since you have so much information that is stored in your data center, it’s important to keep it protected at all times.

These tips can help any business prepare for building its next data center. Not only will your new computer room be ready to meet your data needs today, it will also be scalable for future growth, and will ensure your data is available as quickly and securely as possible.

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A Company’s Stability Starts With The Computer Room Build Plan

Today’s company operates heavily on data—the more you can utilize your data to your advantage, the strong your company becomes. For that reason, it is important to understand that the long-term viability and stability of your company begins with a solid computer room build plan.

You may have been putting off the idea of designing a computer room for your servers and other data devices, but the longer you wait, the more valuable information you are potentially missing out on—information that could help keep your company one step ahead of your competitors. If you lose your data, or the information is compromised, your company is in danger of losing out to other competitors in the marketplace.

One of the most crucial components of a computer room build plan is the security. When it comes to information, security is paramount—whether that information is customer data or the secrets of your business success—and your computer room build plan should be created with security for the location in mind. Some of the most common ways companies secure their data is with locks, keycard systems, cameras or other detection devices, and other high-tech options. After all, you could have the best firewall in place to protect from cyber threats, but your data is still vulnerable if someone can walk into your data center unauthorized and steal it.

First of all, your security plan should include some method to keep unauthorized individuals out and keep your equipment inside, whether it is with biometric devices such as handprint recognition, voice-activated controls, a scale to weigh individuals when they arrive and when they leave the room (to prevent equipment theft) or something as simple as keycards. Even at the lower end, these systems can provide you with information about who is accessing your computer room and when. Recording devices such as cameras on the inside and outside of the computer room can also be an effective deterrent for someone planning to steal your data.

Your computer room build plan should also include a component for safety from natural disasters, such as water sensors to alert you to potential floods, or fire detection and suppression systems. This includes examining and planning for the possibility of other natural disasters that may be common in your area, such as earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes. While the safety measure you plan for may not save your entire computer room in the event of a disaster, they may be able to alert you enough in advance that you can minimize the damage.

In addition, you may want to develop a plan with some additional safety measure in place, such as keeping servers a specific distance from the floor to prevent damage if the building does flood. If your computer room is in a location where there are other businesses, be sure to examine and plan for all potential disasters that could result from the negligence of others, or of the landlords.

If your business is one that operates on data, you know the importance of being able to access to all the information your business has. Getting your computer room build plan right is essential to ensuring that your company is stable and successful long into the future.

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Datacenter Design Experience Matters

Quality Data Center Design Starts With Experience

Your business relies heavily on its data center to function effectively and efficiently. Loss of the capabilities your data center offers can bring your productivity to a standstill. Crashes, lost data, outages, and more can cause serious headaches as well as real financial losses. This is why it is so important that your Datacenter design be carried out by professionals. While you may have a tech-savvy employee willing to take on the job at a fraction of the cost, this really is not a risk worth taking.

While the components of a datacenter may seem fairly straightforward and simple, quality Datacenter design requires a degree of expertise. A datacenter is much more complicated than its associated hardware and software. Power, security, and cooling are also essential components that must be incorporated into the design. Projected growth will have to be carefully considered and incorporated as well. Taking all the various aspects associated with a datacenter and fitting them to the specific needs and goals of your enterprise requires specialized knowledge and skill.

While the beginnings of your datacenter should start with the expertise of a Datacenter design professional, this does not mean you will not have to put in any effort. You will need to inform this individual of the functionality you are seeking, your data storage requirements, and the space you plan to use for your datacenter. There are many details you will need to inform a professional designer of in order for them to create a datacenter that meets your company’s unique needs and demands.

As you can see, your effort to provide your business with a cutting edge datacenter starts with the expertise of Datacenter design professionals. They will know the questions to ask as well as the solutions available to address your company’s individual needs. They will be on the cusp of the latest technology and be able to incorporate the best innovations into the design for your datacenter. Installers will be highly experienced, knowledgeable of how to best handle wiring, cooling, and backup power supplies. They will know what hardware and how much of it should be included, and which software will best enable you to meet your company goals and demands.

Professionals who specialize in the design of datacenters have the knowledge, skills, education, and experience to evaluate your business needs and apply them to your unique design. They will know how to incorporate the various aspects related to a datacenter in a way that will be both efficient and effective while also allowing for growth. A high quality, professional Datacenter design will translate directly into a smoother install, fewer headaches during and after installation, and a significantly more satisfactory end result.

Data centers may appear on the surface to be a relatively simple coordination of basic components. However, the estimation of how many and how much is not so simple. The ability to design a space to be efficient with adequate power and cooling and potential for expansion is not straightforward. If you want to avoid backtracking and making unnecessary mistakes in your datacenter plan that will affect your business function as well as your bottom line, start off on the right foot. Use the expertise of an experienced Datacenter design professional.

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UPS Maintenance Is Key To Data Center Success

Keep Your UPS Performance Up With Scheduled Maintenance

data center maintenanceYour uninterruptible power supply or UPS is a series of batteries whose function it is to maintain the flow of power to critical equipments within your data center that are unable to withstand power interruption. Your UPS is also able to shield your data center equipment from blackouts, brownouts, voltage spikes and frequency variations as well as any transient disturbances in incoming power. A majority of your equipment requires uninterruptible power to function properly, which is why your UPS is so critical. Breaks in utility power supply are inevitable, and most equipment will shut down after a few cycles of disruption to their power source. Consequently, your UPS is an essential component of your data center system.

Minimizing disruptions to the power source starts during the power system’s design phase. A reliable power system depends on quality equipment and reliable design. A facility’s UPS should be designed to protect critical and high-tech equipment and to facilitate planned power outages so technicians can perform maintenance.

Preventative UPS maintenance should be a regular occurrence for anyone with a data center. Routine cleaning, testing, and inspection will reduce incidences of downtime and increase the longevity of data center equipment. To achieve optimum results, preventative maintenance should be performed at regularly scheduled intervals. For example, a standard UPS maintenance service plans might include the following maintenance schedule.

Visual inspections of data center equipment could occur on a quarterly basis. If your data center’s backup power system includes a generator, it might be tested at quarterly visits as well. Semiannual maintenance would likely include backup generator testing and checking for liquid contamination effecting capacitors or batteries. At these same visits, UPS equipment and enclosures would be thoroughly vacuumed and cleaned. HVAC equipment would be checked at these visits as well to ensure temperature and humidity are at appropriate levels.

Annual and Biannual inspections should also be incorporated into your UPS maintenance schedule. Annual visits would include thermal scans on electrical connections. These scans verify that connections are tight and are not producing heat. An operational test of the entire system is also appropriate at an annual inspection. Biannual inspections include the testing of UPS transfer switches along with maintenance bypasses and circuit breakers.

This is just one example of a possible UPS maintenance schedule, and is neither exhaustive nor wholly comprehensive in scope. Nevertheless, it gives you a clear sense of the thorough over site and care that your UPS would undergo with such a service plan in place. You can easily imagine how malfunctions and needed repairs would be detected in a timely manner. Many potential problems would be averted completely, as UPS maintenance is highly preventative. The incidence of downtime would be markedly diminished and efficiency would remain at peak levels.

The mere existence of an uninterruptible power supply does not ensure protection from power surges or failures. If you want to be able to rely on your UPS, you must be sure to provide it with routine oversight and care. Regular testing of the UPS will protect data center and institutional equipment from power fluctuations and distortions, and ensure it is operating a peak potential. In so doing, critical systems will be protected and be enabled to operate reliably as well.

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Uninterruptible Power Supply Importance

Having An Uninterruptible Power Supply Is Important To A Data Center

data center equipmentIt is when a power source fails that can result in loss of data, loss of applications, and other impacts including angry end users.  Having an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is essential as a buffer between the usual power source and the equipment in a data center.  If the usual power source fails is when the UPS will kick in to protect against loss of information.  The most common reason for the UPS to be needed is due to a power outage.

Whether you are in charge of an existing data center or in charge of setting up a new data center you need to understand the types of equipment that are going to be used in the data center as well as the equipment being used by end users.  It is this information that will determine what type of uninterruptible power supply your data center will need.  Understanding what the system requirements are will have an impact on how the electrical systems are planned.  Systems designers will need a detailed plan including all requirements outside of the data center.  All of this accumulated information will have a bearing on picking the best uninterruptible power supply for your business’s situation.

There are many things that can go wrong in a data center; losing power has to be one of the most frightening because of the repercussions of what would happen if everything went down.  Having an adequate uninterruptible power supply is essential in protecting electric equipment from a sudden and unexpected loss of power.  There are cases when having a UPS in combination with a generator makes the most sense to ensure that if there is an extended power outage your data center would be covered.  In some cases it is not just data that could be lost if there were a power outage.  There is some equipment that could be damaged if there was a loss of power.

Most computer servers are left up and running twenty-four hours a day so that end users can access the information they need.  As more employees are becoming mobile and taking their work with them it is essential they have access to the server(s) at all times.  This may be especially true if there is any international travel involved.

In addition to interruption protection an uninterruptible power supply may include features that protect against power surges or sustained spikes in voltage or brown-outs.  If you are in a smaller data center your UPS would switch to battery power.  If you are working in a larger data center your UPS may include transformers that are able to step up or step down the voltage as necessary.  If you have a high-end unit it may be able to function as a power conditioner that protects against variation in power that could be harmful if your business is using any kind of sensitive equipment.

Which type of UPS is going to be best for your data center is going to depend greatly on the type of business your data center is serving.  You may find you will need different UPSs for different departments within your company.  Having the right UPSs is something that needs to be well thought out.

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Importance Of UPS Maintenance Plans

UPS Battery Maintenance

UPS MaintenanceThe fact is that the battery is the most vulnerable part of a UPS.  It is battery failure that is the leading cause of downtime and the reason to have a UPS maintenance plan in place.  Having an understanding of how to adequately maintain and manage your UPS batteries will extend your battery life and go a long way in avoiding costly downtime.

The most common battery that is in use is the maintenance free battery.  These batteries are usually sealed in polypropylene plastic which does not contain any sloshing liquid that might leak or drip.  Recombination of water is essential to their maintenance.  Anything that adds to the rate of evaporation reduces the battery life; another reason that UPS maintenance is so important.

The end of the life for a battery is when it can no longer supply eighty percent of its ampere-hours in its rating capacity.  After it hits the eighty percent mark the aging process seems to accelerate and it should be replaced.

There is some difference between large and small UPS.  In most cases a small UPS will only have one battery where a larger UPS could have a multiple string of batteries.  In either case it is important that there is UPS maintenance in place.  Obviously the larger UPS will be more complicated to maintain.  It must be monitored closely so that one bad battery does not take down the whole system.  As systems get larger it is common for wet-cell batteries to be used.

If you have batteries that sit unused and you have not included a charging regiment in your UPS maintenance plan their life will decrease.  The lead-acid types of batteries have a self-discharge characteristic and it is recommended that they be charged every three months of storage.  Without this regular charging you can expect that permanent damage will occur within eighteen to thirty months.  To further prolong their shelf life they should also be stored at temperatures fifty degrees F or less.

The most typical reasons that batteries fail are because of high or fluctuating temperatures.  If there is a float charge voltage that is inaccurate could cause a failure.  Having inter-cell links that are loose or connections that are loose could cause a failure.  If because of drying out or a damaged case there is a loss of electrolyte this could cause a failure.  General lack of UPS maintenance, UPS repair or aging can cause failures.  All of these are reasons there needs to be a maintenance program in place.

If you are looking to purchase a service plan you want to make sure you understand exactly what it is covering.  Support agreements for large UPS models are likely to only cover internal electronics with the option of purchasing battery coverage.   A strong plan will have comprehensive service coverage for your UPS basic electrical components, excluding the batteries.  You can then purchase battery parts and labor coverage.  The general held belief is that batteries should be replaced a minimum of every five years with a higher replacement time if they are frequently discharged or they are used in a warm environment.  You may want to consider remote monitoring so that significant changes are caught quickly.

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