February 24, 2010 | bfeldman | Data Centers

Data Center Design contd.

Our next Fox rule for Data Center Design is to provide for a separation between IT personnel and Facilities staff.  Perhaps no other issue can affect productivity as much.  We are not saying that IT and Facilities don’t need to work together – they obviously do.  But, consider that each group has distinct needs which don’t necessarily work well together. Changing filters in equipment and changing out servers are both critical functions in your data center – but it won’t be the same person doing both these jobs. Keeping some distance between differing tasks helps mitigate problems.

Consider that many problems in the data center are caused by human error. Someone drops a tool, or mistakes A side power for B side. Some problems are to be expected, and hopefully there are plans in place to deal with them, but some problems can be avoided with proper planning. One way to avoid this is by proper separation of functions.

It is best to avoid having facilities workers on the data floor replacing filters and not desirable to have the IT manager responsible for keeping your chiller up and running. Fox believes that this one issue is perhaps the most important planning objective for any data center. Looking closely at your planning concepts and running through all the possible use scenarios is the only way to achieve these goals.

Diagram showing separation of IT and mechanical equipment by floor level
Diagram showing separation of IT and mechanical equipment by floor level

Consider the diagram above. Simple separation of mechanical equipment from server cabinets by locating them on different floors may be one way to avoid problems when servicing the equipment. These planning concepts can’t mitigate all potential problems, but they can go a long way toward avoidance of potentially costly mistakes – many times for no additional cost to the project.

Next up: the Power of Alternatives

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