April 9, 2010 | bfeldman | Data Centers, Sustainability

Data Center Planning Contd. – Thinking in 3 Dimensions

Most people tend to think in two dimensions. They look at an organizational diagram or floorplan and study the relationships between the parts, similar to looking at pieces on a chessboard. But good planning needs to take into account what’s above and below a space, and the volumetric qualities of an environment.

If looking at a renovation project, are there spaces above or below the data center that will need access through the ceiling or floor? Are there ways to route piping or ductwork that can benefit from improved placement above? Will acoustics from the data center impact people above? Is there enough volume in the data center to accommodate electrical and cooling needs?

Thinking in 3DThinking in three dimensions is just as important in a renovation project as a greenfield site. In addition to planning issues noted above, there may be operational/constructability issues that impact design decisions. What is the planned route to bring equipment into the space?  Will floor loading require modifications to the building’s structural system above or below your project? Will growth of either the Data Center or an unrelated department affect future capabilities of the facility?
Insist on understanding the three dimensional characteristics of a project from the beginning. Ask the question – what’s above and below and how might those relationships impact functions?

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