Data Center Facilities
Hello everyone! Today we will talk about Data Center facilities. We will give some guidelines about conditions and requirements that should be accomplished. More precisely, we will talk about site selection, utilities, building design, mechanical/electrical system, facility security/monitoring, construction monitoring and cleaning. Without further ado, let’s get started!
- Choose a safe area not subject to natural dangers such as flood planes or landslides, with a stable weather pattern.
- Make soil borings, which are vertical samples of the ground used to analyse the state of the land and its possible risks, so if found, another location can be chosen or pertinent countermeasures can be taken.
- The site should have an adequate drainage to resist heavy rains or snow melts. If the facility has sub-grade spaces, water tight designs should be carried on to assure that water is kept out.
- Keep in mind that the deeper underground the facility is, the higher the hydrostatic pressure, so chances of leaks increase.
- The placement should be in areas with low surface traffic (human or transport) such as high density highways or sport arenas, but at the same time with multiple access roads into the area. Also, it would be unwise to locate the Data Center in an unstable neighbourhood subject to gang activities or crime.
- Consider airborne problems too. Airplanes can crash and it is often during the take-off or the landing. And it is more common for planes to lose parts during the take-off that can produce a devastating effect when hitting a building, i.e. tires or engines.
- Always be aware of any upcoming events such area constructions that could penalise your operations. Equipment operators are notorious for cutting underground cables even when they are marked.
- The site should be surrounded by redundant power grids, which will reduce the risks of having to rely on backup generators. Look at the historical data of local power providers, their plants might not be equally created.
- Fiber access will be more dependable and cost effective if there are options from multiple providers. Internal facility routers should be able to manage traffic and automatically switch to the best path.
- Look for close municipal services such as police and fire. Response time in emergencies is critical.
- Consider the comfort level of the staff, i.e. good selection of nearby restaurants. The more comfortable they feel, the more efficiently they work.
- Building should be located at the Data Center of the site with clear and unobstructed views.
- The whole installation should be fenced. A perimeter fence can reduce the chance of vandalism.
- Use durable materials that can exceed normal loads. At a minimum, the facility must be capable of withstanding 320 kilometers per hour winds and driven rain or snow. Material such as masonry and concrete will afford the most protection to the building along with fire resistance. Roofs and materials should be carefully selected and designed to resist not only water but winds, ponding (the build up of water on flat roofs), snow loads and uplift (negative pressure exerted by a roof in high winds).
- Include only necessary windows in the structure. Make sure that to have 20 foot high ceiling for tolerance of over temperature conditions.
- If the facility’s roof is flat, make sure that it is adequately drained and includes relief for ponding if the drains become plugged. Provide overflow scuppers to prevent ponding that could collapse the roof or cause leaking. In all designs make sure that there are multiple drainage paths for all roof areas. Never have a design that traps water.
- Protect the equipment with power conditioning.
- The electrical power design must isolate endpoint distribution to address harmonic loads and surges caused by internal equipment also.
- Avoid ground loops (happens when grounds for building equipment and computers are tied together), isolate computers from heavy equipment. If not, it can damage Data Center sensitive gear.
- The dual feeds should pass through redundant automatic generator systems with individual capacity for entire facility, including building systems such as heating, cooling lights and security systems.
- The power should automatically switch over to generators during an outage. Critical systems would then be attached to dual Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) systems to ensure that they are unaffected during the generator start-up period.
- Provide an access floor to create an interstitial holding place for the cords and cables required by the systems. Access floors are constructed of 24 inch by 24 inch panels on a frame. The panels are interchangeable and allow wire and cable changes without disrupting Data Center operations. This space can also provide a method of distributing conditioned air to workstations above the floor through diffusers placed throughout the access floor.
- Provide dual cooling and heating systems utilizing down flow discharge modular cooling units for most effective systems. Design to maintain consistent temperature and humidity to counteract the hot dry air created by the equipment.
- All environmental controls should be monitored with logging, trend projection and alarm notification. Provide easy but secure access for maintenance. Consider the capability of replacing pieces of the equipment without affecting Data Center operations.
- Fire is also an unfortunate danger in a Data Center. It’s important to have a fire-suppression system that’s designed for computer rooms. Install a very early smoke detection apparatus (VESDA).
- The Data Center should be equipped with multiple security systems. All security systems should be monitored 24/7 and activities logged both onsite and at a remote location.
- Passage into and out of the facility should be controlled by card or biometric access systems.
- Motion sensors and CCTV systems monitoring both the interior and exterior of the building should be equipped to handle low light conditions.
- All alarms should specify the exact location of the fault so time is not wasted searching for the source of the problem.
- Only staff members should be allowed unescorted access in the facility. The staff should only have access to areas that are required by their particular duties. Make sure that all visitors appointments are verified before allowing escorted access only to necessary location.
- The security monitoring equipment and staff should be in a highly secure area separate from the main computer equipment. Make sure critical screens cannot be viewed by passers by or through windows.
- Monitoring and access control to the facility should start in the early stages of construction before foundations are even excavated.
- Make sure that all construction is monitored and that the site is completely secured at night.
- The Data Center must be kept free of dust and dirt. Incorporate the ease of cleaning into the facility design so all areas can be reached.
- Try to eliminate any airborne or tracked dirt by building systems such as filters and drained walk off mats at entrances. Use antistatic materials on surfaces wherever possible.
- Building ventilation system should be designed in such a way that filers can be easily reached and changed.
- Do not keep paper or other flammable material near equipment. Make sure that they are stored in a fire resistive construction.
That’s all for today! The final solution is coming soon, so please give us a like, share the post and stay tuned for more! See you next week!