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Enterprise Data Center Design and Methodology

Enterprise Data Center Design and Methodology

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Published by Rich Hintz
practical guide to designing a data center from inception through construction. The fundamental design principles take a simple, flexible, and modular approach based on accurate, real-world requirements and capacities. This approach contradicts the conventional (but totally inadequate) method of using square footage to determine basic capacities like power and cooling requirements.
practical guide to designing a data center from inception through construction. The fundamental design principles take a simple, flexible, and modular approach based on accurate, real-world requirements and capacities. This approach contradicts the conventional (but totally inadequate) method of using square footage to determine basic capacities like power and cooling requirements.

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Published by: Rich Hintz on Mar 12, 2009
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06/07/2013

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The build budget is the money allocated to build and bring up the data center. The
previous three sections describe what is covered by the build budget (or budgets, if
separate). But you must also consider the run budget which is the amount of money
allocated for yearly operating costs, maintenance, repair, ISP network connectivity,
service and support agreements on computers, storage and network equipment, and
the cost of electricity. These should be considered as part of the run budget.

Criteria

The most important criteria for a data center can be put into the following
categories:

s Location (or site)

s Essential criteria

s Secondary criteria

Location

It would seem that the site you choose for your data center would be considered one
of the essential criteria. It’s true that where you choose to locate the data center site
(region/ building) is important, but this choice is based on many different factors.
For example, a company wants to build a new data center near their corporate
offices in Cleveland, Ohio. To meet project scope on the essential criteria, it is
determined that several million dollars more are needed, just to secure the site
location. Suddenly, building in Cleveland doesn’t seem as critical if a few million
dollars can be saved by locating the building one hundred and sixty miles away in
Milford Center where land prices are much cheaper.

Also, connectivity through the company’s network infrastructure has made it
possible for a data center to be located wherever it is practical and affordable. A data
center can even use multiple locations, if necessary, connecting through the network.
In this way, location is a very flexible and negotiable criteria.

Essential Criteria

There is a hierarchy of essential criteria. All data centers must have the following
four elements in whatever capacities are needed or available. Though they are listed
in order of importance, a data center cannot run without all of them working
interdependently. It is only their values that are negotiable.

Chapter 2

Data Center Design Criteria 11

s Physical capacity. You must have space and weight capacity for equipment, and

therefore, the other three criteria. There must be space for the equipment and the
floor must be able to support the weight. This is a constant.

s Power. Without power nothing can run. Power is either on or off. Connections to

different parts of the grid and/ or utilizing a UPS increases uptime. You must
have physical capacity to have room for power and the equipment that needs
power.

s Cooling. Without cooling nothing will run for long. This is either on or off,

though redundancy increases uptime. You must have physical capacity and
power to run HVACs.

s Bandwidth. Without connectivity, the data center is of little value. The type and

amount of bandwidth is device dependent. You must have physical capacity,
power, and cooling to even consider connectivity.

Unless the data center will be used for non-mission-critical operations, the last three
criteria should be designed to be up and running 100 percent of the time.

The use of these elements is non-negotiable, but their values are negotiable.
Consider a decision about power redundancy. A UPS system (batteries that kick in
when the power goes out) is less expensive than creating a power generation plant,
but it has a limited run time. For a mission-critical operation, the 20 minutes of
power a UPS might give you could be insufficient.

Let’s say the UPS costs $1 million, and the power generation plant costs $3.5 million.
The track record of the power company shows that they’re down an average of
15-minutes once a year. For your company, a 15-minute power outage equals two
hours for the outage and recovery time. Two hours of downtime costs the company
$500,000. With a UPS system, there would be no outage because the 20 minutes
afforded by the batteries would easily cover for the 15 minute outage and there
would be no recovery time needed. Therefore, it would take two years to recover the
$1 million dollar cost of the UPS, whereas it would take seven years to recover the
cost of the power generation plant. If the power company has a greater problem
with power outages, the generators make sense. Or relocating to an area with more
dependable power might make more sense.

Secondary Criteria

The essential criteria must be included in the design in whatever values are
available. However, there are invariably other criteria that must be considered, but
they are secondary. The level of importance of secondary criteria is wholly
dependent on the company and project scope. It’s conceivable that the budget could
be trimmed, for example, in fixtures, but it’s likely that you’ll want to budget in
overhead lighting so data center personnel won’t have to work with flashlights held
between their teeth. Still, you can see that some criteria is very flexible.

12

Enterprise Data Center Design and Methodology

Examples of secondary criteria are:

s Fixtures such as plumbing and lighting

s Walls, doors, windows, offices, loading dock

s All of the miscellaneous hardware, security cameras, card readers, door knobs,

equipment cabinets, etc.

s Equipment such as forklifts and pallet jacks

s A Command Center

These will vary depending on whether you’re building a new structure or
retrofitting an old one, but what is key is the negotiating value of these elements.

The equation for the total budget is:

essentialcriteria+secondarycriteria+location=budget

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