Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Data Center Construction Made Easier

Based on first-hand experience, I can tell you that there’s plenty of stress involved and detail required in even a minor data center construction project. Compound this with a 24x7 availability requirement, and the quantity and complexity of systems required in today’s mission critical facilities and what you have is today’s typical data center construction project.

Data center construction project managers often find themselves hard pressed to minimize the interruption to day-to-day operations, while still keeping costs in check. Many firms today simply don’t have the manpower, or the expertise to be able to effectively administer a construction project – especially a construction project as complex and crucial as a data center. If this sounds like your present situation, or perhaps is just one that you’d like to avoid, you may want to consider hiring a construction consultant to assist in the development of your facility.

A data center construction consultant can guide you every step of the way, from the first realization that some scope of change is required, to the final systems commissioning and use training. Here are some of the common areas that consultants typically handle:
- Assessment and Planning
- Design and Specification
- Architecture/Engineering
- General Contracting Support
- Construction Management
- Equipment Sourcing and Scheduling
- Construction/Installation/Integration
- Commissioning
- Operations & Maintenance
- Monitoring

Hiring a Consultant

When hiring a consultant to help with such an important project, you’ll want to take as much care in selecting that person or firm as you would one of your permanent employees. Make sure the consultant is responsive to your business needs and is able to communicate effectively with your existing staff. Additional factors to consider include:

- Has the consultant worked on similar projects in the past? You want to find someone who has experience working with budgets and timelines that are similar to your own.

- How much attention will your project receive? It’s usually a good sign when a consultant is in demand – you want to hire someone that has long-term, repeat clients. However, if the consultant doesn’t make your project a priority or has a hard time returning your calls, you’re in for trouble.

- Will the consultant sign a confidentiality agreement? By signing a confidentiality agreement, you and the other employees at your company can feel more comfortable working with your consultant, thus improving project communications and creating a more pleasant (and productive) work environment.

With the support of an individual consultant or a team of experts, you can achieve the up-to-date, state-of-the-art data center you need, providing you with the integrated, and completely manageable facility that makes your job easier, and your company more profitable.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Eco-Friendly Solutions: Build a Green Data Center

Recycled goods, alternative power sources and energy-saving technology are becoming commonplace in many homes and businesses. It’s a sign of the times as energy costs continue to climb and public concern over environmental issues grows. Data centers are not immune to this eco-friendly trend and, in fact, are reaping great benefits from going green.

For companies looking to build a data center, the traditional strategy focused on achieving maximum up-time. Little regard was paid to conserving energy or creating an environmentally conscious design. Only in the past decade have data center builders begun to realize that the higher upfront costs of creating a green facility are offset by the lower long-term operations and maintenance costs.

If you build a data center with the environment in mind, you’re likely to find that the benefits go far beyond just helping our planet. Not only will you use less energy and save more money, many states offer tax incentives to companies that build a green data center. Green data centers also provide a healthier work environment for employees and help build positive relations with the surrounding community.

Going green is a great way to help your company financially while helping the world ecologically. Here are some strategies that you can use to build a data center that’s eco-friendly:
- Use scalable or modular systems so you use only the needed energy capacity,
- Put catalytic converters on your backup power generators,
- Install a synthetic white rubber roof to dissipate external heat,
- Coordinate your mechanical and electrical systems so they run at optimal efficiency,
- Build your data center using recycled or low-emission materials,
- Establish a waste recycling program in your data center and recycle your obsolete machines,
- Cut down on power expenses by incorporating more natural light into your building design, and
- Run your facility using solar or wind power.

By making it your goal to reduce heat, improve efficiency and minimize the use of toxic materials, you can redesign an existing facility or build a new data center with a reduced environmental impact. What could be better than helping the Earth stay green while putting some additional green in your wallet?