Chuck Goolsbee has prompted an active conversation over at the ServerSpecs blog at TechTarget with his post about the merits and drawbacks of a raised floor data center environment. Chuck prefers placing the equipment directly on the floor, and outline some rationales for this approach. One of them is the additional floor loading capacity for heavy equipment:
In today's high-density reality, 1500lbs is a lightweight installation. The average installation we are seeing in our facilities today is 1800 lbs. We have several cabinets that exceed 3000lbs! I don't see this trend changing any time soon. When people have 42RU to use, or to put it more bluntly, 42RU that they are paying for, they are going to stuff it with as much as they can. This is where a solid floor really shines above raised. Got a big, heavy load? Roll it on in and set it down wherever you please. No ramps to negotiate, no risk of tiles collapsing and your (very expensive) equipment falling down into a hole.
Several commenters noted that overhead cabling and cooling also can eliminate the need for an emergency power off (EPO) button. Raised floor remains alive and well, but the article and comments cover many of the points in the data center design debate.