Time to Rethink Data Center Design Conventions?

Business-as-usual does nothing to change fundamental economics of operating data centers

Michael Vizard

July 10, 2015

2 Min Read
Time to Rethink Data Center Design Conventions?
The Atrium of Infomart in Dallas, one of the most important network interconnection points in the southern U.S.

Most data center operators are stuck between a rock and hard place. They need to reduce costs in a way that doesn’t in any way compromise application availability.

John Sheputis, president of Infomart Data Centers, thinks they can have an easier time doing this balancing act if they embrace less-conventional approaches to data center design and data center management. Sheputis is speaking on the subject at the Data Center World conference in National Harbor, Maryland, this September.

Of course, IT professionals in general and data center operators in particular are notoriously conservative when it comes to anything that might put application uptime at risk. After all, they generally get blamed for anything that goes wrong, so it’s often in their perceived best interest to play it safe.

The trouble is that there’s always a competitor somewhere willing to go that extra innovative mile that winds up generating enough savings to give their organization a competitive edge simply because they were willing and able to actually do something different.

One example of outdated data center design is raised floor. Sheputis thinks the days of having to build raised floors inside the data center are long over.

Not only is the IT equipment inside the data center getting too heavy for raised floors, cold air does not rise. That means a lot of time, money, and effort is being wasted on cooling space below a raised floor for no apparent economic benefit, he said.

Similarly, the time has come to rethink the connectors used to distribute power across the data center and maintenance cycles that often assume equipment needs to be replaced prematurely. “They can also run electricity at a higher wattage to increase power consumption efficiency,” he added.

“Data center operators need to make more use of predictive analytics. Decisions need to be made on hard facts.”

Because the data center is now the economic engine of the digital enterprise, data centers need to be tuned like any other engine, Sheputis said. That means finding innovative approaches to reducing costs without compromising the integrity of the application environment.

The challenge, according to him, is that data center operators have fallen into something of a rut. Rather than explore new alternatives, there is a tendency to do things the way they have always been done.

That approach, however, never changes the fundamental economics of building and managing a data center.

For more information, sign up for Data Center World National Harbor, which will convene in National Harbor, Maryland, on September 20-23, 2015, and attend John's session titled “Challenging Industry Conventions to Simplify Design”

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