Mark Dryer has been the founding president of MDL Technology since 2003. Dryer has been an IT professional for 13 years and has a number of certifications including a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, MCSE, CNE, CNA, MCP, MCDBA, MS Dynamics Installation Specialist, VSP, VTSP and is currently working toward his VCP.
MDL Technology, LLC is a Kansas City IT company that specializes in worry-free computer support by providing solutions for around-the-clock network monitoring, hosting, data recovery, off site backup security and much more. MDL Technology, LLC is dedicated to helping businesses place time back on their side with quick and easy IT solutions.
Recently, I had a chance to interview Mark about his thoughts on planning a server room. Here’s what he had to say:
What are some of the most important things that a company should think about when designing and building a new server room?
One important factor to evaluate when designing and building a server room is the location.
If possible, build the datacenter in a location that is on two different power grids. This way, if one power grid goes out, the datacenter is not completely in jeopardy. This is a simple idea that can save a datacenter from many potential setbacks.
What should a company take into account when planning for future growth?
Some of the most important areas to consider when planning for future growth are space, power, cooling and bandwidth requirements.
How will they benefit from space, cooling, power and bandwidth requirements planning?
- Space – Plan for a space that can be easily secured and monitored. Make sure that the space will allow for future growth as a company. This should include room for cable management ladders, equipment and future rack space. Many people buy or build a new building, and the last thing on their mind is where the IT guys will put their equipment. Planning out space in a datacenter environment will save time and money in the long run. It will prevent a company from remodeling the space later and other departments from losing space out of the offices to the datacenter.
- Power – Make sure that the datacenter has enough power to double or triple over the next few years. When building a data center try to have more outlets in the server. Take into consideration the capacity of the service to the building, backup generators and Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS’s).
- Cooling – Plan for the future with a scalable cooling system. A cooling system should be easily accessed in order to add more capacity and redundancy if required. Plan for ways to make the cooling more efficient, this will save money.
- Bandwidth – Bandwidth can be expensive and a point of failure for a datacenter. Make sure that there are multiple Internet service provider (ISP) options available. Usually, the more providers available, the less the service will cost. A company can provide redundancy if there are multiple providers at a datacenter location.
What should a company take into account when planning their future needs for:
- Space - Try to find an area that will be free of dust, debris and foot traffic.
- Power – Power requires a building service capacity, UPS capacity and generator capacity.
- Cooling - Plan for the future with a scalable cooling system.
- Security – Make sure that the datacenter is in an area with low foot traffic. This will allow a company to control who and when people access it. This becomes increasingly important as companies grow.
- Disaster Protection – Make sure to have good offsite backups and a disaster recovery site that can be moved if needed.
- Networking/Bandwidth- Make sure to have multiple ISP options available to you. This will save money and increase redundancy.
- Maintenance –Build more than what will simply get the company by; build the datacenter to take the company well into the future.
It’s hard to believe that just 5 or 6 years ago, nobody had even heard of YouTube or Facebook. Given how fast technology changes, how can companies prepare future unforeseen technology trends when designing their datacenters?
If technology is important to you and remains a priority, it is easier to plan for the possibilities.
- Cable management is a simple thing and when done right, can make a big difference in a datacenter. If cables are well organized, then they will not have to be re-routed. This will save time when trying to grow a datacenter.
- Label everything. This is a simple way to keep organized in a datacenter. This is especially handy in a disaster or during downtime. It allows anyone to go straight to the cable, or piece of equipment, even if they are not familiar with the datacenter.
- Take the time to document the datacenter. Create a diagram of each piece of equipment; where each piece is located; and where all of the pieces or wires connect.
- Don’t unpack boxes in your datacenter. This will eliminate dust and prevent fire.
What are some tips that you can give which will help organizations conserve space in their server room?
Virtualization of physical servers allows a company to consolidate many physical servers onto a single physical piece of hardware. This allows a company to maximize ROI on physical hardware while reducing space requirements, power consumption, cooling requirements and lowering future hardware costs.