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Successfully building and expanding your data center

Published: October 22nd, 2018 By: Glenn Weir

Schneider Electric

IT infrastructure planning today, in the age of disruption, is no easy task. The emergence of cloud and IoT has upped the complexity factor, making long-term planning a daunting challenge for many enterprises.

The challenge facing many data centres is space: they are already operating at or beyond maximum capacity and have little or no room to expand. In the age of cloud and IoT and AI, the gap between what businesses have and what they need to have is widening. Power, space, and cooling requirements are becoming more of an issue as organizations attempt to take full advantage of new tech. Says research director for IDC’s datacenter trends and strategies team Jennifer Cooke: “It’s like using the enclosure for a 1984 Macintosh [computer] with the current generation of iMac.”

And this problem won’t be going away. According to IDC, within the next couple of years, the demands of next-gen apps and new IT architectures will force the majority of enterprises to upgrade their existing facilities or deploy new facilities. This prediction makes perfect sense when you consider that the average data center is nine years old — two years beyond the point of obsolescence, according to Gartner.

The data center is a company’s beating heart. But that heart, not unlike the heart in your body, can become bogged down and blocked up. This presents a huge problem for any organization, whether new or established, that wants to lead the pack and become a better version of itself.

Avoiding this bog-down/block-up scenario requires care and intelligence. While speed to market will always be important — that will never change — companies must focus on making a proper assessment of their specific business needs, and approaching their data center planning appropriately based on what they need. Failure to do so may well hamstring a company, rendering it unable to deliver uptime performance or optimal customer experience or to meet future business needs.

The critical question, then, is: How does IT plan an effective and efficient data center deployment, upgrade, or new build-out? How does it avoid making mistakes when entering or moving into the build-and-expand world?

The answer can be found in the methodology used to design and build a data center. Many companies will base their plans on specific physical factors, including watts per square foot, and cost to build per square foot; such criteria might in fact be out of whack with an organization’s business goals and risk profile. Deficient planning can and more often than not does lead to poor use of capital and can jack up operational expenses.

A free Schneider Electric publication, “The Top 9 Mistakes in Data Center Planning,” provides you with critical business insights in the form of nine of the most common mistakes organizations make when it comes to their data centers. Among the topics discussed in this white paper:

  • Total cost of ownership approach — evaluating your risk profile against your business expense profile; creating a model that incorporates CapEx, OpEx, and energy costs
  • Determining your design criteria and performance characteristics — basing the criteria on your risk profile and business goals, and allowing the criteria to determine the design (including tier level, location, and space plan)
  • Designing with simplicity and flexibility — using a design that will meet your uptime requirements while keeping costs low during construction and throughout operation; being able to accommodate future expansion

Download “The Top 9 Mistakes of Data Center Planning”