The most important thing for you to be aware of is that, according to TIA-942, cabling must be run to accommodate growth so that you don't have to revisit your horizontal. This means that you have to cable for today's needs as well as what you anticipate needing in the future. Plan to cable for application speeds that you will use within the next 10 years; for example, a 10 Gigabit system will certainly come into play in that period of time.
You also want to be sure that you are compliant with local codes and have all abandoned cable removed prior to starting. Abandoned cable is any cable that is not terminated at both ends or not marked for future use. It is in your best interest to have all of this out of your way before you start adding your own cable. Excess abandoned cable will restrict air flow, and it can cause additional fuel loads if there ever is a fire.
Check with your carriers to determine if the conduits running to the building will accommodate whatever circuits you will need. This can be a VERY expensive gotcha if you don't check and have to pay for directional core bores or drilling under existing roadways.
Check for local ordinances and codes for fire suppression and cable coating requirements (for example, does the cable have to be limited combustible, and should it be run in a conduit).
Heating and cooling will be particularly important. If you will be incorporating blade servers into your data center, the HVAC requirements will increase.
You should check with the power companies for redundancy options. This could be a problem if you are not able to get redundant circuits as it may change your generator capabilities.
Make sure that fire hydrants are close and that the fire department does not have to cross railroad tracks to get to you as it will affect your insurance rates.
Look for physical barrier security. For instance, will you need to add barriers to keep people from accidentally driving through the building.
What are your security options?
Beware of floor loading as well. Some high rise buildings can not support data center equipment without very expensive structural fortifications and modifications. Also check for seismic requirements.
Siemons has a comprehensive Data Center checklist that covers all systems within the data center. It is a great tool for planning moves and even day 2 operations. We also have a fill-in-the-blank business continuity guide to assist you. All cover far more than can be covered in a short answer.
This was first published in March 2005