Ask the Experts is the place to get your technical and implementation questions answered by some of the leading authorities in the data center field. Our experts have been chosen by our editorial team for their knowledge of specific technology areas. Questions are answered on a continual basis, so visit frequently to check for the latest advice by the savviest team of data center pros on the Web!
We've collected our most popular questions to date and put them in one easy page for you.
Fire protection expert Lance Harry
Q: What are the recommended standards for fire protection of data tapes that need to be stored and readily available for the IT team?
A: Storage and content are one of the most challenging elements of high value asset fire protection. The reason is, it's subjective. While NFPA 75, Standard for the Protection of Electronic Computer / Data Processing Equipment, does contain some guidance, it is vague and does not specifiy a particular strategy. See complete answer
Q: We're currently using Halon in our data center. I know that it has been discontinued and/or outlawed in some states (maybe all.) When is it time to give up my old Halon system-now outlawed by the Montreal Protocol and move to FM2000?
A: Firstly, you are right to consider your current Halon situation. The current status of Halon in the US is as follows: Existing systems are legal. The recharge of existing systems is legal, although somewhat troublesome due to the fact that most system manufacturers (Kidde, Ansul, Fenwal, and so on) have discontinued the support of these systems... See complete answer
Cooling expert Steve Madara
Q: We're evaluating different approaches to cooling. What should we consider when assessing total costs?
A: Data center design is complicated by rapid changes in technology and uncertainty about future capacity requirements. Your question implies you are already thinking beyond initial system costs, and considering total cost of ownership, which is wise.
Energy costs and serviceability should be evaluated closely as they can have a significant impact on operating costs for years to come. Any data center cooling system being designed or modified today should balance underfloor cooling with supplemental cooling to optimize efficiency, reliability and flexibility. For example, a cooling system that balances the use of supplemental cooling units with underfloor cooling can achieve a 17 percent reduction in energy costs compared to using underfloor cooling alone.
But expansion costs are potentially even more significant. Equipment densities are continuing to rise and it is important to have a roadmap for dealing with higher densities to ensure you aren't limited in your ability to adopt new technology and make the most effective use of your data center space. See complete answer
Physical environment, heating and cooling expert Robert McFarlane
Q: How do I report the cooling consumption of a data center on a daily, weekly and monthly basis?
A: You can't realistically measure and quantify cooling consumption. There are two things you can do, however, to achieve your goal. See complete answer
Q: What are some of the options for blocking the holes cut in tiles for cables? I have seen some very expensive options, but I'm looking for some more reasonably priced options. We are experiencing hot spots in out Data Center, and we are sure one of the culprits is the cutouts in the tiles underneath the racks.
A:Your "hot spot" problem may be due to several things, but getting the maximum amount of cool air to the locations that most need it will certainly be part of the solution. Few Data Centers today have enough cooling capacity to begin with, and an amazing amount gets wasted through unblocked holes in the raised floor. This kind of air leakage contributes nothing to the cooling of the equipment, while it also reduces the static pressure of the air under the floor, which means less air gets pushed through the perforated tiles... See complete answer
Networking expert Carrie Higbie
Q: How do you recommend separating cables once you reach the server cabinet? The vendors don't seem to be designing for this separation.
A: In a cabinet scenario, you should run your power to one side and your data cabling to another. Another scenario is to run your power in the back and data cabling in the front. Most cabinet manufacturers supply channels for the cabling, others supply just openings, but the main point is to provide as much separation as possible. See complete answer
Q: We're moving our data center to an older building in an urban area that is currently being renovated. I was wondering if you could provide me with some sort of check list of things to be aware of as we plan this move out?
A: 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. See complete answer
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