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Step 1: Determine size requirements

Here's Step 1 of the eight key steps you need to consider when building a data center or server room.

Your first priority in scouting a location for a data center within an existing building is to determine your size requirements based on your existing needs and well as three to five years into the future.

The room must accommodate all of your equipment with plenty of room for growth. You must allow enough space for cabling and access to the side and back of server racks and other equipment, and you must have enough height to accommodate a raised floor as well as the extra air-conditioning and ventilation ducts. Packing your server racks too close together will not only make it difficult to work in the server room, it will restrict air flow as well.

How do you go about figuring this out? One tool I recommend you use is Microsoft Visio, which will draw a rough server room layout according to your specifications. Your layout, based on current and future needs, is crucial because you'll need it to intelligently plan power and environmental requirements. The layout also needs to be flexible because you may need to change the placement of server racks and equipment to meet unforeseen circumstances and technical issues.

* You can obtain a 60-day trial version of Microsoft Visio: click here
* Visio Standard 2003 retails for $199; Visio Professional is $499: click here


   Home: Introduction
   Step 1: Determine size requirements
   Step 2: Reserve a location
   Step 3: Power Requirements
   Step 4: Environmental concerns
   Step 5: Rack solutions and cable management
   Step 6: Flooring: choice of materials matter
   Step 7: Security
   Step 8: Finalize the layout

Bernie Klinder, MVP, consultant
Bernie Klinder is a technology consultant for a number of Fortune 500 companies. He is also the founder and former editor of, a comprehensive resource index for IT professionals who support Microsoft Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 and BackOffice products. For his contributions to the information technology community, Bernie was selected as an MVP (Most Valuable Professional) by Microsoft. Copyright 2004 TechTarget

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