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Overview: Data center site selection and design

Data center facility planning and design is one of the most complex and important undertakings for any company. Find out what you need to know about site selection and data center design and infrastructure.

Data center design is one of the most complex and important undertakings for any company. It first involves finding the right property to build on; then managing architects, builders and IT staff. Data center pros are expected to have expertise in computing, networking, electrical and mechanical engineering, thermodynamics and disaster mitigation -- the list could go on.

Ten years ago, the process was about finding a room with enough power and air conditioning -- and that was it. But today, data center pros need to consider criteria they have never had to consider before.

Thanks to the skyrocketing price of power, site selection is playing an important role in data centers design. Companies are outgrowing their facilities faster than they can build them. The build out of the 1990s is coming to the end of the 10- to 15-year facility turnover cycle. Companies are looking to consolidate multiple outlying, outdated facilities. The price of power matters more and the geography matters less.

In addition to cost, data center security comes into play with site selection. Are you looking for an urban facility, near your headquarters and employees -- or are you looking for suburban real estate prices and security? Do you want to build new or renovate an existing facility? Have you considered a truck dock for equipment delivery and adequate parking? Where will your facility be located in relation the floodplain, tornado or hurricane paths, fault lines or airports?

But site selection is only the first piece of the puzzle. Building out a data center environment can include updating wiring, power conditioning, cooling and physical structures like raised floors.

Data center design standards are constantly being updated by organizations like the Telecommunications Industry Association, American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and Underwriters Laboratories Inc.

Luckily, is here to help you get a handle on data center design considerations. We'll keep you up to date on standards like TIA-942, cooling standards from ASHRAE and the tier system from the Uptime Institute Inc.

Exploding IT requirements have data center managers scrambling for space and planning construction around technologies that don't even exist yet. Get smart and find the resources you need for data center design.

Be sure to take a look at the rest of the chapter on site selection and design.

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