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Choosing an Optimal Location for Your Data Center

Chapter Description

When a company buys new land, it is important to consider the property's suitability to house a server environment. Failing to do so often means having to spend more on Data Center infrastructure, either to add what's missing or to overcome shortcomings on the site. The most desirable type of location is one that supports the Data Center's mission to safeguard server equipment and accommodate growth and change. This chapter will help you assess your server site for suitability.

Prioritizing Needs for the Data Center Site

As you review potential Data Center sites, you'll find that there are no perfect properties, that is, parcels with zero risk factors, all of the physical features you want, and the specific types and amounts of infrastructure you are looking for. Many properties are completely inappropriate for housing a Data Center, while even the most suitable are a mixed bag. Perhaps a site is in a seismically stable area and well away from sources of pollution, electromagnetic interference, and vibration, but is vulnerable to hurricanes or tornadoes. Maybe a property has an existing building that's easily accessible and possesses adequate electrical capacity and incoming data connectivity, but has no loading dock. Whatever the details, all parcels have their unique features and conditions, advantages and drawbacks.

Prioritize what characteristics are most important based upon the specific needs of your company. If you know your business uses large, floor-standing servers, for example, then a building with ample clearances and a loading dock is essential. If your business strictly employs high-density, low-profile servers, then those characteristics are less valuable than a building with abundant cooling capacity and available electrical circuits. Both scenarios, however, require a structure with high weight tolerances.

During the process of selecting a site, you have to answer the Data Center design version of "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" In this case, the question involves a property's risk factors versus your Data Center's infrastructure. Do you opt to add extra layers of infrastructure because the Data Center must be built in a more hazardous area, or do you agree to build in a more hazardous area because the room is equipped with additional infrastructure? You might be less concerned with locating your server environment in a region with less reliable commercial power if you already plan to build a Data Center with 3N standby power, for example.