When people think of data centers, they think of computers, racks, hardware, IT managers and computer technicians. Rarely does one think of an architect but architects are an important part of a successful data center. Architects use their building and drafting knowledge to design data centers that are functional and efficient. There are many elements to consider when tackling a data center from an architectural and design point of view. In most cases, data center managers and operators are not overly concerned with the aesthetics of the data center design. Functionality is the primary concern for architects designing data centers. Certain elements must be considered in the data center design to ensure that it will be functional including space, power, cooling, physical security and energy efficiency.
Data centers house the computer and IT infrastructure for businesses. One of the most important design elements of a data center design is space considerations. Data centers must be able to house a certain number of machines and equipment in order to operate at optimum levels. When contemplating space issues for data centers, the architects consider not only the layout of the data center but the layout of the equipment and racks within the data center. Once a data center has reached maximum capacity, most data center managers agree that it is better to build a new data center in an adjacent space, rather than add space to an existing data center.
Because data centers house any number of racks, computers, servers and other machinery, cooling and energy efficiency are important elements to the design of a data center. The best architects are those that keep up-to-date with the latest standards for the computer and IT industries to ensure the functionality and usefulness of their designs. With server virtualization, more highly-powered servers are placed in the same data center - it is crucial that proper cooling and energy efficiency elements are worked into the data center design and layout.
When employing an architect for data center design it is important to choose a designer that is experienced in the area. Data centers are unlike most other structures and have many considerations that are unique. An architect that has past experience designing and building data centers is familiar with the complexities and difficulties involved with data center design and will be able to answer your questions about what is feasible. An architect experienced in data center design is more likely to understand your needs better than an inexperienced designer. When meeting with an architect to go over data center design it is a good idea to ask as many questions are possible. Ask the architects to see past projects they’ve worked on and for client references. Making sure you pick the right architect for your data center design is crucial. The right architect will listen to what you want and need from your data center and then work with you to design a structure that meets, and hopefully surpasses those needs.