Data centres have long been an integral part of businesses but modern ones are a far cry from the data centres of old. If you’re looking into building a data centre for your company, there are a number of different practical elements of the build that you’ll need to take into consideration.   



Location
When building a company data centre, you can either build a brand new building to house it or retrofit one into an existing building – which one you choose will depend entirely on your budget as both options come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Whichever option is the most suitable choice for your company, there a number of specifications that your data centre location will have to meet.
 
If you are retrofitting your data centre, you’ll need to find out the structural strength and load-bearing capacity of the floor where the data centre will be installed. Older buildings usually have a load-bearing capacity of 200kg/m2 while a full server rack can often hold up to four times as much weight, so it’s important to check the structural location of your desired location before beginning the build of your data centre.
 
Power 
An uninterruptible power supply or uninterruptible power source (UPS) is vital for a data centre, and one of the many reasons why companies build them in the first place. UPS works as a power backup, keeping your servers running even in the event of a power cut. This minimises any downtime your business experiences as even a few minutes of downtime could take your servers hours to recover from.
 
Although there are a number of different types of UPS to choose from, the most economical option is an offline UPS. The way an offline UPS works is that the battery charges while the data centre’s main power source is online, switching on to automatically supply it when the main power supply fails – such as in the event of a power failure. 

Cooling
Servers have very specific operating temperatures, which is why a proper cooling system is crucial for any data centre. Keeping the servers cool is no small task and cooling systems often account for the biggest use of electrical power – another reason why a UPS is crucial.
 
A popular cooling option is to use spot cooling to prevent your servers from overheating. For this method of cooling, piping is set up near the racks with a refrigerant fluid flowing through it, and then a fan is used to ensure that the cool air reaches hot spots.  

Fire Protection
Adequate fire protection is another aspect you’ll have to keep in mind when building a company data centre. Even if your data centre will be of a moderate size, it’s important that you have a fire alarm and fire extinguishers suitable for electrical appliances as the bare minimum. As the size of your data centre becomes bigger, you’ll want to consider installing automatic heat and fire detection systems.
 
Budget allowing, your data centre should use a variety of detector types to ensure that smoke is detected accurately and early on. This can include the use of a combination of different systems, such as point detectors, optical and heat detectors, and early warning aspirating smoke detection systems.

This article was supplied by Sudlows - The UK’s leading experts in the design, build and maintenance of energy efficient data centres.