Data centre best practices

Building a new data centre or refreshing an old one is a complex business and flexibility, availability, scalability and energy efficiency should be at the forefront of enterprises’ minds.

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Data centre best practices
By  Georgina Enzer Published  November 6, 2013

The data centre is the nerve centre of the enterprise network, and enterprises must have a very strong data centre backbone to be able to add on functionality and keep up with oncoming trends such as BYOD and big data.

Every company is also utilising applications such as voice, video, and other forms of emerging communications to communicate with employees and customers. Any data centre must be able to handle the addition of applications and programmes quickly, efficiently and without hassle for the IT team.

The importance of effective management of increasingly large amounts of data is prompting many companies to significantly upgrade their current operations, or to create brand new data centres from greenfield. The selection of architecture, capacity, media type and installed cost will all affect performance and reliability. At the same time, economic conditions are forcing companies to focus on efficiency and simplification. IT managers and facilities management are often challenged to fit more computing equipment into less space. The design strategy is to balance lower capital and operation cost with high availability and efficiency within the data centre.
The data centre of tomorrow must be flexible and agile to cope with the ever-evolving IT world, and must be energy efficient to reduce overall costs.

Future-proofing your data centre

From a design perspective the best means to future proof a data centre is to design it in a modular fashion.  Rather than build the ‘great white space’ that you might eventually need, and provision all the power, cooling and mechanical equipment you might need, build small modular rooms that have just enough capacity using current technology for some growth (perhaps 15%), but design each module so that the plant infrastructure (power, cooling, etc) can scale as well.

“If consistent technology refresh is used, companies may find that much of the future IT growth can be accommodated within that first small footprint since newer technologies continue to shrink in size and power consumption, while continuing to increase in performance and capacity,” explains David Cappuccio, managing vice president, chief of Research Infrastructures at research and advisory company Gartner.

“When that first footprint is nearing capacity, begin to fit out the second one. This process reduces capital costs up front, while insuring that just enough capacity remains available at all times.”

Another technique, according to IT storage hardware solutions expert EMC, is to deploy software defined data centre technologies (SDDC).

“The SDDC is about standardising the hardware in the data centre as much as possible on the compute layer, and on the processing component of every piece of equipment in the data centre,” states Zaher Haydar, senior regional manager, Systems Engineers, Turkey, Africa and Middle East, at EMC

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