When building out your data center white space, you only have one chance to get the physical layer right!

1) Don’t assume all racks and cabinets are the same.

I often hear that “any cabinet will do.” While I understand that thinking, it’s similar to saying that a sedan is the same as a truck or a minivan! Or, that a Prius is like a Tesla!

  1. Two different manufacturers’ 24″ wide cabinet might be the same outside footprint, however, their internal structures can be vastly different. These differences will affect cabinet power strip placement, clearance to rails, and cable management options.
  2. Your rack/cabinet choice will also affect your energy efficiency and containment strategy. With an open frame rack, you will not be able to contain the air as effectively. Some racks offer better containment options: baffles for side venting network equipment, grommets, seals, brushed side panels, etc. Proper containment = better PUE = less costs
  3. A 52U rack will provide 15% more capacity than a 45U rack and a 48U rack will provide 14% more than 42U rack. While you might not need the additional U space now, it’s worth considering for future growth and the unforeseen.

2) Using the same cabinet power strip used in the last build out.

Cabinet power strips have changed significantly the last 3 years. They are getting more intelligent, higher powered, more dense, and more custom. Now, you can get a single wide power strip with up to 51 receptacles!

Avoid Mistakes 51Receptacles

Additionally, with some foresight, you can minimize both one time and reoccurring costs while allowing for flexibility of equipment installed and growth requirements. Some questions to consider:

  1. If at a colo, how are you being billed?
  2. What is the density per rack now and in the future? 5Kw? 10Kw? 15Kw? 40Kw?
  3. What is the best way to achieve those densities? 3 phase 30Amp? 3 Phase 50Amp? 3 Phase 60Amp? 415V?3 phase 30Amp provides 1.732 more amperage than 208V 30Amp.
  4. How intelligent do you want your power strip to be? Monitoring infeed voltage? Monitoring each outlet’s power consumption? Ability to cycle each outlet? These features can provide valuable insight that can translate into energy savings and better capacity management.
  5. What type of outlets do you need? And, how many? C13, C19? Locking outlets? How do you want them spaced and where on the strip do you want them located? You can get very close to your ideal configuration!

3) Designing structured cabling for today’s requirements

By 2019, Infonetics predicts that over 50% of data center optical transceiver transmission will be 100G, eclipsing the growth of both 10G and 40G combined.

Are you ready for 100G? 40G? 25G? How can you be best prepared?

Avoid Mistakes 10G Chart

Are you using fiber breakout cable? Or, cassette solutions? Breakout cables can provide some costs savings but less flexibility for upgrades. Cassettes are more costly but have a much easier, almost seamless upgrade path, provided the trunk cables are specified correctly.

What are other mistakes to avoid when building out data center white space? Leave me your thoughts!

Original article first posted on LinkedIn on Feb 23, 2016 by Diana Li