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9 Tips to Modernise Your Server Room or Data Centre

Published by Lee Kelly on 16 October 2019

Organisations with data centres of 10 years of age or older are likely to find they are no longer able to meet the power, cooling and structural demands of advancing technologies. There are several options open to them: build a new data centre, put applications in the public cloud to free up space, lease space off-site in a colocation facility, or modernise their existing data centre.

Rather than moving off-site or going to the expense of building new facilities, there are numerous reasons to modernise a server room instead. We’ll take a look at those reasons here. Then, we’ll provide you with nine tips to improve and upgrade your critical infrastructure.

Our tips will help you to avoid the pitfalls associated with poor design that can result in costly downtime, or worst-case scenario, the loss of business. By taking these suggestions onboard, you can expect to see reduced operational spending, and an increase in resilience and up-time of your critical infrastructure, leading to the 24-hour operations, seven days a week, that are vital for a company.

Critical Power Supplies - Data Centre Inital Planning

Reasons to Modernise a Server Room

  • Improved power and cooling efficiency.
  • Reductions in both carbon and running costs.
  • Increased reliability and agility, which has a significant impact on operating expenses.
  • Better equipped to minimise downtime.
  • Easier to repair power equipment and perform necessary maintenance tasks.
  • Extend the life of the whole secure facility.
  • Improved aesthetics, which benefit colocation or managed hosting sites in particular as they need to appeal to customers.
  • Retrofitting can help provide powerful new layers of security, intelligence and automation.
  • Better positioned to accommodate cloud computing, recent technologies, and future innovations.
  • An opportunity to become compliant with governmental regulations and building codes to gain necessary certifications.
  • Ability to plan for future costs and quantify impact on IT capability and availability.
  • More able to support evolving business goals.
  • Ability to leverage timely information and automation according to changing business demands
  • Enhance relations with stakeholders since you are able to publish reports and metrics on data centre operations, efficiencies, and sustainability efforts

1. Assemble a Project Team

A project team for modernising a server room or data centre will need to include all relevant stakeholders, and vendor partners with the skill, expertise and interoperability you need. Your team will be looking to lower costs, induce efficiencies, reduce risk, and provide a safer environment. Look to partner with someone who has successfully completed similar projects.

A design service expert can help you to determine the best power methods and solutions to ensure efficiency cost and safety. An experienced vendor can help businesses to identify applicable financial incentives. Incentives include partnering with utility companies to reduce waste in the massive amounts of electricity data centres use.

2. Modernise Your Mechanical Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) Infrastructure

Modernising a vintage data centre’s MEP infrastructure can enhance availability, raise power and cooling capacity, lower operational expenses, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Look to upgrade your power distribution equipment, and you will enjoy ease of maintenance and improved safety levels; you’ll be better able to benefit from the latest technologies for fire detection and suppression.

Consider your options for right-sizing power and cooling equipment, scalable power and cooling in alignment with your needs, and air containment system configuration.

At Critical Power Solutions, our NICEIC qualified engineers provide electrical installations and services to enable you to upgrade your data centre and keep it running at optimum levels. Our services include building management systems, backup infrastructure, commercial data cabling and fibre installations, heating and ventilation systems, inspection and testing and PAT safety testing, power and light setup, AC and DC power distribution, condition reporting, and many other services.

3. Expand Your Data Centre

When you’re building a new data centre or increasing capacity for your existing infrastructure, you can opt for prefabricated data centre solutions. Available as a building block approach or as an all-in-one solution, prefabricated solutions typically comprise power skids, power, cooling and IT modules. Designed to support business-critical applications, prefabricated assemblies are faster and more predictable in terms of planning, design, installation and commissioning.

Preconfigured systems offer complete physical infrastructure solutions. Integrated power, cooling, rack, security, containment and management components are included, plus software and services for transmission time and costs. Preconfigured micro data centres are assembled on-site for increased flexibility and customisation.

4. Upgrade Servers and Systems

Newer servers are likely to have greater amounts of memory, meaning you need fewer servers in your facility. More recent servers also benefit from improved cooling parts and superior power-saving modes. As a result, your server room has less heat for the cooling system to contend with, and you reduce energy use. Virtualisation and blade servers increase scalability by freeing up floor space for potential future expansion.

5. Change the System Layout and Rack Layout

With fewer servers in your data centre, it may be possible to rearrange the remaining servers in fewer racks and use containment to enclose the remaining servers. Customisable racks that can mount a mix of different IT equipment, and support high-capacity cable management, will enable you to rework electrical cabling. With racks that are designed to manage airflow and a well-designed layout, you can optimise space and air distribution. That means less work for the mechanical cooling unit and more free floor space.

6. Elevate Your Data Centre’s Operating Temperature

Your server room is probably equipped with energy-hungry heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) as standard. However, there are things you can to reduce the need for this type of mechanical cooling.

Research and initiatives from industry organisations such as the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) say that modern servers and computing equipment can operate reliably at elevated temperatures. By allowing for higher temperatures, you reduce wear on mechanical cooling systems, save on energy costs, and may even be able to use alternative or supplemental cooling schemes and cooling technologies.

7. Replace Cooling Systems

With less of a need for HVAC, you may be able to supplement or replace your traditional mechanical cooling with alternative cooling equipment or methods. By installing reliable, integrated cooling from chiller and economiser plants, you can lower costs and reduce downtime risks.

Alternative cooling approaches include chilled water heat exchangers (water economisers), evaporative cooling, and free air cooling (air economisers). You could use an alternative cooling method to supplement your HVAC to reduce the time you need to use it, thereby reducing costs and power needs.

You will, however, need to be aware of areas that are too hot or too dry, or be faced with disastrous consequences. At Critical Power Supplies, we offer Thermal Imaging Surveys to identify hotspots and problem areas, and diagnose any issues with your electrical equipment that could cause catastrophic errors or failures.

8. Upgrade Your Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)

Your UPS is vital to increase power availability and maximise system uptime in your data centre. By upgrading your UPS system, you improve UPS energy efficiency and also benefit from more intelligent power monitoring and measurement capabilities.

The Eaton 93pm uninterruptible power supplyis a highly efficient, expandable, modular and scalable UPS solution. A space-saving, flexible device that’s as easy to deploy as it is to manage, users benefit from full-service access from the front, and a large LCD touchscreen. Thanks to innovative thermal management options, and energy-efficient operation, you can expect to save money while protecting the environment.

The Riello MultiPower Power Cabinet Modular UPS is a three-phase power supply for data centres that need stable and secure high-quality power in spite of restricted space. The Multi Power is available in 25 kW or 42 k W versions. It delivers operational efficiency up to 96.5 per cent and offers high power density in a compact footprint. Add in extra power modules as you grow and swap modules to avoid redundancy and downtime during essential maintenance.

9. Implement DCIM Solutions

Investing in Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software will enable you to successfully converge your IT and building facilities functions. With the latest software, data centre managers can monitor, plan and manage infrastructure components, including UPSs, PDUs, racks, security, environmental monitoring gear, and more. You will have complete visibility of the data centre’s performance, and you are better placed to:

  • Reduce energy consumption
  • Use equipment and floor space as efficiently as possible
  • Improve planning and operational performance
  • Protect system uptime
  • Automate certain monitoring processes
  • Improve planning and operational performance
  • Cut operational costs
  • Simplify operational processes
  • Speed up information delivery
  • Turn data into actionable insights

With a cloud-based data management strategy, you can check the status of your physical infrastructure equipment remotely, maintain uptime, and manage sites anytime, anywhere.

 Organisations with data centres of 10 years of age or older should consider modernising their data centre rather than going to the expense of building new facilities. By upgrading their mechanical and electrical infrastructure, and refreshing it with the latest technologies, businesses can benefit from a boost in reliability, efficiency, flexibility and scalability. You can also expect to reduce operational spending. To find out more about what Critical Power Supplies can do for you or to talk to one of our experts, get in touch with us.