Data center design standards, such as the standards unveiled by the Uptime Institute’s Tier Standard, emphasize performance by optimizing the power and cooling systems. Both systems make a significant contribution for determining the overall performance of a data center. However, a less publicized, but in many academic circles just as important of a factor, is how well the physical infrastructure of a data center is designed.


well-designed data center

A well-designed data center incorporates a modular design and leaves room for future growth.


Let’s look at a few of the most common best practices when it comes to the design of a data center.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

You probably have heard the timeless teaching tool involving the tortoise and the hare. The timeless teaching tool teaches us that by going slow, albeit directly towards a performance goal, we can win the race. Look at data center design the same way. Although the demands placed on data centers have increased rapidly because of the advancement of Internet technology tools, it is still slow, sustainable growth that wins the data crunching race.

Here are some principles that ensure a slow, sustainable rate of growth for a data center:

  • Taller infrastructure to meet the need for growth
  • Rear and front mounting rails that adjust to handle a wide variety of changing equipment depths
  • Seamless integration with pathways built overhead
  • Modular designs that move and adjust with ease
  • Supporting of different cable management systems

Speaking of Cable Management…

Because of the complexity in contemporary data center design, it is imperative that the cables and other connecting hardware provide unsurpassed quality. The rapid degradation of a data center caused by inferior quality cables installed by using poor practices can result in a costly shutdown of the data center that can last for months. What is the point of purchasing expensive hardware, if a data center uses low quality connecting hardware?

Accommodate Expected Future Growth

They say there are two certainties in life, with neither certainty being a pleasant experience. You can add a third certainty in the era of complex data center designs.

You can expect modern data centers to grow.

With the demand for more data delivered in faster times a given, it is essential that data center designs accommodate the need for rapid data crunching growth. This means continually upgrading bandwidth requirements and networking speeds that typically remained stagnant in the age of low data crunching demand.

Document Everything

With data centers growing and evolving to new technologies all of the time, it makes sense for one of the best data center design practices to include the best practice of performing regularly scheduled equipment and cable connection improvements. This means managers in charge of data center performances must document every inspection, component replacement, and operational change to remain ahead of the performance curve. Lack of documentation often leads to confusion and worse, to the duplication of processes that cost both time and money to implement.

Getting a contemporary data center to operate like a well-oiled machine requires the concerted effort of a wide range of technical professionals. By following the best practices for data center design, the various departments responsible for data center design should create a system that runs flawlessly for years to come.