Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Refurbishment vs. New facilities

Whenever there is a hot summer, old and some not to old data centres and computer rooms suffer. As they overheat due to inefficiencies and under-cooling, management must decide whether it is more cost effective to patch the room up to last another year, to totally refurbish the computer room or to build a brand new computer room or data centre from scratch. This summer is likely to be no different with many people expecting some record temperatures.
The task of persuading the powers that be to choose one of these options lies with the facilities and operations departments explaining the viability of each choice to the finance director. It has been said before that facilities and operations rarely see eye to eye, often due to the differing natures of their jobs, so the management team rarely get an unbiased view of the true needs of the IT department. So what are the benefits of refurbishing a data centre vs. building a new facility and vice versa?

When refurbishing a facility there is one major problem that stands in the way; working around live equipment, be it plant or servers. Maintaining 24/7 operations during a refurbishment is possible, but special care needs to be taken by all parties working in close proximity to the facility. As workmen connect and test new plant, short circuits and power failures are a common hazard, as are people tripping over live cables and lifted floor tiles that span work areas.
In choosing a refurbishment, there are many areas in which budget can be saved when compared to a new build. Starting from scratch requires foundations, walls being built and services being connected, all of which may be avoided in a refurbishment saving time and money. The site will often be in, or close to the main office which appeals to many companies and IT departments and this also means it may be possible to reuse plant from the old facility.

Many computer rooms and data centres have evolved over time to become the backbone of company operations, but often, this Darwinist approach to IT results in a room that is the wrong shape, size and layout for modern computer equipment and the installed plant often struggles to cope with advances in computer power. Building a new computer room or data centre provides the ability of hindsight to prevent the same problems happening again, by future proofing the new facility from its outset.
A new data centre will be specifically designed for the businesses needs. Building from maximises the efficiencies of new technologies such as free and fresh air cooling, heat re-use and dust reduction. By designing a new facility, the ability to include de-box and test rooms adjacent to the computer room or data centre, secure delivery bays and single level entry to the finished floor level helps to maintain the operation of an efficient data centre. A problem that often arises from a refurbishment is that IT staffs still see it as the old facility and fall into bad habits that encourage poor patching which reduces airflows; poor housekeeping that increases dust levels; and poor security to name a few. A new facility is often treated like a new car; you want it looking like that day you took ownership for as long as possible so staffs try especially hard to maintain its high standards. By moving data over to a totally new facility you can start afresh and help maintain a reliable, efficient computer room or data centre for many years to come.

Every case is different and Migration Solutions are experts at recommending the most suitable options for each client. Migration Solutions has many years of experience in computer room and data centre design and construction utilising their operational experience to create a data centre that runs as efficiently as possible, but is also easy to use for the operations team. For more information visit www.migrationsolutions.com

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