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Build the Best Data Center Facility for Your Business (paperback)


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Table of Contents

Foreword Introduction Part I Designing the Data Center Infrastructure Chapter 1 Approaching the Data Center Project

Understanding the Value of Your Data Center

Deciding Whether to Outsource

Defining Requirements and Roles

Client Needs

Cross-Functional Support

Architecting a Productive Data Center

Make It Robust

Make It Modular

Make It Flexible


Promote Good Habits

Previewing Data Center Components

Physical Space

Raised Flooring

In-Room Electrical

Standby Power



Fire Suppression

Other Infrastructure Components

Establishing Data Center Design Criteria


Infrastructure Tiers

One Room or Several?

Life Span

Budget Decisions

Managing a Data Center Project

The Design Package

Working with Experts

Tips for a Successful Project


Chapter 2 Choosing an Optimal Site

Assessing Viable Locations for Your Data Center

Building Codes and the Data Center Site

Site Risk Factors

Natural Disasters


Electromagnetic Interference


Political Climates

Flight Paths

Evaluating Physical Attributes of the Data Center Site

Relative Location


Disaster Recovery Options

Pre-Existing Infrastructure

Power Analysis

Cooling Capabilities

Structured Cabling

Amenities and Obstacles


Weight Issues

Loading Dock

Freight Elevators

Problem Areas

Distribution of Key Systems

Confirming Service Availability to the Data Center Site

Prioritizing Needs for the Data Center Site


Chapter 3 Quantifying Data Center Space

Sizing the Data Center

Financial and Other Considerations When Sizing the Data Center

Employee-Based Sizing Method

Equipment-Based Sizing Method

Other Influencing Factors When Sizing Your Data Center

Determining Shape and Placement of Your Data Center

Desirable and Undesirable Spaces to Place Your Data Center

Growth Paths for Your Data Center's Space

Consolidation Options for Your Data Center

Structure and Finishes of the Data Center

Associated Data Center Support Rooms

Electrical Room

Networking Room

Loading Dock

Build Room

Storage Room

Operations Command Center

Backup Room

Media Storage Area

Vendor Service Areas


Chapter 4 Laying Out the Data Center

Drawing Tools Available to Create Your Data Center Layout

The Floor Grid

Defining Spaces for Physical Elements of Your Data Center

Mechanical Equipment

Power Distribution Units

Air Handlers

Fire Suppression Tanks

Buffer Zones


Equipment Rows

Form Versus Function

Setting Row Dimensions

Networking Rows

Orienting Rows

Weight Issues

Seismic Mitigation

Dealing with Obstacles

Irregular Spaces

Structural Columns


System Controls


Common Problems

The Floor Grid Is Positioned Incorrectly

Infrastructure Items Are Installed Backwards

Floor Space Between Rows Is Too Narrow

Infrastructure Items Are Uncoordinated or Misplaced


Chapter 5 Overhead or Under-Floor Installation?

Overhead Installation

Under-Floor Installation

Separation of Power and Data

Plenum and Non-Plenum Spaces

Ceiling Components

Raised Floor Components

Floor Height

Ramps and Lifts

Weight Bearing Ability

Types of Floor Tiles

Floor Tiles and Static

Termination Details

The Subfloor

Common Problems

Tile Cut-outs Are Poorly Sized or in the Wrong Location

Cabling Installed in Plenum Spaces Aren't Properly Rated

The Raised Floor System Isn't Strong Enough to Accommodate Equipment


Chapter 6 Creating a Robust Electrical System

Recommended Electrical System Features

Isolated Power

Avoiding Single Points of Failure

Maintenance Bypass Options

Remote Infrastructure Management

In-Room Power

Determining Power Requirements

Power Distribution

Power Redundancy

Wiring, Component, and Termination Options

Labeling and Documenting

Convenience Outlets

Emergency Power Off

Standby Power

Load Requirements



Monitoring Lights

Labeling and Documenting

Installation and Grounding

Signal Reference Grid

Testing and Verification

Common Problems


Chapter 7 Designing a Scalable Network Infrastructure

Importance of the Physical Network

Cabling Hierarchy

Cable Characteristics

Copper Cabling

Fiber-Optic Cable

Multimode Fiber

Singlemode Fiber

Cabling Costs

Storage Area Networks (SANs)

Determining Connectivity Requirements

Network Redundancy

Networking Room

Common Termination Options

Copper Cabling Terminators

Fiber Cabling Terminators

Color-Coding Cabling Materials

Building-to-Building Connectivity

Recommended Installation Practices

General Installation

Bundling Structured Cabling

Minimum Bend Radius

Reverse Fiber Positioning

Labeling the Structured Cabling System

Cabinet Installations

Testing and Verifying Structured Cabling

Wire Management

Common Problems


Chapter 8 Keeping It Cool

Cooling Requirements

Chilled Liquid Cooling

House Air

Makeup Air

Cooling Quantities and Temperature Ranges

Redundancy in Your Cooling Infrastructure

Cooling Distribution and Air Pressure


Layout, Cabinets, and Cooling


Positioning Air Handlers

Hot and Cold Aisles

Cabinet Design

Fire Suppression

Suppression Materials


Manual Controls

Design Details

Air Sampling and Smoke Detection

Fire Alarms

Handheld Extinguishers

Common Problems


Chapter 9 Removing Skeletons from Your Server Closet

Lack of Space

Space Saving Measures

New Construction


Infrastructure Shortcomings




Fire Suppression

Structural Support

Paradigm Shifts


Large-Scale Server Moves


Part II Managing the DataCenter Chapter 10 Organizing Your Way to an Easier Job

The Need For Organization

Organizing Equipment: Form vs Function

Clustering by Function

Organizing by Business Group

Grouping by Manufacturer

Not Organizing at All

Planning for Growth

Controlling Incoming Equipment


Chapter 11 Labeling and Signage

Choosing a Numbering Scheme

Recommended Labeling Practices

Cable Runs

Electrical Conduits

Cabinet Locations

Servers and Networking Devices

Server Rows


Essential Signage

Fire Alarm Instructions

Fire Suppression System Instructions

Emergency Power Off Instructions

Monitoring Lights

Emergency Contacts

Final Note


Chapter 12 Stocking and Standardizing

Equipping a Data Center

Patch Cords and Adapters

Server Cabinets



Equipment Spares


Chapter 13 Safeguarding the Servers

Physical Access Restrictions

Door Controls


Locking Cabinets

Closed-Circuit Television Coverage

Access Policies and Procedures


Implement Change Management

Change Defined

Change Request Essentials

When to Make Changes

Use Only Approved Materials

Follow Security Procedures


Don't Leave Trash in the Data Center

Don't Steal Items or Infrastructure

Don't String Cables Between Cabinets

Good Installation Practices

Manage Cabinet Space

Properly Use Rack Units

The Balance of Power

Route Cabling Neatly

Label Thoroughly

Data Center Tours


Chapter 14 Mapping, Monitoring, and Metrics

Documenting the Data Center

Floor Plan


Server Inventory



Features and Philosophies

Monitoring from Afar

Web Cameras

Amperage Meters

Temperature Sensors

Humidity Sensors

Gathering Metrics

Maintaining an Incident Log

Availability Metrics

Other Useful Data


Chapter 15 Maintaining a World-Class Environment

The Importance of Data Center Maintenance

Regular Upkeep

Professional Cleaning

Vendor Qualifications and Credentials

Approved Cleaning Equipment and Materials

Pre-Cleaning Steps

Standards of Operations

Cleaning Procedures



Servers and Networking Devices

Other Above-Floor Items

Floor Surface


Post-Cleaning Steps


Common Problems


Glossary Index

Promotional Information

Data centers are specialized environments that safeguard a company's most valuable equipment and intellectual property, housing the devices that process business transactions, host web sites, store data, maintain financial records, and route e-mail. A well-planned and effectively managed data center facility supports these functions and increases company productivity by providing reliable network availability and faster processing. This book undertakes all major decisions involved in the design and construction of a data center facility. It also provides instruction on how to effectively manage a data center so downtime is minimized, troubleshooting is easier, and the room's infrastructure is maximized, allowing a company to get more from its financial investment. Chapters are arranged in the order in which decisions must be made when planning a data center project. Part I covers physical infrastructure details: sizing the room, cabinet layout, electrical systems, data cabling, cooling, and fire suppression system. Part II addresses how to successfully manage the environment: organizing equipment, labeling, standardization, operations standards, documentation, and cleaning practices.

About the Author

Douglas Alger is a team leader of the Data Center Infrastructure team at Cisco Systems (R), where he helps design, support, and manage the company's worldwide data centers. He has participated in more than 50 major data center projects, involving new construction or comprehensive infrastructure upgrades. Doug joined Cisco (R) in 1997. His prior career was as a newspaper reporter, where he wrote for several newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from San Jose State University.

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