As society increasingly relies on technology to function, data center demand has reached record levels globally. In fact, data center construction has been growing exponentially to satisfy these computing needs. According to the “2020 Year-End Data Center Outlook” from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), there are a number of issues that impact the construction of data centers, including location, site procurement and design issues. Here, we take a look at 6 key challenges of data center infrastructure builds and show how to address them.
1 Determining the Right Location for a Data Center
The first step in constructing a data center is identifying the ideal location for the facility. Oftentimes, this involves evaluating several different properties to determine which one is the best fit for the intended purpose of the facility.
When selecting a location for a modern data center, it is important to consider factors such as access to the power grid, proximity to the Internet (and other competing facilities), and the potential for zoning conflicts. However, not all existing facilities must be abandoned in order to construct a new data center; many older data centers can be retrofitted and updated to accommodate the needs of today’s digital infrastructure.
2 Implementing Effective Cost Control Strategies
A second key issue affecting data center construction is managing costs effectively to ensure that projects stay on schedule and meet cost expectations. From the initial bidding phase to the completion stage, the design and construction of a data center presents a wide variety of challenges that can have an impact on construction costs.
For this reason, it is critical to implement effective cost control strategies throughout the entire project lifecycle to ensure budgetary requirements are met. These strategies include careful planning, meticulous selection of materials, and strong communication with all involved parties. By implementing these strategies and maintaining close oversight over the entire construction process, it is possible to significantly reduce construction costs and improve overall productivity without compromising quality or safety.
3 Designing the Facility to Meet Specific Needs
One of the most important factors that must be considered when constructing a data center is the specific needs and requirements of the facility. It is important to establish realistic performance requirements early in the design process to help determine whether the proposed design is feasible or not.
For example, the location of the facility should be carefully selected to ensure that the infrastructure can support the location-specific requirements such as seismic activity, weather factors and network connectivity. It is also important to consider design elements such as a UPS system that can provide backup power in the event of a blackout to prevent data loss and ensure smooth operation of all systems. Once the design has been finalized, it is important to ensure that the required permits are acquired and construction can begin.
4 Challenges in Managing the Construction Process
Another significant challenge that must be addressed when constructing a new data center is managing the design and construction process to ensure that all facilities meet the latest regulatory standards and code requirements. According to The Data Center Journal, the best way to ensure that the process is managed effectively is to engage an experienced third-party contractor. They can help ensure that all essential elements are completed in accordance with approved plans and specifications.
It is also important to identify clear deadlines to ensure that construction proceeds as scheduled and within the desired budget. Keep in mind that there are bound to be some delays that arise during the project. It is important to communicate frequently with all parties involved in the project to resolve any issues quickly and without incurring any unnecessary expenses.
5 Community Impact of Data Center Construction
When planning the construction of a new data center, it is important to evaluate the impact it will have on the surrounding community in order to minimize any potential environmental or public safety risks. For example, the construction and use of a large data center can result in a number of disruptions to the local community and businesses in the form of noise pollution, traffic delays and lost business revenue.
To address these issues and minimize their impact on the community, it is necessary to co-operative with local government officials and other stakeholders. This way, you can determine the most efficient and effective ways to minimize the impacts of the construction process and minimize any potential effects to the community during construction and after the project is completed.
6 Design Considerations for Data Center Construction
A data center’s design is one of the most important considerations when planning a construction project. The quality of the design and the resulting equipment performance can have a significant impact on the success of the overall project as well as operational efficiency and operating costs over the life of the facility.
It is important to ensure that the design and construction teams work together closely to ensure that all the design elements of the data center are completed in a coordinated and efficient manner that maximizes efficiency throughout the facility. It’s also important to ensure that all of the components used in the project are designed to meet or exceed industry standards and will perform as intended over the course of the facility’s life cycle.
a) Electrical Power Requirements –The power requirements of a data center will vary depending on the size of the facility and the type of equipment and systems used. Many facilities will require backup generators in case of power outages or load shedding from the grid to minimize service disruptions and protect critical equipment from overheating or failure.
In addition to operating the servers and other equipment, the facility will also need to supply power to air conditioning systems to keep the building cool and to fire protection systems in the event of a fire or other emergency. Different areas of the facility may have different power requirements and the designer will need to balance these requirements to ensure that the facility is operational at all times.
b) Fire Detection & Suppression Systems – Data centers that are located in highly populated urban areas with a high risk of fire require the installation of fire suppression systems to protect both the building and the equipment inside.
A well-designed fire suppression system will include fire alarm sensors to warn the occupants of the building and activate an alarm when smoke is detected. Automatic extinguishing agents are also installed throughout the facility to prevent the spread of fires and eliminate the risk of damage to mission-critical equipment.
As one of the most critical infrastructure components needed for the operation of a modern economy, data centers are constantly growing to accommodate the ever-increasing demand for higher data storage capacity.
Whether you are building a data center for the first time or planning an expansion to an existing facility, there are many things to think about before you begin construction to ensure the building will function efficiently and provide a reliable and secure environment for the people who will work there, the servers and other equipment.
By choosing the right location and installing the proper equipment and systems, you will be able to ensure optimal efficiency and reliability.
EIDA delivers hands-on, tailored software, set up exactly as you need it. Our team will get your project up and running swiftly, guiding all stakeholders through the process by phasing in implementation and training contractors as they join the project.
Speak to one of our senior consultants to find out how EIDA’s custom platform can improve the structure and flow of your data center project, reducing risk and costly delays.