Companies like Facebook and Amazon have massive data center campuses that house hundreds to thousands of data centers in a single location, providing computing power to tons of other businesses. With a powerful and robust data center footprint, these hyperscale organizations are able to stay on the forefront of innovation and continue to deliver exemplary experiences to all of their customers and users.
But before you break ground on your next project, slow down for a second and plan it carefully. One of the biggest data center construction mistakes that organizations make is failing to think too far down the road. In a hurry to turn their servers on as quickly as possible, organizations can overlook how their needs might change in the future—which gives them headaches that are otherwise avoidable.
With that in mind, here are four data center construction tips that hyperscale providers should consider, as you begin designing your next data center.
1. Think about the future and focus on flexibility
No matter how strong your business is today, chances are your organization will need to plan for when it’s in an even better position in the future. As such, it is critical to think about future needs and considerations as you begin designing your new data center.
Leaders should be focused on maintaining the flexibility of the campus. What are the unseen or latent factors that might materialize down the road?
These days, data centers are changing rapidly, particularly in the power and cooling area. Will your campus be able to support new innovations, like liquid cooling, which is going to be a real option in five short years? Does your data center have enough space to support future growth and additional servers? Are your power and HVAC equipment strong enough to support your data center’s requirements as you scale?
These are just some of the critical questions you’ll need to ask.
2. Think about competitiveness and scalability
The average data center has a life expectancy hovering near 20 years. If you build a data center today and someone else builds one in two years, what advantages will they have over yours? Will you be able to adapt your data center to incorporate new technologies that drive competitive advantage? Or are you expecting your data center to operate the same way from Day 1?
As you begin designing your data center, it’s important to plan for the future, with an eye toward cost-competitiveness. For the best results, you need a data center that enables you to get to market as fast as possible, react as quickly as possible to shifting market demands and ensure you can rapidly deploy additional capacity as your organization and your clients’ needs change.
Remember, in the world of data centers, whoever gets there first can often be a leader, even at a premium cost.
3. Think about your data center upgrade strategy
Let’s say you’ve just finished construction on a brand-new data center, and everything is state-of-the-art. Unfortunately, we all know what happens to technology over time: no matter how innovative it is, it becomes obsolete at some point in time.
A state-of-the-art data center might be strong enough to power your operations for many years, but as time goes on and technology evolves, you will need to give your data center a facelift, in order to operate as efficiently as possible while delivering the strongest experiences to your users.
That being the case, it is critical to think about your data center upgrade strategy. Though most companies have a three-to-five year refresh cycle, you may want to upgrade your infrastructure even more frequently than that.
One easy way to future-proof your data center from an upgrade perspective is by using modular data center construction. That way, when it’s time to upgrade to new hardware, you can pop out the old modules and replace them with new ones in a fast, painless and cost-effective process.
4. Think about building a data center that lasts
We may be a bit biased, but we believe that the modular approach to data center construction is the easiest way to future-proof your operation.
Here are a few reasons why:
- You can use skid-based electrical infrastructure in a facility, to ensure you have enough power and capacity to spin up rapidly as you scale.
- You can install UPS and power distribution modular buildings on campus.
- You can leverage power architecture and cooling architecture that can be changed mid-stream, as needs evolve.
- You can source solutions from many different vendors, enabling you to find the perfect components for the job.
It’s this customizability and configurability that makes modular data centers the ideal choice for hyperscale providers.
To learn more about data center construction and how new methodologies are helping hyperscale companies future-proof their data centers, check out our free guide, The State of the Construction Industry in the New Decade.