Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ten Tips for Data Center Site Selection

1. A data center should be situated on stable
geography. Choosing (or building) a data center
situated in a flood plain or on a tectonic fault that
regularly generates earthquakes is not such a
good idea. Much of New Orleans, for example, is
several feet below sea level, as the public
discovered during the Katrina hurricane disaster.
As global warming continues to energize the
world weather "heat engine," tornadoes will
become a greater problem, leading to either the
construction of bunker-like facilities, or else data
centers in such areas will be placed securely
2. Given today's terrorist threats, plopping down
such a computer facility in the middle of major
cities is not such a good idea either. After an
international telecommunications company
named Interoute Telecom was hit by two
terrorist attacks (the Irish Republican Army blew
up one of their buildings in London's Docklands
area housing a huge Ericsson AXE10 telecom
switch area - which continued to run; and then
the company lost its New York office in the 9/11
disaster) the company's founders, Simon Taylor
and Nick Razey, decided to go into the data
center business. They noticed that many New
York businesses relocated their data centers out
of New York to New Jersey, Connecticut, and
various other relatively distant points. So when
they founded Next Generation Data and built
Europe's largest data center, the 750,000 square
foot NGD Europe (also known as NGD1), they
situated it far from London, in Wales, where
property was inexpensive and electrical power
was in abundance.
3. Make sure you are building a computing nexus
where there are major tax incentives. U.S. state
and local governments offer all sorts of
incentives for data center operations, even
customized incentives programs offering partial
or even a full exemption of sales/use taxes on
equipment, construction materials, and perhaps
even electricity and backup fuel expenses.
4. In a world of skyrocketing user demand, you
want a data center that offers big optical fiber
pipes, simultaneously connected to the building
by several carriers. (A "carrier-neutral"
collocation facility.)
5. You also need your optical pipes to be capable
of supporting redundancy in case of a disaster,
and diverse paths to distribute the data traffic
6. Your building should be near an emerging
population of users: China, Singapore, etc. It's not
absolutely necessary, but it's good to lessen the
number of "hops" to customers and with it, the
possibility of outages or high latency in signaling
back and forth. Silicon Valley encompasses some
of the world's largest technology corporations
(Apple, Cisco, Google, HP, Intel, etc.) as well as
top universities. It's no wonder that data center
construction has boomed in the region, with a
market measuring over 5 million square feet of
facility space as of mid-2011.
7. Don't place or select a center near locations
were other companies manufacture, store or
transport hazardous materials. New Jersey's
"chemical coast" is one such example.
9. Don't pick a data center situated in the flight
path of a major airport. (Once in a blue moon,
they fall down and go boom.)
10. Keep your racks and computers out of the
basement of your building, or anybody else's, for
that matter. Secondary computing and storage
should be safely distant and not below a
population that can cause trouble (set accidental
fires, set off sprinkler systems and flooding, and
so forth).