Preparing for a Data Center

Optimizing Your Business's Data Center for Reliability and Future Growth

As a business grows, so does the amount of data and IT infrastructure it requires to operate efficiently. An organized, well-designed data center ensures your company has the strong foundation needed to manage information and systems effectively now and into the future.

The Importance of a Properly Designed Data Center

A data center houses all the critical IT components—servers, cables, racks, phone systems—that keep your business running smoothly. While often tucked away in a back room, this nerve center of your company deserves careful planning and strategic setup to maximize:

  • Reliability
  • Scalability
  • Security

When establishing or upgrading your data center, it’s crucial to implement features that allow for redundancy, growth, and protection of sensitive systems and data.

Building in Redundancy

Downtime is expensive for any business. Creating redundancy in core areas of your data center limits the chances of workflow disruptions from equipment or connection failures:

  • Cabling: Install backup routes so operations can continue if a cable is damaged. Utilize both physical and wireless networks.
  • Internet: Subscribe to two or more internet service providers (ISPs) to avoid relying on a single point of failure for web access.
  • Power: Incorporate uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) and battery backups to keep systems running during electrical interruptions.

Accommodating Current Needs and Future Expansion

When establishing or upgrading a data center, account for potential business growth 5-10 years down the road. Plan ahead to avoid expensive, disruptive equipment moves and buildouts later. Strategies include:

  • leaving ample unused space in equipment racks and the room itself. Most racks hold 42 rack units (42U), with servers, switches and other gear consuming anywhere from 1U to 2U each.
  • investing in advanced components and cabling (e.g., Cat6/Cat6a over Cat5e). This prevents labor-intensive upgrades every time standards evolve.

Protecting Mission-Critical Systems and Data

A data center's physical security is just as crucial as digital defenses like encryption and passwords in safeguarding sensitive company and customer information.

  • Store equipment in lockable, fully-enclosed racks with ventilation slots. Choose racks specifically engineered for security, featuring built-in locks and tightly sealed cabling cutouts.
  • Restrict data center access only to essential IT personnel through locked doors, controlled badged entry, and surveillance cameras. Logs of all access should be maintained.

A properly optimized data center combines thoughtful design with the right components to meet a business's immediate infrastructure needs as well as facilitate sustainable growth 5+ years down the line. If planned and implemented strategically upfront, your company's mission-critical systems and data remain secure, available and scalable over the long term