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Key Considerations When Choosing Your Next Data Center Location

Feature - Key Considerations When Choosing Your Next Data Center Location - AnD Cable Management Blog

In business, the adage location, location, location has always been a concern for any physical structure. This is true of data centers as well. When it comes to your next data center location, where do you build?

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There are several prime locations around the country for the mega data centers that are popping up everywhere, but there will always be a need for local data centers, and as the need for more storage and faster data rates increases, so will the size and configuration of those data centers. But what influences location? There are two primary factors: safety, and network exchange proximity. Let’s take a closer look.

Data Center Starts

AOL started in Northern Virginia with its first data center. As the area grew, the communities invested in technology and network hubs that attracted more tech giants. In fact, Microsoft bought land in the Loudoun area for around 1.4 million per acre just this year, showing that the value of data center land in that area will not be taking a dive anytime soon.

The Pacific Northwest is also a data center hub, with Amazon leading the way along with several other large tech companies. One reason is that water is plentiful in these wet areas and can be harnessed easily for cooling purposes.

That was just the start, of course. Since then, locations have popped up all over the country.

Safety and Network Proximity

But you can’t just build data centers where you have access to water, and as the Microsoft story illustrates, building near other data centers may be cost prohibitive for many companies. While the Pacific Northwest is also a great location for other reasons, data centers must be built in other places.

Where is the ideal place to build? Well, as with many other things, it depends, but of course the two primary concerns above must be kept in mind. For instance, you could build in the middle of nowhere, where land is cheap, water is plentiful, and there are few weather-related concerns. But if you don’t have a solid connection to the network, your data center will never work.

Taxes, Labor, and Incentives

Taxes, labor, and incentives are all normal costs and benefits of doing business in any given location. For instance, in California the tax laws can be complicated, labor regulations are more restrictive than in some other neighboring states. However, some counties or municipalities offer tax incentives to data centers located there.

In addition, many will be close to network hubs, and will also have talent to draw upon when the time comes to hire new employees. This can be another vital factor in data center location. The right talent can be hard to find in the tech industry, and nearby universities, an appealing community surrounding the data center, and other factors can heavily influence recruiting.

It’s a good idea to keep things under wraps when first negotiating a data center site. Otherwise, bidding wars, protests from community members who may not want to see a data center in their area, and others can derail the best plan before it even gets a chance to get started.

Another consideration is power and access to sustainable resources.

Going Green is the New Black

A huge consideration for data centers is their environmental impact. Choosing a location with a high solar score, for example, allows a data center to operate primarily on renewable energy. The same is true for nearby hydroelectric and wind energy. One of the primary things driving this trend is consumer interest.

Because the consumer wants to do business with companies investing in renewable energy, those same companies partner with data center partners who share the same values. It all comes down to energy and where it comes from.

In this way, companies have gotten creative, locating data centers in cooler northern climates, placing them underwater, and locating them in caves and other areas underground. All of these efforts are attempting to take advantage of natural cooling factors to save energy and improve efficiency.

As much as possible, the location of a data center should be coupled with environmental responsibility and sources of renewable energy.

Key Takeaways

Does all of this sound a bit complicated? It can be. Also there are simply times when you are limited in your selection by geography, local zoning, and the land available to you. But choosing a data center location, much like choosing the location of any other business, will depend on your individual circumstances.

Once you are ready to build, we here at AnD Cable Products can help you with a variety of products to help you maximize your space, get the right cables for your data center, provide labelling products, and even help with physical layer network security and monitoring.

Have questions? Contact us today. We’re happy to talk about your needs for new data center builds or simply moves and changes in current facilities. Join our email list to get the latest news and data center tips. No spam, ever.

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About the Author

Louis Chompff - Founder, AnD Cable Products, Rack and Cable ManagementLouis Chompff, Founder & Managing Director, AnD Cable Products
Louis established AnD Cable Products – Intelligently Designed Cable Management in 1989. Prior to this he enjoyed a 20+ year career with a leading global telecommunications company in a variety of senior data management positions. Louis is an enthusiastic inventor who designed, patented and brought to market his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cabel labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the principal author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online https://andcable.com/shop/

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Proper Power Cable Usage Prevents Poor Performance

Feature - Proper Power Cable Usage Prevents Poor Performance - AnD Cable Management Blog

Data centers are moving away from under floor cooling and cabling, and in many cases to overhead cables and more advanced cooling systems. At the same time, what may seem the simplest of things, power cables, are evolving and changing as well. The reasons are quite simple. New angles, new cable types, and even new connection types are designed to ensure maximum uptime, no cable failures and the prevention of disastrous accidental disconnects or power loss.

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So what do these cables look like, and how can proper power cable usage prevent poor data center performance? Here are seven things to consider.

Cable Length Matters

In the case of power cables, the shorter the cable the better. No matter how good the power cord is, what gauge it is, or how it is insulated, aggregate power loss occurs over the length of the cord. The longer the cord, the greater the loss. In a large data center this can add up to thousands of dollars of wasted power annually.

Not only does this harm the data center’s overall power usage efficiency (PUE) but it is also harmful to the environment, increasing carbon emissions or even just diminishing efficiency in centers that rely on renewable energy sources.

Use the shortest cable you can for the application, but one that is long enough to prevent any breaks or damage caused by odd connection angles or cable stress.

Choose Your Gauge

While shorter cables are better, larger gauge cables are better than their smaller counterparts, and for good reason. First, they carry power more efficiently. Even if smaller cables might meet your needs now, moves and changes or new equipment can increase the demand on power cables.

In that case, a larger gauge cable can future proof your data center, eliminating the need to change cables later on. Larger gauge cables also run cooler, so there is no additional burden on your HVAC systems or cooling plans.

Color Coding

We often talk about color coding data center cords, but color coding and labeling power cords is just as essential for avoiding the “spaghetti mess” server we have all encountered. But there’s more. Color coding helps you trace power from equipment to source, prevents duplicate power paths, and helps prevent accidental disconnects during moves or changes.

Choosing to color code power cords now will save you a lot of time and effort later on.

Use Shielded Power Cords

Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) can be a nightmare in data centers. Unshielded data cables used in the same area as unshielded power cords can have a serious impact on data transmission and can result in data loss. Shielded power cords can reduce or even eliminate those odd “data drops” that are hard to find and isolate.

As with other power cable properties, a little foresight here can go a long way to preventing problems down the road.

Grab a Jacket

Power cables are required to be jacketed, and the type of jacket is often dictated by local regulations and building codes. There are different materials you can and often must use based on where the cord is located, how it is used, and the restriction of the use of certain materials in various areas.

The key is to know the rules where you are, work with a vendor who can get the right cables for you consistently, and pay attention if regulations were to change.

Work the Angles

The right length of cable is important, but so is the placement of equipment in relation to those cables. The wrong angle, too tight of turns, and other issues can cause cable breakage, disconnection and more. If necessary, use angled connectors and plugs.

Keep power cords tidy, angles to a minimum, and avoid crimping, bending, and tangling them with data cables.

Lock it Up

Locking connections ensure that your cables stay where they are supposed to, and stay connected. There are several different types of locks, and each serves its own purpose. Be sure any connections you have, male, female, or otherwise, are appropriately locked in place with a tight and secure connection.

This prevents accidental disconnects, power loss through slight separation or loose connection, and other common power problems.

Are you planning your data center? Making moves and changes? Or are you looking for new, long term power cord solutions? Contact us here at AnD Cable. We have the cables you need to future proof your data center and ensure maximum uptime.

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About the Author

Louis Chompff - Founder, AnD Cable Products, Rack and Cable ManagementLouis Chompff, Founder & Managing Director, AnD Cable Products
Louis established AnD Cable Products – Intelligently Designed Cable Management in 1989. Prior to this he enjoyed a 20+ year career with a leading global telecommunications company in a variety of senior data management positions. Louis is an enthusiastic inventor who designed, patented and brought to market his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cabel labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the principal author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online https://andcable.com/shop/

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Data Center Cabling Above and Below – Raised vs Concrete Floors

Feature - Data Center Cabling Above and Below - Raised vs Concrete Floors - Cable Management Blog

It used to be that data centers were simply built with raised flooring. This was for several reasons: to allow for airflow, power and other cable routing, and flexibility during moves and changes. However, for most modern data centers, concrete floors, or slabs, have become a more common choice, with cables and even cooling running above rather than below.

But what is best for data centers, and is there still room for raised flooring in new and more modern data centers?

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Feature – Data Center Cabling Above and Below – Raised vs Concrete Floors – Cable Management Blog

The Reasons for Concrete Flooring

First, let’s look at why some data centers might choose concrete floors or a slab rather than a raised floor during construction, including power density, cooling, and more.

First, today’s high power density data centers need a lot of cooling, and a raised floor may not be up to the task. New fresh air systems and “hot aisle” containment systems do a better job than air routing under the floor.

Second, data centers are getting larger and denser at the same time. Components are actually getting larger, and cables are getting thicker. As the need for storage capacity rises, so does the demand on a particular data center. These larger data centers need more sophisticated cooling, not to mention the ability to hold more weight than a raised floor.

Contrariwise, even smaller data centers often lack the space to add ramps on raised floors, making their application impractical. In compact spaces, it’s difficult to achieve the proper power density with a raised floor.

These are all good arguments for concrete floors in data centers, but does that mean raised floors don’t really have a place? Not really.

Reasons Data Centers Might Want Raised Floors

Raised floors still have some uses in various spaces, including two primary scenarios.

  • Low Power Density might mean a lot of moves and changes, and especially in some caged hosting spaces, a raised floor is often still the best choice.
  • If water is needed to cool the IT space. In the case of some modern cooling systems, water is needed as part of the process, so raised floors provide a place to transport that water safety, without compromising electronic equipment.

However, these are just a couple of potential scenarios. Let’s look next at raised and concrete floors in a side by side comparison.

The Debate About Raised Floors vs. Concrete Floors

Here are some things to consider:

  • Irregular layouts – Once quite common, these led to the need for space under the floor for cooling and the need for flexibility for moves and changes. As equipment is modernized and standardized in both size and configuration, layouts are more predictable.
  • Cable length and brackets – Cables once had to be much shorter to protect against signal degradation. As fiber optics and high bandwidth Ethernet cables are used, it is no longer critical that cables be short, and the need for a lot of brackets to hold them and route them under the floor is no longer prevalent.
  • Power cables – Power cables once came from the bottom up, and it was necessary to have a raised floor for access. Now, racks and cabinets allow power connections from above, meaning the underfloor space is no longer needed. However, for older systems still in use, a raised floor is still a necessity.
  • Equipment grounding – Copper mesh used to be used to achieve a strong ground between devices. Newer cabling options mean this is no longer a concern. Their grounding wires ensure the integrity of each circuit.

In short, the more technology advances, the less raised floors are needed. But not every data center moves forward and updates at the same pace, and raised floors still remain useful in many cases.

Dust and Static Electricity

There is a final concern when it comes to concrete floors. While most modern devices have anti-static protection, there are some that are still vulnerable, even at low voltages such as a static discharge from a technician.

Solid floors are often constructed with grounded statics that may also use either anti-static panels or floor coatings to prevent the buildup in the first place. For raised floors, anti-static panels have been in use for a long time.

Of course, many will argue that the gaps between floor panels or even grout between panels applied to hard floors is a dust magnet, and dust is a killer in any data center. However, concrete floors can be coated with anti-static material that is seamless, allowing for easy cleanup and the prevention of dust buildup.

But what is right for your data center? Only you can look at all the options and determine what will work best with your overall cooling plan, moves, changes, and updates.

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About the Author

Louis Chompff - Founder, AnD Cable Products, Rack and Cable ManagementLouis Chompff, Founder & Managing Director, AnD Cable Products
Louis established AnD Cable Products – Intelligently Designed Cable Management in 1989. Prior to this he enjoyed a 20+ year career with a leading global telecommunications company in a variety of senior data management positions. Louis is an enthusiastic inventor who designed, patented and brought to market his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cabel labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the principal author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online https://andcable.com/shop/