EN 50600-x: The New European Standard for Data Center Design

The world telecommunications cabling infrastructure standards continues to evolve. The new European standard series EN 50600-x is scheduled to be completed early this year. In this blog, Hans-Jürgen Niethammer provides a summary of his white paper that covers two aspects that are vital to understanding the new standard series.

Hans_WP_Cover_1(1)Data center design concepts and industry standards seem to have been around for ages. For example, there are TIA-942, ANSI/BICSI 002 and Uptime Institute to name a few. A deeper look shows that these concepts and standards only cover small portions of the entire data center infrastructure design and/or are commercial concepts from profit-oriented organizations.

Now, the family of data center design standards gets a new member. The new European standard series EN 50600-x (Design of “Data Centre Facilities and Infrastructures”)—scheduled to be completed by Q1 2016—will be a new a comprehensive European reference for all parties involved in designing, building and operating data centers. Developed by CENELEC, an independent, non-profit European standards organization, it is commercially neutral and internationally applicable as it references ISO/IEC standards.

As part of this series, the EN 50600-2-4 standard, published in January 2015, covers the “Telecommunication Cabling Infrastructure.” My whitepaper covers two aspects that are vital to understanding EN 50600-x:

  • General concepts, structure and definitions of the standard series
  • Requirements of EN 50600-2-4 for the telecommunications infrastructure

The seven standards of the 50600-series adopt a holistic approach covering all aspects of the design of data center facilities and infrastructures including management and operational information. The following graphic shows the structure and the relationships between all EN 50600-x standards.Hans_WP_Chart_2

The key advantages of EN 50600-x are:

  • Provides design principles for data center designers and owners
  • Defines a straightforward classification system for availability and physical security
  • Gives guidance about the selection process for the required overall data center design parameters
  • Offers as sole data center design standard an energy efficiency enablement approach that provides a basis for all energy efficiency KPI concepts
  • Defines non-profit oriented certification criteria

Hans_WP_Cables_3(3)Regarding cabling in data centers, the EN 50600-2-4 mainly focuses on cabling architecture for the different data center availability classes with strong emphasis on migration and growth. In the short or medium term, data center owners and operators are faced with the necessity of migrating to higher speed networking applications and re-designing the switched networking concepts from traditional three-tier to spine/leaf.

Both tasks come along with adding cables to the data center. Additional cabling provides data center owners a headache in almost all cases, because the initial cabling infrastructure design did not include growth and migration concepts. Many of us have seen the result of unstructured growth as shown in these pictures.

If you want a better understanding of the new EN 50600-x standards for data centers, please download your copy of the "Data Center Cabling Design Fundamentals" white paper. Your questions and comments are most welcome. Please use the comment section below.

Article was originally published on January 18, 2016