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There is no doubt that the data center is the heart of any network operations, pumping the lifeblood (i.e., data) to and from users, storage devices and the worldwide web. The issues and trends surrounding data center infrastructure technology have been widely written about and explored in other CommScope and industry blog posts, covering areas such as the importance of effective management, the focus on efficiency, density and migration strategies.
However, when considering a new data center, the same initial basic questions remain to be answered:
- Where should the data center be located?
- How big should it be?
- How much power consumption can be expected?
- What is the uptime target?
- What are the technologies to use?
- How should the data center be laid out?
- How long is the life span?
At first these may seem easy as they have all been answered before, right? But the answers will also result in their own set of questions.
- Should we continue to use the same solutions and architectures?
- Space is already tight; what higher density options are available?
- What are the distance limitations for expected applications?
- What new standards do I need to be aware of, and how do I migrate to them?
Data center infrastructure design is significantly different to that of traditional structured cabling design for buildings and campuses. Even an experienced designer will need to familiarize themselves with data center specific standards, architectures and technologies. Integrating diverse technologies, combining different cabling types, and above all, making sure that the whole system performs reliably, creates a set of complex tasks. Critical issues that need to be addressed include:
- What is the network architecture that best serves my needs?
- How much network capacity and speed do I need?
- How can I plan for migration to new technology in the future?
- What are the trade-offs between expense and performance?
- Which media do I use (copper or fiber), and where?
Looking for detailed answers and advice in these areas? The SP8850 Pre-terminated Data Center Solutions course from the CommScope Infrastructure Academy aims to do just that. The objective of this course is to help students understand data center infrastructure technology and design. It discusses relevant industry standards for data center infrastructure, solutions for both copper and fiber optic cabling, and providing migration paths to the future. Network topologies and data center architectures are discussed with a view to optimum energy and space efficiency.
What other questions have you asked when designing a data center?