Data centre design and planning
At Strategic Directions we design and plan data centres for the long-term. We closely examine the corporate objectives of an organisation and deliver systems that are robust, flexible and available when they are needed.
Our experience is extensive and includes master planning for
one of Australia’s most exciting and innovative ICT projects –
the Polaris Data Centre at the Springfield city of the future
Assessing the options
When designing a data centre, good planning is essential.
We begin with understanding financial feasibility, and a full review of core systems and services infrastructure, such as power, communications systems, water and cooling. If these are not up
to standard performance can be compromised.
Because we understand the factors that might jeopardise a smooth operation, we evaluate the options and plan accordingly.
Site location can be critical for new centres, and our data centre specialists work with you on the selection criteria and examine any issues concerning compliance.
Our reviews also cover existing centres, and we examine all aspects of the operation, from facilities and lifecycle management to the effectiveness of systems infrastructure in meeting business requirements.
Managing new technologies
Modern ICT systems are undergoing significant change as a result of increased business reliance, consolidation and virtualisation.
The impact on the data centre environment is extensive, resulting in design reviews and potential relocations.
There are many issues to consider. For example, power loads are increasing through the use of blade servers and storage arrays. This means cooling system capacity can be insufficient in removing the heat load, which in turn may lead to power and water supply problems.
The extra weight of fully loaded IT racks and associated infrastructure can exceed the safe floor loading of many multi-story buildings.
In this complex data centre environment, expertise is required in many areas across multiple disciplines. Someone must manage power reticulation and cooling systems, and maintain infrastructure such as diesel generators, UPS batteries, cooling towers, condensers and chillers.
These are critical areas, but many data centre teams are
ill-equipped to handle them.
Data Centre teams are typically staffed by IT professionals with skills in software, hardware and communications. Few have the electrical, mechanical and structural knowledge necessary for effective design enabling a smooth operation.
Strategic Directions works with you to ensure there are no holes in your data centre management.
Before presenting data centre options, Strategic Directions works through the design criteria with clients to ensure our proposals are in line with corporate objectives including business and technical expectations.
A critical area of the design is data availability and the level of redundancy, or systems back-up, that is required.
High availability is achieved through redundancy of essential infrastructure and having contingencies for events such as power failures. Scheduled maintenance can also result in network downtime unless carefully planned.
The eventual configuration of the facility is established by undertaking a full risk assessment and working with the client on the ideal level of system accessibility.
A fully redundant, fault-tolerant system is an absolute necessity for some organisations, but an unnecessary expense for others.
Physical access and data security is an area that cannot be compromised, and Strategic Directions advises highly robust technologies and management systems to provide the highest level of protection.
Redundancy can come at a cost, and Strategic Directions is able to determine the most effective resilience model within your financial objectives.
Scalability and flexibility is extremely important for an effective data centre design.
It’s a significant risk to the business in building a centre that is functional today and past its use-by date tomorrow.
At Strategic Directions we place great emphasis on scalability – systems that allow for growth and the introduction of new technologies.
We can advise on the most appropriate modular systems that can be upgraded quickly to take advantage of an improved business environment or the introduction of additional services for your customers.
And unlike most data centre design companies, Strategic Directions is vendor independent. This means we select data centre infrastructure solutions on performance, capacity, price and project suitability.
Deciding on the most appropriate technology is just part of the equation.
When analysing your corporate objectives, Strategic Directions also considers the most effective data centre management plan for your organisation.
Options may include sharing data centre facilities, managing the centre in-house or outsourcing facility management to another service provider. Strategic Directions can provide a full cost-benefit analysis of the options.
Part of our service involves supporting client IT staff, including mentoring and training, or supporting the business in obtaining appropriate skills.
We put in place management performance and reporting systems, as well as support with lifecycle planning to ensure you gain maximum value from your data centre investment.