6 Data Center Design Best Practices

At Nlyte, we talk to quite a few infrastructure managers – at small to hyperscale organizations.  What we find consistently is that in order to design, create and maintain a highly efficient data center, organizations should adhere to the following common six best practices:

 1.  Use a Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solution.  Spreadsheets and other manual approaches cannot keep up with the changes occurring in a modern data center.  In order to perform accurate capacity planning and keep precise centralized records, an organization should deploy a modern DCIM solution.  This system not only provides data center visualization, robust reporting and analytics, but also becomes the central source-of-truth for changes being made in the data center.  DIM solutions have become ubiquitous in the data center and hybrid compute infrastructure, and deemed necessary with the complex rapidly changing technology footprint.


2.   Integrate, Integrate, Integrate.  The information within the data center can be leveraged by many other groups and systems within an organization.  Thus, in designing your data center and systems you should plan to integrate your core DCIM solution with other systems, such as building management systems (BMS), IT systems management (ITSM), and with virtualization management solutions like VMware and Nutanix.  In this way, your data center systems can synchronize information with other groups so that data center staff can perform their jobs most efficiently.


3.   Have a Power and Cooling Strategy.  A large percent of costs and risk of outages can be directly tied to the power and cooling that a data center uses.  To minimize costs and the potential of data center outages, infrastructure teams should consider what is their power and cooling strategy.  Specifically, an organization should control airflow & cooling via containment & active airflow management that provides modular power & cooling which scales with demand/expansion.  Then they should implement real-time and trend reporting to ensure they are keeping costs low and heading off any potential issues.


4.   Implement Workflow and Measurable Repeatable Processes.  A data center is a living organism that requires assets be deployed, updated and brought to end of life. One of the key design best practices is to make sure you use workflow and repeatable business processes so can ensure your resources are being maintained consistently and in a timely fashion and all actions are transparent, traceable and auditable.


5.   Optimize Datacenter Capacity Using Analytics and Reporting.  From the moment you design the data center, it is constantly being redesigned.  To keep up with these changes and ensure you always have enough space, power, cooling and networking, you need to have robust analytics and reporting to keep staff and management abreast of current and future capacity needs.  In this way, you avoid running out of resources when someone needs them.


6.   Automation, Automation, Automation.  A good data center design should plan to automate as many of the operational functions that personnel perform as possible.  This helps ensure infrastructure is deployed consistently in a single data center or across multiple data centers, while also helping to reduce costs and time personnel spend maintaining infrastructure.  Automation should occur at multiple stages, form on-going discovery asset discover and audit, to workflow, and cross system integration.

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