The Raised Floor Perspective-Utilizing Raised Floor Space

Space, Power density and redundancy are three highly important facets of any successful data center. Today I will turn my focus toward space. Data center raised floor space can be very hard to come by. Whether you are designing the most efficient layout for an enterprise center, allocating cage space for a colocation center or arranging an environment with in a cage, space is important. Most often more space cannot be added and when it can the cost will generally be substantial. Therefore it is paramount to effectively use all the space available at a given center. This is not always easy. Equipment on the floor such as PDUs, RPPs, CRACs and CRAHs can get in the way. Access clearances need to be provided and take up additional space beyond the footprint of the equipment itself. Structural pillars can present an obstacle to the overall space layout. Also cages that separate environments at colocation sites need to be taken into account. For various reasons data center floor layouts can change over time. Replacing old equipment with newer equipment that has a smaller foot print or customer turnover are just a few examples. Changes on the raised floor can leave equipment in the way of utilizing raised floor space most efficiently over time. Most people would not think to move critical IT infrastructure, however doing so can lead to more usable and revenue generating space.

Moving critical IT infrastructure requires a great deal of planning and team work. Once it is determined that moving a rack, cabinet or group of cabinets to another place will benefit the overall floor layout a plan must be made. Determining the time of the move is first on the list. Time must be allocated to allow for new power to be installed and network cabling to be run to the new location. Most IT infrastructure is important and required to be up and operating during normal business hours, therefore, if the move needs to be done during evening or weekend hours the man power must be scheduled accordingly.
The physical moving of the rack or cabinets is a key element of the overall move. Some of the new racks have casters (wheels) on the bottom, making them easy to roll and move across the raised floor. All that is required is to raise the legs on the rack to place the casters on the ground. Other racks, especially older ones, do not usually have casters. In order to move them across the raised floor a lift with wheels is required. Raise-N-roll machinery dollies works very well for this type of application. Using one on each side of the cabinet and strapping them together, the cabinet can be lifted up and easily rolled across the floor. If cabinets are joined together and are required to be moved together it is very important to go over the route as clearances can become an issue. Multiple cabinets can be more awkward to move and have less of a turning radius.
Good teamwork for the move is very important. Proper coordination for the power, network and physical move is required to ensure success. Making a plan with a time line and due dates is very useful. Having one person in charge of the move and delegating individual tasks will also aid in the overall process. The date of the move is of the utmost important and everyone involved knowing their responsibilities and tasks.
Designing and implementing the layout of a data center floor, whether its colocation or enterprise, can sometimes feel like playing a bad game of Tetris. Many factors go into how to place the IT infrastructure on the raised floor. The more room for that IT infrastructure though, the more revenue generating space. With the pace of changing technology, areas of raised floor may change over time and the best layout to utilize that space with it. Moving important, but stranded, IT infrastructure to a more dense location on the floor is a great tool for overall raised floor planning.


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