How To Improve Your Data Center's MEP Infrastructure

Posted by John Collins on April 11, 2013

A growing number of critical factors are imposing intense burdens on today’s data center environments. Skyrocketing energy costs, ever-increasing power densities, aging equipment, and the explosion of virtualization and cloud computing are among the issues data center managers have been tasked with addressing. Additionally, most facilities that were built a decade, or more, ago don't have the MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) infrastructure to handle these new demands. 


To help older data centers better accommodate these new needs, experts recommend a variety of measures, including upgrading old uninterruptible power system (UPS) hardware; implementing rack or aisle containment;  updating power distribution systems; and installing or renewing monitoring management systems.


Upgrading a vintage data center’s MEP infrastructure will cost-effectively extend its lifespan by bolstering safety, enhancing flexibility and functionality, increasing serviceability, providing greater scalability, and improving customer perception. Yet the endeavor also comes with its own set of challenges—not the least of which include securing funding, working with outdated documentation, overcoming downtime risks, and ensuring code compliance.


Yet by following a few key steps and partnering with the right vendors, any organization can successfully upgrade the MEP infrastructure in a vintage data center. In this three-part series, we will cover nine actions designed to help you navigate the overhaul of your facility — starting with these first three steps:


  1. Assemble the right project team. Be sure to include stakeholders on the team. It’s also important to break down silos between the IT and facilities departments. Before starting the project, you should all agree on its goals and objectives. Next, select proven vendors to carry out the plan.


  1. Conduct a thorough assessment. Proper planning will help ensure your project runs smoothly. To begin with, review all of the current limitations within your facility. Next, identify all potential solutions.  Consult with experienced vendors to help you further evaluate your plan of action.


  1. Establish a business case.  Weigh the costs and benefits of your proposal, including non-financial considerations. Investigate the possibility of rebates and incentives, which can slash costs significantly. Finally, understand that your project will require application submission before you can begin. Once again, an experienced vendor can help you walk through all of the necessary steps.

Ready to start revamping your data center? Be sure to read the next installment of this post for additional tips on how to effectively update a vintage facility.






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