Data Center Design: To Raise the Floor or Not?

Data Center Design: To Raise the Floor or Not?

A raised floor in Sri Lanka (as in most countries) is almost considered a norm in Data Centers and Server Rooms. This is so true that we’ve run into scenarios where clients have been told by their landlords (the over bearing ones that poke into everything a tenant does in their space) that if they are having a Server Room, then they need to have a raised floor.

Before you go out and spend anywhere between LKR 1,500/- to LKR 4,500/- per Square Foot for a Standard 300mm – 450mm raised floor that can accomodate a point load between 800lbs and 1500lbs ask yourself: DO I NEED A RAISED FLOOR?

Traditionally, Raised Floors are versatile structures that allow for neater Cable Management, better Airflow Management and an added layer of safety against possible Water Damage. Now however, we find that Raised Floors over time are negating their own advantages, where bunches of cables are impeding Airflow, and older raised floors are starting to let air leak out, causing inefficiency in Cooling Design, and general safety hazards.

Today’s Data Center Owner/Operators have plenty of options to proceed without installing a raised floor, allowing them to save on the CapEx, and also in the future OpEx involved in cleaning, maintenance, and inspections. In terms of Cable Management overhead Busbar Trunking for Power, and Cable Raceways for Copper/Fiber Data Cables are possible. For Cooling: In Row units, and even In/Above Rack units are now available bringing the source of cold air even closer to the rack. These new cooling technologies together with Hot/Cold Aisle Containment are allowing Server Rooms and Data Centers without Raised Floors to be even MORE energy efficient than those with them.

In summation, don’t install a Raised Floor just because you think you have to, or some one tells you to. Get a Data Center Consultant to take a look at your proposed space, and your list of requirements before giving you a good design that can be implemented with optimal CapEx/OpEx savings, and Energy Efficiency as the key features. If it is in your best interest to get a Raised Floor Installed, then you should always know what kind of Height, and Load Bearing Characteristics your floor should have, and ensure that your contractors are in fact meeting these requirements during the initial construction phases without waiting for final UAT (User Acceptance Testing) because it will be too late by then.

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