Steps to Building a Low Cost In-house Data Center

Have you wondered what it would take to control your digital assets in-house? It may be easier than you think when you consider these steps to building an in-house data center.

There has been a lot of discussion lately about transferring all of your company’s digital assets to cloud based services. While that can make sense if your business moves a large amount of data on a regular basis, but there are also many benefits to installing a Data Center inside your facility. There are valid reasons for keeping some servers on site that you should consider, such as storing important financial records, client information, and personnel data. An in-house data center provides the means to safeguard and protect these assets from hackers or large scale cyber-attacks.

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What is an In-house Data Center?

A data center that is installed inside your facility gives you more control, privacy, and protection of your valuable digital assets. An in-house data center is designed to form a rectangle around hot or cold server aisles. They can be installed in an open space or to fit inside an existing room. A layout can consist of any number of server racks, but many in-house data centers will typically house 2 – 8 server racks.

How do I know which Containment System will work Best?

FabraCraft manufactures an economical line of pre-assembled brackets and panels that make creating a data center enclosure fast and easy to do. These light weight brackets can be attached to drop ceilings or structural beams in any size or configuration to house any number of server cabinets. So, whether you want to create hot or cold aisle containment, these bracket and panel systems are an efficient, effective, and low cost solution to protect servers from overheating.

inside data center enclosure - FabraCraft

Inside view of a bracket and curtain installation in a hot aisle layout.

rectangle data center curtains - FabraCraft

Ceiling mounted brackets are used to hang data center curtain panels to form a hot aisle enclosure.










 Look for the Best Location in your Facility to Install a Data Center

There are several observations you’ll need to make to determine the best layout for installing a data center in your facility. Taking the time to understand where your HVAC and CRAC units are located will help you to better understand how you can make an effective and efficient air flow plan.

This guide will help you to determine the best location for installing a data center enclosure:

1. Power: The first decision to make when considering an in-house data center is to know whether your facility has enough reliable power to handle the number of server units you want to house on-site. Your IT department can help you to determine the amount of energy you’ll need to run the number of servers you have in place. It is a good idea to ask a professional electrician if an upgrade in electrical wiring or additional outlets are needed before you begin.

2. Server Backup: A back-up system or source should be in place that will protect your servers in case of an emergency.

3. Clean Area: Look around the facility to find a clean area that is free of dust and debris in order to minimize contamination.

4. Air Input and Output is Important: Determine where your air input and output vents are located. Many times a work around with air ducts is required to bring enough cooled air into the data center enclosure. You will need to know where the cooling air ducts originate and how the hot air (return air) can dissipate or travel away from the servers. Using existing ducts and stationary walls may reduce costs and make it easier to achieve total air containment.

5. Hot or Cold Aisle Containment: Knowing your air flow plan will help to determine if you should use hot aisle containment or cold aisle containment. The location of the cooling input system should be able to deliver the temperature required to cool the servers. A set point is necessary and should be established to provide consistent cooling temperatures to the server units. (A temperature set point should be determined by your IT department)

6. Fire Detection: Sprinklers or VESDA systems can be located or installed inside the enclosure as a way to signal a fire. Get help from your local fire department to determine if what you have in place will suffice with local fire codes. Lanyard Drop Brackets are an option that allow the curtain walls to drop down from the ceiling brackets and allow fire prevention systems to work.

data center air flow drawing - FabraCraft

7. Floor Plan: Take measurements of the server cabinets to create a floor plan, leaving enough space around and between cabinets inside the enclosure for air to circulate. Your layout should include a fire detection system, all server cabinets, and the size and type of entryway into the enclosure.

key to data center enclosure - FabraCraft

This color key will help you to visualize how data center curtains are used to make an air tight enclosure.





8. Ceiling Brackets: Look at the ceiling. There are two options for hanging brackets to create the walls of the enclosure. A drop ceiling method or suspension brackets from structural ceilings. The best way to install the brackets is usually determined by the size and layout requirements of the enclosure. Drop ceiling brackets attach to drop ceiling Tbars with the use of caddy clips. This is an economical option that is easy to do and does not require a professional installer. Suspension mounting on structural ceilings require a track system that the brackets will mount to. This typically requires a professional installer, but is easy enough for maintenance staff to install if they have a lift.

data center curtains on drop ceiling - FabraCraft

Brackets are mounted to drop ceiling Tbars to provide air flow control and temperature containment.

suspension mount data center enclsoure - FabraCraft

Brackets can be mounted to structure members to create a custom configuration for an enclosure.







9. Walls of the Enclosure: The walls of the enclosure can be made using clear vinyl data center curtains or rigid plexiglass panels. Data center curtains are a low cost option for restricting air movement and for controlling temperature zones inside the enclosure. Rigid panels are plexiglass windows that are encased in aluminum frames and provide a more stable option. Rigid panels can be mounted to the floor, the ceiling, and the top and sides of server cabinets to control air flow patterns in and around the server cabinets.

data center enclosures for hot / cold air containment

10. End Aisle Containment: Creating an entryway is needed to provide employees and maintenance workers access to the server units. End aisle containment is used to complete the enclosure. An economical solution for server aisle doors are vinyl strip doors, and other more durable options are available such as aluminum sliding or hinge doors that can be mounted to the server cabinets, floors and ceiling.

11. Pre-assembled Data Centers: Pre-assembled data centers are a fast, easy, and economical way to create an in-house data center. There are several bracket options that allow you to quickly build a new data center, or modify an existing one inside your facility. The brackets and panel systems assemble to create any size room layout and can be modified to work around obstructions. The pre-assembled systems are designed so that they are easy to replace and can be added on to as expansion needs grow.

Visualize your Data Center Plan to create a Room Layout

data center containment picture - FabraCraftFollowing these steps will help you to visualize what a data center should look like and what information is needed to begin your project. FabraCraft’s easy to install and low cost bracket and panel options are effective in controlling air flow patterns and containing temperature zones inside a data center. The flexibility of these bracket and panel systems provide energy efficiencies, rapid deployment, scalability, and better server performance.

Call FabraCraft at 888-692-8480 if you need help in finding the best possible way to install an in-house data center. All facilities are different, so each data center enclosure typically has unique attributes for its design and installation. Our team of designers will answer questions and offer suggestions should you need to work around obstructions. Our goal is to make your data center enclosure economical, air tight, and worry free!

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