FAQs - Design & Build

The design and build services including comment on the key topics of power, cooling, energy efficiency and security.

Floor loading is measured in KN/m² where KN stands for Kilo-Newton. A newton (N) is the International System of Units (SI) for measuring the derived unit of force. Server rooms and datacentres typically have raised floors under which cooling and wiring is routed. The floors are made up of floor tiles that sit on a network of pedestals which are in turn fixed to a concrete base.

The floor loading on a tile and the four pedestals on each corner is important when calculating how much weight a floor can support in terms of a server cabinet or local uninterruptible power supply or computer room air handling unit. Spreader plates can be used to reduce the weigh on a single point loading. Structural engineers provide the necessary measurements and calculations for floor loading design and assessments.

It is important when designing a server room installation with a raised access floor to ensure the point loading value is not exceeded. Standard gravity is 9.80665 N/kg and so to convert KN/m² to Metric Tonnes/m² the following formula can be used: kN/m² X 1Kg/9.80665N = Kg/m².

Efficiency is a measure of the conversion of inputs to outputs. The higher the conversion ration the higher the efficiency. In terms of energy efficiency within a server room or datacentre environment the input for electrical equipment is electricity. Efficiency measurements (in percentage % terms) measure how much of the input power (Watts) is used to generate the output. The difference between this figure and 100% is wasted energy (normally in the form of heat and noise). Heat loss in a datacentre adds to the overall requirements for air conditioning. Energy efficiency in a server room or datacentre also affects electricity usage (measured on kilo-Watt-hours kWh). The higher the kWh of electricity used the higher the electricity bill for the period.

A BEMS is a Building Energy Management System and is an extension of a traditional Building Management System (BMS). A BEMS is a computer-based and controlled system that monitors and controls energy usage within a building’s electrical and mechanical systems including lighting, critical power systems, critical cooling, HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) fire systems, access and security. The purpose of a BEMS is to reduce operational costs and aid decision making when it comes to the optimising energy usage.

Form factor is a term used to describe the physical size and shape of a piece of computer hardware. The term is common within the IT industry and is used to identify how a piece of computer hardware should be installed: rack mount or tower form factor. If the device has a rack mount Form Factor a height will usually also be quoted in ‘U’. In a 19inch rack mount format 1U= 1.75inches or 44.45mm.

High Performance Computing is a way of clustering computing devices to achieve a far higher level of computational activity than can be achieved via single computer. HPC is a term commonly associated with Super Computers used to solve complex mathematical and engineering problems. The term is also used within the datacentre industry where servers are clustered.

The most commonly quoted temperature average for a server room is 20-25°C. Whilst the ASHRAE standard promotes a higher temperatures to reduce cooling costs the room temperature has to be comfortable for anyone working within it. Also if there are UPS systems with batteries in a server room or data hall, the batteries tend to age quickly in ambient environments above 30°C.

ISO 27001 is an international standard covering security management systems (SMS) including a risk assessment for physical security including the design of server rooms and the security of the data storage and processing assets within the room. Our consultants can provide an assessment to ISO 27001 including a gap analysis and plan to pass assessment to the standard by an external auditor.

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