Floor Utilization Effectiveness: The Data Center Design Metric You’re Not Considering

Originally posted on Compu Dynamics by Steve Altizer, President, Compu Dynamics, LLC,

As a service provider to the colocation industry, we see the interiors of many wholesale, large retail and retail data centers both in the mid-Atlantic and around the country.  While power density design parameters have been slowly growing over time, the rate at which rack densities are increasing is clearly outpacing the rise in facility density (W / square foot).

Back in 2000, I was fortunate enough to be involved in some state-of-the-art data center design-build projects for a company that brings back memories to many — PSINet. Based in Northern Virginia, PSINet was one of the first commercial Internet service providers. At that time, I remember building some incredibly fault-tolerant facilities that could support as many as eight servers to a rack, nearly 2 kW. That was hot back then.

Recently, I was speaking with a cloud firm who is using 9’ racks that hold 114 servers and run at 16 kW per rack. My acquaintance told me that the company really wanted to use faster processors and run at 30 kW per rack, but that his colocation provider would not let them. The building, constructed only four years ago, simply was not designed to support that kind of power density.

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