Rightsizing – the act of making something an appropriate or optimal size – is an important concept in data centers. Data center rightsizing helps you not only plan for current resource utilization, but also for future business needs and growth.

If you “undersize” your data center, it may not provide the resources necessary to support your organization. This can lead to unplanned business disruptions, slowdowns or other reliability issues. But “oversizing” your data center can lead to wasted energy, operating costs and capital.

The bottom line: Inefficient data centers cost more money, no matter if the data center is inefficient due to frequent downtime or because of infrastructure investments you’re not using. Data center rightsizing can optimize the infrastructure you have in place, reduce operating costs and provide room for future growth.

Instead of designing your infrastructure system to be “grown into,” it can be designed for flexibility and scalability so you can optimize data center space without requiring a huge footprint. There are three components to consider in data center rightsizing:

  1. Cabling
  2. Racks and cabinets
  3. Cable management

By investing in modular, scalable and standardized components, you can add to your infrastructure as needs change – without necessarily having to add more space.

Although data center rightsizing is most easily done when designing a new data center – or during a data center redesign – it’s also possible to improve space utilization and rightsize your existing data center even if a large redesign isn’t planned.

A data center that isn’t under- or oversized ensures that enough power, cooling and space are made available to meet business and operational goals. Here are four ways to improve data center rightsizing …

1. Make Use of Vertical Space

Vertical growth allows more data center equipment to occupy the same square footage. Most traditional racks and cabinets offer between 42 and 45 rack units (RUs) for mounting equipment. Taller racks can provide up to 58 RUs of space (and should have larger weight thresholds to safely hold the additional equipment).

Rack-mount solutions used on ladder racks above cabinets can provide vertical rack space that will let your data center grow without taking up floor space. Patching above the rack or cabinet is also another way to use above-the-rack space more efficiently.

2. Invest in Small-Diameter Cables

Cables with small ODs (outside diameters) save space by increasing the number of cables permitted in pathways. A smaller-diameter cable also offers more rack space for equipment instead of cable management. Lastly, smaller-diameter cable improves cabinet airflow, potentially reducing cooling needs.

3. Implement Zero U Solutions

Racks take up considerable floor space. If you’re not efficiently using cabinet or rack space, new racks may have to be purchased – which takes up even more physical floor space.

Non-traditional connectivity, such as Zero U solutions, can also maximize rack potential, allowing you to move high-density connectivity options completely out of the rack and along equipment mounting rails instead. This reduces the number of racks you have to purchase – which means you don’t need to eat up floor space trying to find a spot to put them.

4. Increase Cabinet Power Density

Providing more computing power at less cost per square foot allows you to support more density per rack – which means less occupied floor space.

Accommodating more server and storage equipment in your existing data center footprint while using fewer cabinets increases your return on investment.

What other ways have you used to rightsize your data center – ensuring that it’s not too big or too small? If you need help getting started, we’re here to help. We can show you ways to maximize your data center space so you can efficiently maintain and scale your business.