For those of you that have read my past blogs or white papers, you know that holistic data center design is one of my passions.
In my holistic design white paper, I discuss the benefits of deploying a modular approach that allows for a standard and predictable space, ultimately providing better scalability, cost efficiency and ease of operation. Having standardized configurations for cabinets and spaces also eases installation by eliminating surprises.
While the idea of using a modular approach with standardized configurations is something to strive for during the design process, the greatest satisfaction comes when I actually see our customers putting it into practice. This is exactly what happened at the new MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta, Maine.
One trend influencing holistic data center design is the shift towards the use of an integrated project delivery (IPD) approach in large, complex construction projects. Established in 2007 by the American Institute of Architects’ California Council, IPD is a collaborative strategic planning process that requires all stakeholders to collaborate throughout the entire planning, design and build process. While IPD relates to all aspects of building construction, owners can also use this approach to bring together a collaborative team early in the process to holistically design the data center and other network spaces.
MaineGeneral Medical Center used IPD for their entire construction process, including building a mock telecommunications room early in the design process complete with racks, pathways, cabling and connectivity. This allowed them to analyze the space for manageability and scalability and make adjustments as needed. Once the space was optimized for current and future needs, it became a standard template for the other 20 telecommunications spaces throughout the hospital—an excellent example of holistic design at work.
In the new 3,000 square-foot data center, MaineGeneral also used a modular design approach where each pod features an identical end-of-row topology with hot-aisle containment. They also have enough space, power and systems in place to support an entire additional identical pod if ever needed.
By strategically planning and repeating a standard design for the data center and telecommunications spaces, MaineGeneral took the guesswork out of determining requirements during the building of the network. This played a major role in allowing them to have every network port live and ready to transmit critical healthcare information on opening day – and they came in millions of dollars under budget and well ahead of schedule. The use of holistic design will also allow them to achieve quick future rollout of additional IT equipment as needs change.
Mike Salvador is a 28-year industry veteran, living the challenge of operating efficient data centers, optimizing the performance of network devices and delivering highly available, highly agile, low-risk data centers. Mike served as Belden’s technical solutions manager from 2012 to 2015.