Data Center Design

A data center's design can tell you a lot about how reliable, efficient and secure it is. Understanding data center design means having the knowledge to evaluate data center models and choose the right one to meet your business requirements.

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3D data center design

Redundant Infrastructure

The more redundant components a data center has, the more uptime it provides. Redundancy is often denoted using "N". N represents what the data center needs to function at full load. N+1 represents an extra component. For example, if a data center requires 3 chillers, 4 chillers would be N+1. If the facility had 6 chillers, this would mean the data center could support the facility at full load if all primary chillers were to fail. For a cooling system to be fully redundant, all components of the system would have to be 2N. The most reliable data centers have fully redundant power, cooling and network systems. This means there is no single point of failure.

Important Aspect of Data Center Design

  • Power Icon


    Data center power systems can be configured in multiple ways. They can have dual substations, dual power lines, dual UPS, dual transformers and multiple generators. Click here to learn about different power configurations .

  • Cooling Icon


    There are also multiple ways to design a data center's cooling system, using chillers, CRACs or CRAHs, and hot aisle/cold aisle designs or containment. A data center might have dual water feeds to ensure cooling systems continue to operate if one line fails.

  • Network Icon


    For reliability, a data center should also have more than one network feed, preferably entering the property from different directions. For maximum reliability, the facility should have access to more than one network carrier.

Weather Resilience

Because keeping systems online is of upmost importance for a data center, it's important to ensure the facility can endure harsh weather conditions, such as high winds, hail and flooding. This is managed by choosing a low-risk location and building with thick concrete walls, a concrete, waterproof roof and a foundation that begins with drilling piers deep into the ground.

8 Layers Security


Data is valuable. This means designing for security is important, especially if the company must meet certain compliance standards, such as PCI, HIPAA or SSAE. Designing facilities with perimeter fencing, access gates, security booths and man traps helps ensure these standards are met. Entrances and exits to the facility should be minimized.


Because expensive equipment will have to be moved in and out of the data center, it's important to consider the path from the loading dock to the data hall. Minimizing or eliminating stairs, ramps and elevators is ideal. Read our blog post on designing for convenience and security to learn more.

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