Designing a Data Center for Security & Convenience

Feb 1, 2018 | Data Centers

Purpose-built data centers, also sometimes referred to as greenfield data centers, are designed to protect IT infrastructure and keep it running 24x7x365. Because these data centers are designed with IT in mind long before construction begins, they provide greater redundancy and resiliency than retrofitted facilities. However, these aren’t the only advantages to purpose-built data centers. In addition to these benefits, they provide a higher level of security and convenience. When tenants are moving and installing servers that cost around $2000-$4000 each, it’s prudent for data center operators to ensure that these processes are as convenient and secure as possible. Operators who design their facilities from the ground up have the most control over this optimization.

Data Center Access & Parking

Purpose-built data centers often have ample secure parking with convenient access from freeways and public transportation because owners have purposefully chosen the land with these features in mind. Before data center construction begins, owners and operators plan for customers to have secure parking and easy access from major freeways and airports. They also ensure trucks carrying servers and mission critical equipment can easily access the facility. Mindful owners/operators choose a site that is near enough to an airport and major freeways to be convenient, but not so close as to be affected by accidents.

Loading Docks

Loading dock adjacent to data center securityMany buildings that are retrofitted to be data centers have loading docks in the back of the building. Not only can this be an inconvenience but it is also less secure. Data center companies that have customer convenience and security in mind will build their facilities with the loading dock near the main security station, which is usually located toward the front of the facility. This allows the loading dock to be in the line of sight of data center security staff 24×7, ensuring the efficient movement of equipment and deliveries according to security protocols.

Staging Area / Burn-In Room

Not all data centers have a staging area, and this is something to consider before planning a migration. Staging areas allow equipment to be moved from the loading dock to a place where staff can assemble and test the gear before moving it into the data hall. Staging areas should have multiple outlets to test equipment with varying power requirements before moving it onto the white floor. For convenience, staging areas should be located near the loading dock.

Designing the White Floor

Depressed slab before white floor installationSome data center operators design the raised white floor over a depressed slab. Raising the white floor allows for the optimization of airflow in hot aisle/cold aisle data halls that accommodate high density deployments. Depressed slabs that are at least three feet deep are ideal for high-density cooling. When slabs are depressed, the tiles for the raised white floor are installed on the same level as the rest of the facility, allowing people and equipment to transition to the white floor without stairs or ramps.

Dedicated Office & Storage Space

Another convenient feature offered by some providers that design their own facilities is dedicated office space and secure storage for customers. Some data centers offer several thousand square feet of office space that customers can rent and customize. Dedicated storage space for equipment and tools can also be secured and customized with caging and security that meet company standards.


Having complete control of building design gives owners flexibility to plan for amenities to make the data center more comfortable and convenient for customers and staff. Some premier purpose-built facilities are designed with break rooms, lounge areas, offices, conference rooms, work spaces and network operations centers. Another premier amenity that some companies find convenient is a large presentation room for meetings or workshops. Some operators also store showers, cots, washers and dryers and MRE’s on site in the event customers or staff would need to stay a night or several days in the data center.

Seamless Transitions

In addition to having superior infrastructure, carefully designed data centers make migrations and new installations as painless and secure as possible. The transition from truck to staging area to data hall is seamless. To learn more about purpose-built data centers and the advantages they provide, download our white paper, Purpose-Built vs Retrofitted Data Centers.