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Data Center EH&S 101

Monday, March 21, 2016  
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As of 2014, the data center colocation global market was valued at $25 billion, with stable growth expected into the future. As the cloud continues to evolve, the data center market will continue to grow. I estimate that nearly half of information technology and facilities manager budgets go into this area. Primary market drivers include:

  • Data protection (e.g., Sarbanes-Oxley)
  • Disaster backup capabilities
  • Growing financial sections (e.g., Internet banking) and various other online companies
  • Student distance learning (e.g., online degrees)
  • Data security/storage/resilience for corporations

At its most basic level, a data center is a building, or portion of a building, with its primary function housing a computer room and its support areas. A data center has four basic requirements:


1. Location—a place to locate computer, storage, and networking devices


2. Power—power needed to operate and maintain the devices


3. Cabling—connectivity provided to other devices, both inside and out


4. HVAC—temperature-controlled environment to meet suitable operating requirements


The challenges of effective data center operations include:

  • Site location
  • Reliability and availability
  • Power
  • Rack space
  • Heating and cooling
  • Environmental, health, and safety (EH&S)

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