Solid Support

Data Centres: building a solid foundation, reaching for the clouds

In the past few years, we have noted the increase in the demand for cloud computing services across many industries. As a result, there has an uptick in the demand for cloud storage spaces to host these cloud computing services. The cloud storage spaces are hosted in data centres built specifically for this purpose. For example, our Asta Vision and PM3 products are examples of cloud computing services that are hosted on cloud storages spaces in data centres. Without data centres, many of services that we use today will not be possible.  

Data centres have specific needs from other forms of construction projects. This can include IT services delivery components (firewalls, routers, servers, storage devices, etc), temperature control systems, power generation and distribution systems, and security systems. They are not just a giant warehouse that holds servers and air conditioning units. They are complicated building infrastructure that take skills to build and maintain.  

We have developed a niche skill in planning for data centres construction. We work with both the developers and builders on determining the construction methodology for the data centre. When building a data centre, here are some of the technical and commercial requirements that we consider:  

  • Authority Approvals: Data centres can be imposing structures. Their energy requirements do require specific locations to function, efficiently. So, they are often built in industrial estates or near to power sub-stations. This will impact the pre-construction process and timing. 
  • Subcontractor Letting: The building experience required for a data centre are more niche than your typical commercial, residential or mixed-use construction projects. Therefore, the vetting and experience of the sub-contractors are very important. 
  • Equipment Lead-time: The equipment required for a data centre are rarely off the shelf. Therefore, the procurement lead time can be very long as the manufacturers build them to order for each client.  Understanding the timing of equipment deliveries and impact on the installation sequence is vital to project success.  
  • Construction Design and Methodology: Generally, it has a big box design (warehouse style) with ancillary infrastructure surrounding it. Depending on the available space and design, the data centres can be single- or multiple-storey buildings.  
  • Commissioning: This is a critical component of the build. There are multiple stages of testing and commissioning throughout the build of the data centre. Successful delivery requires a detailed commissioning programme to navigate the complex process of commissioning.  
  • Reporting: Due to the growing demand of Data Centres and quick build timeframes, the project programme reporting can be quite detailed and technical. There is a more collaborative approach in data centres construction. We can develop progress and status reporting systems from simple reports to automated dashboards 

 

Get in contact with us to help you plan your next data centre. Our experienced team can guide you and your team on any of our current or future building projects.  

About the writer

Daren Maynard BSc (UWI), MSc (Warwick), PhD (UTS) MIISE, PMP®. works as the National Training Manager at Solid Support. He is an Industrial Engineer specialising in Projects Portfolio Management. In the past 15+ years, he has taught at all levels of education. This teaching experience has been concurrent with his project management experience.