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Why Data Centers need to be Floored right!

Things are looking up at the data center and that’s why sometimes we forget to look down. At the floors below.

Ever thought about how a data center has hundreds of computers and heavy cabinets stacked all through the room. Imagine the sheer weight on the floor. And that’s what we are going to do here — understand and evaluate why floors are crucial to data center functioning.

How much floor loading capacity you need depends on the amount of equipment and how it is stored. One needs to determine how much the cabinets weigh, how tall and wide they are, and how much they weigh when completely filled with equipment because that will affect their pounds per square foot (PSF). Here’s a rough estimate: A 3,000-lb. cabinet of 8.8 square feet will exert 160 PSF. So the floor has to be sturdy enough to hold that weight.

Another aspect to consider is the material for the flooring. One of the most versatile materials is concrete, which can dispel server heat and static electricity, is easy to clean, and is long-lasting. Like concrete, vinyl and rubber tiles are also great for dissipating static electricity. For a server room with heavier server loads, you may want to consider cement as it is stronger and can provide stable support for servers. Steel flooring is another option as it can help reinforce server room floor tiles. It is also better to install anti-static carpets on the raised flooring to dissipate static electricity flowing throughout the server room.

Raising the question of raised flooring

Raised floors, which are floors consisting of removable tiles that are installed on the supporting structure, have become a regular feature at modern data centers as they make it easy to install equipment and cables. Raised floors are more efficient and much less expensive than systems mounted near the ceiling. It is easier to run cables under raised floors than it is to pull cables from the ceiling. Also, systems mounted near the ceiling tend to build up heat as the temperature near the ceiling is higher than the floor.

There are different types of raised floors: Pedestal and floating (movable) raised floors for instance. In the former, removable tiles are used at column-fixed-height pedestals and are at a height of not less than 150 mm from the floor base. The floating design is similar but built at the height of 460 mm from the floor and the vertical seismic load is absorbed by the dampers and springs in the support cylinder. To improve ventilation, the tiles installed here are perforated. Tiles for service under the raised floors must be removable so they can be shifted to other places.

When designing the raised floor, ensure there is:

  1. Sufficient air conditioning for cooling the equipment

  2. Consideration for the limitations of mechanical load

  3. Enough free space to install the equipment, keeping future requirements in mind as well

And finally, the importance of lightweight accessories.

In a data center, every piece of equipment adds to the floor load. So, choosing lightweight accessories can help ease some of that load. Hardy Racks for instance has a range of lightweight accessories that you can choose from, popular among them being the Two Post Open Racks which are both durable and lightweight.

Whatever your hardware needs, the service personnel at Hardy Racks can help, ensuring that you always receive state-of-the-art accessories suited to the needs of your data center.

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