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  1. #1

    Floor Tile Technique (and perhaps a "small DC owners lounge")

    Hello WHT - long time lurker, first time poster.

    I own a medium-sized web hosting company based in Australia. We've traditionally co-located, but around a year ago we built a small (10 cabinet) facility for ourselves as our co-location options in our city are limited and I've been "done over" by two co-los thusfar - in short, co-lo in my region is just not worth the risks involved. Trying to convince me otherwise is frivolous - I'm probably an idiot. You've been warned.

    We're currently in the process of building out our second data room (another 20 cabinets) and have decided to use raised floors for cable management (we will continue to do in-row cooling because this is cheaper and easier). As we're on a bit of a budget, we've decided to do the computer room build ourselves - I've managed the build-out of a number of computer room facilities in the past, but have always used contractors to do installation of the flooring components. I've witnessed a number of floor installations rather intently and there appears to be a two different techniques, namely:

    1. Start at a corner and work your way out (leaving a full tile along one edge of the computer room and working across the floor until completion and cutting respective rows to suit)

    2. Use string on nails to find the absolute center of the room, placing a tile in the centre and making a cross, and then building out from there.

    I'm thinking that option two will be more forgiving and I have ordered an extra 30 tiles more than I anticipated that I will need to account for screw-ups (of which there will be a couple, no doubt).

    How do you build your raised floors? What techniques do you use? Do you have any pointers for this armchair expert?

    Is anyone else building small computer rooms of this size? Does anyone else still do this themselves? What techniques can you share with us? I'd be keen to share knowledge and experience with others who are doing similar things to us - I love seeing other peoples techniques and sharing learning experiences!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Sheffield, South Yorks
    Posts
    3,480
    If you're doing in-row cooling why on earth would you want the hassle and expensive of raised flooring? Just use cable ladders, one ladder for power, one ladder for copper and maybe some lightrax etc. for fibre.
    Karl Austin :: KDA Web Services Ltd.
    UK Business Hosting and Managed Servers - Hosting for Business Users :: 0800 5429 764
    Call us today and ask about our hosting solutions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    102
    I have to agree with Karl - As you have in row cooling and a fairly small total footprint I'd suggest not bothering with a raised floor and doing all the cabling above rack. It is easier to manage and will be a lot cheaper than a raised floor system; plus it has the benefit of making the cabling visible so everyone has more incentive to make sure everything is neat and tidy!

    If you have to go with a raised floor system then definitely get a contractor in to fit it - A poorly fitted raised floor, especially a badly levelled one, is pretty dangerous and could cause a fair bit of damage to the equipment if it gives way.
    David Barker
    4D Data Centres - Independent UK based data centre operator http://www.4d-dc.com

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by KDAWebServices View Post
    If you're doing in-row cooling why on earth would you want the hassle and expensive of raised flooring? Just use cable ladders, one ladder for power, one ladder for copper and maybe some lightrax etc. for fibre.
    Just decommissioned an old ex-telco facility so I have a few hundred square metres of flooring to spare which was surplus to my needs. Under-floor cable management is (unfortunately) what my co-lo clients have been asking for - as much as I hate to pander to their needs, they do pay the bills...

    Quote Originally Posted by dbarker View Post
    I have to agree with Karl - As you have in row cooling and a fairly small total footprint I'd suggest not bothering with a raised floor and doing all the cabling above rack. It is easier to manage and will be a lot cheaper than a raised floor system; plus it has the benefit of making the cabling visible so everyone has more incentive to make sure everything is neat and tidy!
    As I have mentioned, cost is not a factor - the entire floor has cost me less than the monthly revenue for a cabinet, so this isn't of great concern. Before you ask, it's concrete, so no zinc whiskers (not that we're doing under-floor cooling anyway...)

    Quote Originally Posted by dbarker View Post
    If you have to go with a raised floor system then definitely get a contractor in to fit it - A poorly fitted raised floor, especially a badly levelled one, is pretty dangerous and could cause a fair bit of damage to the equipment if it gives way.
    Levelling is not my greatest concern - I've assisted with this before and am confident enough to do this with the help of my employees who have also assisted in this regard - but given your advice, I think it would be pertinent to hire an expert to assist with the build: I have a contractor that I have used for this work before - I don't doubt that he would be open to some assistance (he is the only contractor in our region for computer room access flooring, so it's not like he can bring extra people on board in any case!)

    I understand this may all seem a little foreign to those of you used to working with large telehouses - we don't really have the same luxury here. A cabinet in a decent telehouse costs between $1800-$2200/cabinet - and there is no guarantee that they won't up the cost by 50% after the first 24 months, because they *can*.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Ashburn VA, San Diego CA
    Posts
    4,571
    Raised flooring with overhead cooling? That's seriously what your clients demand?
    Fast Serv Networks, LLC | AS29889 | Fully Managed Cloud, Streaming, Dedicated Servers, Colo by-the-U
    Since 2003 - Ashburn VA + San Diego CA Datacenters

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    L.A., CA
    Posts
    3,706
    I heard about this happening in Brazil. In some markets, people have been taught that raised flooring was used primarily for cable management (?????) and are only now just getting it through their heads that ideally, there shouldnt be ANY cabling under the floor as in most circumstances its actually obstructing airflow.
    Also, putting up raised flooring for cable management, sounds like there will actually be a mess of UN-management and the flooring is to hide the mess.

    Ladder racks should be used for over head cable management.
    Raised flooring is for pressurized cooling solutions.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    North Kansas City, MO
    Posts
    2,565
    To answer the question and not whine about your plans, you start in the middle of the room and work out. If you start in a corner the room looks lopsided when you're done. The same technique you would use for a drop ceiling.

    As for using open air or over head cooling and just using the raised floor for cable management, there's nothing wrong with that. Lots of places do it that way. I prefer ladder racking but to each his own.
    Aaron Wendel
    Wholesale Internet, Inc. - http://www.wholesaleinternet.net
    Kansas City Internet eXchange - http://www.kcix.net

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