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How to get a quote for a datacenter ? what am i not thinking of?

Posted on 2011-09-21
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
How to get a quote for a datacenter


I wanted to research the cost of a collocation for my company and need to know what information is generally needed for pricing , I think that I would need the physical size to calculate the amount of racks we would need in “U” . I am a thinking also I would need to know the wattage of each server?  Anyone have any thoughts on this ?
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Question by:NAMEWITHELD12
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Dave Baldwin earned 84 total points
ID: 36575604
I think I'd be lazy and call a few datacenters and see what they tell you that you need.  Then make a list and go back and get your quotes.
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by:Callandor
Callandor earned 83 total points
ID: 36576124
You should also specify how much bandwidth your servers need, as well as power and cooling requirements.
If a piece of hardware fails, what is the expected turnaround time for the different devices?
What about your applications?  How will you keep them updated with the latest data, as well as the latest patches and releases?
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by:Tomunique
Tomunique earned 166 total points
ID: 36581447
There's multiple levels of people to deal with in a DC build.

Physical facility - are you buiding out a room in your existing building? or shopping for floor space in near by buildings?  or building from the dirt up?

Size - obviously just speaking to real-estate agents, you need to know what your shopping for. or how much of your existing building you're going to take.

est heat / power
  Your air handlers will take up room also, how many tons of air will you need?  
   remember to count the poeple in the room? (in the old days, shifts of operators and tape handlers added up)
   wattage, your PDUs will take up space, and generate heat.  You can move your UPS systems to another room in the building,  Note, UPSs (racks of batteries) are very heavy...

Weight
If you're building above the first floor (or if you have a basement below you), you need to know  You may have to reinforce the flooring to support your DC.  Racks of disk drives (SAN equipment, storage arrays etc, as well as the UPS equip.  is all very heavy).  
You may require special tiling for a raised floor.  
Where do you need ramps to support equipment coming and leaving the facility.
Do you have, or will you have a loading dock?

City building codes...
   Does your area require EPO (emergency power off) buttons at all exits?
   Does your area require "push to exit" buttons?
   What fire suppression do they require / or not permit? (used to be halon was common, now it's taboo)
   Speaking of Halon, do you need any special ventilation for the room?
    Water leak detection around air handlers?
    Diesel power Generator rules? (noise and fuel tank leak prevention)
    etc etc

Power to DC -
   UPS systems are really not intended for long-term support.  They clean the incoming power, and fill in the brown-outs.  But, full blackouts in your area, may require a generator.   How long can you afford to be down?
    We had a DC supporting a world-wide network, had two generators, as well as dual power feeds from local power grids.
   In your area, there may be feeds to the area from multiple power plants.  You can have feeds from multiple, so if the city has a power outage, you may stay up, as you're being fed from multiple locations.

Safety and security.
   What type of access to the room will you have Cardkey?  This requires in wall cabling to a central computer.
       Do you have windows in the room?  
       Windows add a lot of questions...  
                 security? Are they on an accessible floor? someone could break in?  One of our DCs faced a lower-income apartment complex.  A DC frequently has lights on at night, ours drew attention, and gun-fire.

                Windows affect your heating/cooling.  If you have a south/west facing window, cover it (not just for the security issue mentioned above, but the SUN will drive your cooling costs.  In a DC I worked in back in the 80s, was in an all-glass building,  we found the cleaning crews would open the blinds, it was very bright and cheerful in the DC... but, it doubled our electrical costs (which is how we detected the problem).

Below floor, or above floor cabling?
  While power will generally run under the floor, will you run all your cat5/fiber / phone cables above or below?
   If it's below, will you run trays under the floor? or just run bundles?

speaking of cabling, cables weight adds up because there's so many of them, don't ignore them.
They also add bulk, which can block air-flow below the floor.

Gotta run, but we're just scratching the surface....  

Really though, a true dc build out isn't done online.  You need to talk to a contractor.

    What you're asking for is information for an RFP (request for proposal from contractors)
   Meet with a DC Contractor to discuss.  They'll mention what I have above, and dozens of other things.
   Be honest with them, let them know you're going to be putting this out for bid.  But you need information on what to ask for in the BID.   This is good-will on their part.  If they won't answer your questions, then you probably don't want to work with them anyway.  It's in their best interest to have everything possible covered in writing.  They may show you bids they've given on other jobs (possibly edited to protect the other clients privacy).     these are many many pages.. not just blue-prints.

Good luck....

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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 167 total points
ID: 36582816
Umm, I think they just want colo space :)

OP covers most of it themselves, bandwidth that they missed covered in 1st comment.

A bit to add, physical access hours may be important and whether you're providing your own storage or using the datacenter's shared SAN.
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by:Tomunique
Tomunique earned 166 total points
ID: 36582888
LOL... wow... guess I should learn to read....  Thanks for pointing that out...
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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 167 total points
ID: 36583505
Other than that it was a excellent post, I'm particularly interested in cooling since that costs a heck of a lot in a conventional DC. We ought to be able to make money out of all the hot air, either sell it as hot water to a swimming pool or send it up a tall chimney to drive a turbine but we just vent it :(
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