Data Center Flooring Replacement

December 15, 2020

data center flooring replacement

The volume of data in the world is growing exponentially. Whether businesses host data in their own data centers or via a cloud provider, they want to know those centers are secure and properly maintained. Data centers need adequate computing power, storage space and networking capabilities to operate, and all these components are housed in a physical space. The design and maintenance of this building are essential to ensuring smooth operations.

6 Things to Consider When Replacing a Data Center Floor

Data center flooring plays a vital role in maintaining smooth operations at your data center. When it comes time to replace the flooring, it is best to turn to a professional. What do you need to know about data center flooring replacement? The following are key points to consider:

1. Replacement Timing

Raised flooring systems last approximately 20 years. If your data center flooring is reaching that age or you notice visible signs of wear and tear, it is likely time to consider a replacement plan. In some cases, you may only need to replace a few damaged panels. If your system is at or near the two-decade mark, it is more likely you’ll need to replace the entire raised floor system, not just the panels.

This requires considering the substructure of the flooring system. You also need to consider the weight-bearing specifications of your flooring system. Is it designed to support the equipment currently in use in your data center? As flooring systems age, their weight-bearing capacity can decline, and old flooring systems are at a higher risk of collapse.

A professional can assess your flooring to determine the best way to move forward, whether that is replacing a few tiles or replacing the entire flooring system.

2. Data Center Layout

When replacing your data center’s old flooring system, it is important to consider layout options. Raised flooring systems are designed to support proper airflow and cable management. How equipment is arranged on top of the flooring system can affect data center operations. Proper layout practices to keep in mind include:

  • Parallel organization: Data center equipment is arranged in aisles. When the equipment is placed, ensure it is parallel to the raised floor tiles, rather than sitting on an angle. In an angled arrangement, the weight of the equipment is improperly distributed.
  • Cable access: Data center equipment must be placed on raised flooring systems in a way that allows access to the cables beneath the floor. Tiles located in front of each cabinet in a data center should not be covered, allowing easy access. If any cabling issues arise, technicians are able to move the floor tiles easily.

3. Temperature and Airflow Control

Proper temperature control is an essential element of data center operations. High equipment loads need airflow management and cooling. When replacing old flooring with a new raised flooring system, you can utilize a hot and cool aisle layout. The raised flooring system can deliver cool air, while the server racks are arranged so the cold air intakes and hot air exhausts face one another. This approach results in measurable energy savings.

During the replacement process, professionals can help you determine if there are any “hot spots” in your data center. These warmer areas can be caused by airflow patterns or improper tile placement. Professional installation can help ensure the right number of vented tiles are strategically placed to alleviate this common data center issue. After installation, regularly check to ensure nothing is accidentally placed over the vented tiles and interfering with the facility’s airflow.

4. Downtime

Any downtime, particularly unplanned downtime, is costly for data centers. Issues like cyberattacks and power failures are common causes of data center downtime. But, data center floor replacement does not have to mean interrupting operations. A professional company like DataSpan can use specialized equipment to efficiently and effectively replace a data center’s raised flooring system without interrupting operations, which ultimately leads to cost savings.

Additionally, an up-to-date flooring system reduces the risk of unplanned downtime due to old flooring. Old flooring translates to energy inefficiency and increases the risk of damage to a data center’s equipment. Consider how old your data center’s flooring is and consider the potential risk of continuing operations without an upgrade.

5. Data Center Flooring Maintenance

Once you invest in replacement data center flooring, you want to take care of that investment. You can ensure your data center’s flooring lasts as long as possible by committing to a regular maintenance and cleaning schedule. Important steps to take include:

  • Specialized anti-static cleaning services: Dust and other debris can affect a data center’s equipment. Routine specialized anti-static cleaning services will protect your floor and other important infrastructure assets, as well as your staff.  The best way to eliminate downtime is to stop problems before they start.
  • Replacing worn partsWhile an entire flooring system can last many years, it is possible some smaller parts may need to be replaced more frequently. Conduct a visual inspection of the raised flooring, particularly in high-traffic areas, to see if any of the panels or parts need to be replaced.
  • Professional inspections: While you may be able to recognize and address some minor maintenance issues in your data center’s flooring system, it is important for a qualified technician to conduct an assessment on an annual basis. A professional can recognize any maintenance issues that need to be addressed, particularly internal damage that may be difficult to spot.

6. Scalability

As the volume of data rises, so will the demands on data centers. When you decide to make an upgrade in your data center, it is important to know that investment will help support current operations and future growth. The modular design of raised flooring systems gives data centers the benefit of scalability. Facilities can add more vented tiles to manage higher heat loads. Additionally, cables are stored beneath the flooring system, which leaves space for overhead cooling systems if necessary.

Trust DataSpan When It’s Time for a Replacement

Is it time to replace the flooring in your data center? DataSpan offers cost-effective solutions that have the flexibility to meet your needs today and provide the option for scaling in the future. Find out how our raised floor solutions can help improve your airflow and cable management without disrupting your facility’s operations. Contact us today to learn about raised floor replacement tiles and how we can help upgrade the flooring at your data center.