The North Campus Data Center: Thinking Ahead

Reflecting upon our visit to the North Campus Data Center this past Thursday, I found myself impressed with the thought process behind many of the features in the facility. What could happen in the future was highly considered during the building of the center. 

To start, I took note of various security features that will protect the center in case of a security breach or power loss. Our guide told us that there are 68 cameras inside of the building, in addition to cameras all along the outside of the building as well. He even informed us of the cameras inside of all elevators in the center. Additionally, I found the BDF room to be a smart feature as well. In order to access the room, people only need to enter the hallway and not an other rooms. Most of the people entering the BDF room are third party vendors, such as AT&T to work on the internet service. The room is strategically located in order to limit the amount of access to other parts of the data center. The primary source of data security lies in the duplication of the “brain” floor in the Arbor Lake data center in order to further prevent complete loss of data. It is interesting to think about how important security is in a data center in comparison to other information centers. The loss of data has so many negative consequences, such as an invasion of privacy for the people the data is about and the inability to make calculations and analyze the data.

I was also impressed by the data center’s leaders’ anticipation of their future growth. In many of the rooms we visited, our guide informed us that there were spots held open in order to build another tool. For instance, in the chiller room, there is an open space meant for a third chiller to be placed when the time comes. It is vital to think about the future and anticipate growth, especially in today’s society where we have more information and data being created every day than the day before. 

One might think that thinking in the moment is sufficient, but this is not always the case. There are situations when future planning is necessary to succeed in the present. A data center, for instance, is something that must be thought about in the future, in addition to the present, as it could potentially not exist if prevention methods are not taken. 

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1 Response to The North Campus Data Center: Thinking Ahead

  1. kristenmayer says:

    I think it’s a good idea for datacenters to not only anticipate growth, but to be prepared for it. Today, data continues to grow at such an increasing rate, that it is almost necessary to always be able to improve your datacenter to keep up with it, or else you risk becoming obsolete. I guess the problem for most datacenters, even thouse who plan ahead, comes when data has surpassed what they had the capacity to plan for (Since datacenters do not have unlimited resources, they will eventually run out of space, or funding for equipment).

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