Data Center

The Million Dollar Question – Part 1


You’ve heard it before in interviews, sales meetings, political debates, and even on The Bachelorette. You’ve even asked it before when the decision was yours to make. You tee your prospect up with that classic question that basically invites them to leave it all on the table. Every ounce of drive to make the connection pours into this well-crafted, often thought of, highly rehearsed final petition.

When someone hears it, they know the bases are loaded. You have one last chance to knock it out of the park, or no one is going home happy.

You toss the pitch right to their sweet spot. It’s make it or break it, and then it’s out. “Why should I choose you?

Please allow me to swing away and tell you how we answer that question. When comparing data center providers you can expect that most will all have some things in common.

Power? Check

We’ve got the power! After all, why on earth did you choose to send your servers away to boarding school at FIBERTOWN prep? Because after the umpteenth time your building lost power to a forlorn and heartbroken squirrel who sacrificed himself to the local substation, you finally decided to make keeping the lights on someone else’s problem. FIBERTOWN standardizes on dual path power with independent and concurrently maintainable power distribution elements all the way through from the utility provider to the cabinet. This means one side can be maintained while the other side keeps you running. We plan to be up and running long after the zombie apocalypse has claimed everyone except the small contingent of American crossbow aficionados.

Cooling? Check

Don’t forget to pack your hoodie as you conveniently decide to complete that annual data center hardware audit you were supposed to do back in February.

Visiting a data center during July in Texas is like taking a dip in the pool, but you can justify doing it on the clock. Sufficient cooling in your tier II facilities is nice, but your more fault tolerant upper tier data centers will have room to compensate for a device failure.

FIBERTOWN employs fault tolerant installations of chilled water systems, CRAH/CRAC units (it means computer room air conditioner, we do not deal in narcotics), and resilient chilled water distribution systems all geared to keeping you and your critical infrastructure nice and chilly.

Security? Check

Levels of security will vary from perimeter fences and obscure, unmarked buildings to dual factor authentication with biometric scans and 24x7x365 on-site security staff. Sometimes you could see gun turrets, high fences with razor wire and armed personnel should you wish your servers, routers, and switches are securely incarcerated. These are easy line items to check off.

Serious facilities will lean towards the more secure methods including full-time security staff, solid locked down facilities, dual factor authentication and extensive monitoring of entry points to maintain accountability. The FIBERTOWN server zoo has no intentions of letting the lion out of its cage.

Connectivity? Check

Even tier II designed data centers will have bandwidth in spades. With your favorite carriers riding other carriers the last mile, you can bet you get what you need for connectivity. Both FIBERTOWN data centers sit on a nexus of fiber connectivity, otherwise we may as well have named ourselves COPPERTOWN.

So what is the difference? Are all data centers alike? You are deliberately avoiding answering the million dollar question!

There is one more key differentiator. Can you guess what it is? Stay tuned and check out part two of The Million Dollar Question!

Data Center

A Beginner’s Guide to Data Center Cooling Systems


Data center cooling is boring and so is oatmeal.  My doctor tells me that oatmeal will lower my cholesterol and save my heart, so sometimes boring is a good thing.

Cooling systems are often overlooked in the creation of the data center, but excess humidity and heat can cause damage to data center infrastructure.

It is important to understand the pros and cons between the different types of cooling systems. Here’s some cool information about DC AC that you can take to heart (I promise we are done with the puns).

Water Systems

Water-based cooling systems require an outdoor chiller and pump with indoor variable frequency devices, controls, CRAH units, and filter and leak detection.

• Chillers are a pack with fins and fans. Fan blades are regularly lost and frequent repairs are needed.
• It’s necessary to ensure chillers don’t shut down in cold weather. With a lead and lag chiller, water must run constantly and special mechanisms must be in place. Cold climates require a glycol mix, which makes the system higher maintenance and more expensive.
• A failure within a single unit will result in cooling loss. A backup chiller is required for 2N redundancy.

With a chilled water loop, an outdoor pump is required to keep the water flowing. If this unit fails, you’ll lose cooling. A backup pump should be considered.

Variable Frequency Devices (VFD)
VFD are what control the speed of the pump. If you have multiple pumps, you’ll need multiple VFD.

Controls maintain the temperature of the chilled water loop. It will command the chiller on, control the orientation of valves, control the speed of VFD, monitor differential pressures, maintain status of temperature probes throughout the loop and monitor flow rate.

Chilled water loops require filtration. A sock is typically installed and must be maintained.

Leak Detection
Flowing water requires leak detection around joints and cooling units.

Gas Systems

Gas systems are similar to the cooling systems at your home. These are typically smaller units. Each indoor unit will correspond to an individual outdoor condenser unit. Because this is a gas system, freeze protection is less of a concern. These systems can be used for large deployments and will be less expensive than a chilled water system. The indoor cooling unit controls the operation of the outdoor condenser unit, which means less system intelligence is required. For small office data centers, this option will supplement your cooling as it is simpler to retrofit and is less expensive.


For more questions to ask when evaluating data centers
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