Standardization in the Data Center Design? When It Makes Sense

Tony Gaunt • January 22, 2019

When Vertiv identified data center normalization as a trend for 2019, we could feel a collective eyebrow raise across the industry. Today’s data centers are more complex than ever before, requiring tremendous attention to detail and designed with any number of outside variables in mind. With that in mind, are we really likely to see more standardized approaches to data center design? 

How much data center standardization are we talking about? 

After considerable discussion with our customers throughout 2018 and so far this year, we can definitively say … sort of. No, we’re not going to see cookie cutter data centers, replicated from site to site like your average chain of convenience stores. We are however likely to see limited but significant movement toward more standardized designs, equipment and facilities. We’re already standardizing on equipment components and adopting consistent design features across data center builds.  

What does this have to do with data center availability? 

Whilst there will always be differences related to regional demands, these are being minimized, and in many other ways, organizations are leveraging the advantages of more consistent data center designs.  

Those advantages are considerable, starting with reducing costs and simplifying systems both for those who operate these data centers and those who service them. Some level of standardization also helps equipment providers and data center builders to shorten deployment timelines. Remember, even standardized designs typically offer dozens if not hundreds of options, leading to facilities with countless combinations and permutations. In fact, in the interest of accuracy, we prefer to think of it as high-volume customization rather than standardization. 

Of course, all of this will happen only if the practices do not compromise data center availability and performance. If cost-effective standardized approaches do more to prevent downtime, they will be the choice. If they increase downtime risk, they will not be. Availability is and always will be king in the data center.

What do you think? Are we moving toward more normalized data center design? 

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