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Data Center Footprint

What is a Data Center Footprint?

A data center footprint is a measurement of the space taken up by the IT equipment in a data center. Generally, this measurement is expressed in square feet and may include an inventory of how many racks, cages, and cabinets are present.

What Does a Data Center Footprint Consist Of?

The following components are included in a data center footprint:

  • Space: The square foot measurement comes from the space that is used to hold the IT equipment and all other necessary infrastructure to keep the data center running, listed below.
  • IT equipment: The servers, storage, and anything else used to process and hold data for the organization.
  • Connectivity: Networking equipment that allows you to communicate within your data center and connect your entire data center to external networks.
  • Power and cooling: Data centers require cooling to operate and keep the data safe and require reliable access to power.
  • Environmental controls: The space surrounding the IT equipment also needs to be controlled with temperature, humidity, and other environmental controls.
  • Security systems: A data center needs to be kept safe from both human infiltration and natural disasters. Systems installed for fire prevention or ones that limit access to the building can also be part of the data center footprint.

How is a Data Center Footprint Calculated?

Once you have information on the size of your data center, IT equipment, power and cooling systems, environmental controls, and security systems, you can calculate the data center footprint. The floor space of all components used in the data center will give you the number in square feet. This can range from a few thousand square feet for a small data center to hundreds of thousands of square feet for larger operations.

Why is a Data Center Footprint Important?

Knowing your data center footprint is important for a few reasons. First and foremost, all pieces that make up a data center require energy, and the costs and demand for energy can get expensive quickly. Understanding what’s taking up the most space is the first step in identifying where efficiencies can be made, or making the decision to move to a shared space.

A larger footprint can also make processes less efficient. The space may be better allocated for other purposes or may be slowing down operations. In essence, knowing your footprint helps you recognize potential wasted resources and can help you save money and time.

Taking steps to reduce your data center footprint can also lead to decreased energy costs, additional space, and a reduced impact on the environment.

How to Reduce a Data Center Footprint?

Reducing a data center footprint can be done without moving data centers, but it may be in your best interest to move to a shared space to truly become more efficient and cost-effective.

  • Moving jobs based on workloads: Distributing jobs to fewer servers during high-workload periods can reduce energy consumption. During lower periods of demand, jobs can be split more evenly across servers.
  • Using virtualization: Through virtualization, organizations can consolidate servers and cut down on the number of physical computers that are required by using thin clients - computers that run using centrally stored resources.
  • Switching to newer IT equipment: Swapping out old equipment for new is generally a more energy-efficient move.
  • Consolidating storage and servers: If there are servers and storage you’re not using to their full potential, making consolidations can cut down on the footprint and power costs.
  • Moving to a shared space: Finally, if you find you are spending too much to operate your own data center, consider moving your infrastructure to a provider. Operating in a shared space can allow you to scale up and down resources as needed, paying for only what you use. Data center providers also tend to offer more state-of-the-art equipment, which is more energy efficient.

How TierPoint Can Help With Your Data Center Footprint

TierPoint has world-class, interconnected data centers around the country. We offer carrier-neutral connectivity and direct connections to public cloud providers, allowing you flexibility and choice while decreasing your capital expenditures and your data center footprint.

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