Musings on IT, data management, whitewater rafting, and backpacking

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Design choices for new space

Made several important design choices for our new space over the past few weeks. Some of them surprised me.

Phones -- Avaya VOIP
With generous subsidies from HQ, we chose an Avaya VOIP phone system. I also negotiated a sweetheart deal where our enterprise telecom group is responsible for operations and security. The annual operating costs will be about 1/3 of an AT&T Centrex system.

We realized during this process that land-line telephones just aren't that important anymore. A friend of mine who works in R&D for one of the largest VOIP vendors told me he hasn't used his phone at work for months!

Telecom cabling -- Cat 6
Our cabling subcontractor convinced me to spec Cat 6 instead of Cat 6A cabling, because:
  • Cat 6A is much more expensive for both the cable and installation labor.
  • Cat 6A cabling is much larger in diameter, which increases costs in other areas, like conduits, raceways, and cable management; and creates problems trying to push Cat 6A into our existing Cat 6 spaces.
  • If we need more bandwidth to specific offices or labs in the future, we can install fiber for about the same cost as Cat 6A. Fiber is not practical for widespread use until computers and phones ship with fiber network interfaces.

Data Center HVAC
Our HVAC subcontractor found some low-cost solutions to meet our requirements. Our design temperature is 85 F, but we will likely run at 90 F or 95 F, using outside air for cooling 99% of the year. This design dramatically lowered our backup generator load compared to conventional HVAC, so ...

Backup Generator -- 250 KW
We're getting a 250 KW diesel generator to cover the data center and telecom room IT loads and HVAC loads, in addition to critical lab loads and lab exhaust hoods.

We wanted a natural gas fueled generator for infinite fueling, lower CO2 emissions, and lower air pollution. Unfortunately, our local air pollution control district won't approve natural gas generators (go figure).

We discussed Bloom Boxes but they are too cutting edge for our landlord -- even though the supermarket down the street has several of them! The Bloom Boxes would be primary power, with local utility power as back power -- a reversal from the usual design.

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