Blog March 15, 2023

Boost the Value of Your Data Center’s White Space

In the world of IT, the floor plan of your data center is prime real estate. Your IT team and the entire organization can benefit by optimizing this valuable space to support your current infrastructure and future growth.

In the world of IT, the floor plan of your data center is prime real estate. Your IT team and the entire organization can benefit by optimizing this valuable space to support your current infrastructure and future growth.

If not carefully evaluated and assessed on a routine basis, it can become a space that eats away at your resources and cost your company money. By improving space utilization and consolidating, you can create efficiency, save energy and improve your data center’s overall layout, safety, and reliability. A well-organized floor plan can also maximize the space with additional assets or equipment that supports your organization’s infrastructure.

What is white space in a data center?

White space in a data center is described as space designated specifically for IT equipment and framework. This area includes servers, network gear, racks and power distribution systems. These rooms generally have raised floors to run power cabling and cold air distribution for cooling. White spaces can only be accessed by approved staff since it is the heart of an organization, so security measures are taken seriously.

This term is also used within the industry to describe unoccupied space available for future IT equipment.

What is gray space in a data center?

Gray space is where the back-end equipment is stored. These mechanical and electrical assets include switchgear, UPS, transformers, generators, and chillers.

In many ways, white and gray spaces go hand in hand. The more white space your data center requires, the more gray space you need to support it.

Managing White & Gray Space

White space management involves a series of areas to consider to accommodate the different types of IT equipment to best support your organization’s operations.

These important actions can help with white space management:

  1. Evaluate Physical Space: Calculate unused space and identify what equipment is already in place.
  2. Detailed Asset Inventory: Make a thorough inventory of all assets – all servers, IT equipment, cabling and racks. Note: This is a good time to identify outdated or unused equipment. When you decommission your IT assets, follow all secure and certified steps to dispose of and document properly.
  3. Create A Blueprint: A visual will allow you to see where you have additional room for equipment or how best to maximize the space. It will give you a bird’s eye view of where everything goes and help you implement efficient rack designs, networking, and cabling.
  4. Redesign Your Space: Once you have your plan in place, make the necessary moves or changes to create a streamlined space. Re-route and label cabling, move racks, and all other IT equipment that supports your company’s infastructure.
  5. Real-Time Equipment Inventory: Identify every individual piece of equipment, including its location, setup, and use, to make sure that it is accounted for and documented and being used in the way it is meant.
  6. Ongoing Reassessment: As a reminder, your organization’s needs will change over time, especially with how quickly growth or consolidation can happen. Continually reassess and adjust to keep your space operating at the highest level. Doing this will also ensure you have enough capacity and resources for any other technology.
  7. Keep Accurate Documentation: To simplify future modifications or upgrades, maintain accurate records of equipment, floor plans, rack elevations and cable drawings.

Following the actions above will help you properly manage your white and gray space in your data center, ensuring that your equipment is secure, accessible, and well-organized and that you have room to expand for future growth.

Are you leaving your data center? Here are some things that data managers and IT teams should consider before making the big move.

To successfully get a data center space back to its original, clean, leasable condition, you need to have a systematic, secure process in place.

Managing this process encompasses more than simply moving equipment out of a location. This task is often done in conjunction with an ITAD vendor due to the number of resources needed to manage a project of this size. Whether you are planning on partnering with a reputable company to take on these tasks or your team is overseeing it, consider the critical components we’ve outlined below. This will ensure your data is not compromised, and you fulfill any obligations or requirements around getting the data center back to its initial state.

Additionally, ensure that the vendor’s services meet all necessary environmental and regulatory standards. Moving all your valuable assets out can lead to mishaps or security breaches.

Equipment Removal:

De-rack all hardware, remove cables (cable mining), and remove racks. Decommission servers, racks, systems, and cabling.

Inventory Reconciliation Audit:

Account for all IT assets onsite and audit them against your records. Although counting all your stock items might sound overwhelming, an inventory audit can be efficient and valuable with the right tools.

Cleaning & Repair:

Thoroughly clean the space, including the floor, walls, and ceiling, to remove debris, dust, or residue from decommissioned equipment. Fire suppression removal – safely remove and decommission. Repair any issues that need attention, such as fixing cracks in the walls or ceiling and repairing electrical outlets. If applicable – remove and replace raised floor tiling.

Test Systems:

Check the operation of all the space’s systems and equipment, including the electricity, HVAC, fire suppression, and security devices.

Data Destruction:

All hard drives should be shredded onsite (ideal) or offsite for preventative measures. Data Shredding and sanitization with serialization should be followed up with the appropriate certifications.

Ship & Return Equipment:

Make a note of where your IT equipment is to be shipped. Ask: Is it being sold? Is end-of-lease equipment being returned? Is it being sent to another data facility? Each requires its own set of procedures to guarantee safe and secure transport.

Project Completion:

Sign-off and obtain all required certifications and documentation for your records.

With these guidelines, you can scale your white and gray spaces and achieve a high-performance environment.

Data Slayer offers a wide range of decommissioning services for secure, streamlined and sustainable outcomes to support your team when moving out of a data center.