t is no longer practical or cost-effective to completely engineer all aspects of a unique data center; re-use of  proven, documented subsystems or complete designs is a best practice for new builds and data center upgrades

A new White Paper has been announced by the Schneider Electric’s Data Center Science Center. Entitled “Data Center Projects: Advantages of Using a Reference Design”, the new document is available as a free download from the Schneider electric website. Author, Patrick Donovan, states that the adoption of well-conceived Reference Designs can have a positive impact on both the project itself, as well as on the operation of the data center over its lifetime.

The Reference Design is a tool used during the planning process which helps avoid some common pitfalls and potential mistakes with new facilities and upgrades to existing data centers. The re-use of proven, documented subsystems or complete designs is a best practice; in its ideal form the Reference Design provides a system blueprint, list of attributes including system level performance specifications, and includes a detailed list of materials or components that comprise the system.

Adopting a Reference Design simplifies and shortens the planning and implementation process and reduces downtime risks once up and running. The new 12-page White Paper provides a useful definition of Reference Designs as well as an explanation of their benefits including facilitating and simplifying the planning phase, reducing the time taken to create buildable solutions, reducing risk, and getting predictable performance and increased reliability from the data center.

A major benefit of the Reference Design is that it uses a common language to help align goals, encourage cooperation and participation across multiple functions, and make it easier to evaluate the trade-offs between design objectives.

Additionally, a Reference Design may be for a complete data center, or it may be limited to a sub-section of the data center, such as an IT pod, IT room, power plant, or cooling plant. A catalogue of various Reference Designs allows users to quickly find designs that best fit their requirements and require minimal adaptations for their specific project.

The author, Patrick Donovan is a senior research analyst with Schneider Electric’s Data Center Science Center and has over 16 years of experience developing and supporting critical power and cooling systems, including several award winning power protection, efficiency and availability solutions.