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What to expect from a data center evaluation

With the increasing digitization of daily life and business, the demand for data centers is increasing as well. How can you be sure that your data center is operating at peak efficiency and maximum reliability? A data center evaluation can identify any shortfalls or vulnerabilities that could affect reliability or availability. It is also a critical step in developing a plan for growth, upgrades, and expansion.

What to expect

The assessment involves a thorough physical inspection as well as a document review and operations analysis. However, it is not a one-size-fits-all process. Each data center is unique, therefore the evaluation can be customized to your specific needs or concerns. The assessment can be broken down into the following areas of analysis.

IT Infrastructure

Perhaps the most important aspect of the data center assessment involves a look at the IT infrastructure. Are there any architecture or scalability concerns? How well do hardware, software, and virtual environments integrate? End-user functionality is taken into account. How are data polling, reporting, and analytics managed? The functionality and integrity of key infrastructure systems are analyzed according to industry standards.

Communications Infrastructure

With current and future technology trends, the communications infrastructure must be evaluated for flexibility and scalability. The evaluation will look at cable media types, physical pathways to and from the data center, cable management, termination methods, rack configuration, and airflow management. The review can also include an analysis of carrier circuits and core routing/switching architecture.

Electrical and Mechanical Systems

The assessment will evaluate all electrical systems, including critical power and standby power generation and distribution, electrical power monitoring, grounding, transient voltage surge protection, lightning protection, and security/access control.

Mechanical systems such as cooling and temperature/humidity control systems will be evaluated, including air distribution and ventilation, and pressurization control. Fire suppression systems, backup generators, plumbing and drainage systems, and building automation/control are also subject to review.

Structural and Environmental

The physical structure and architectural elements of the building play a significant role in the security and robustness of the data center. Construction materials used, window placement, access control, and the location of other spaces such as the NOC, mechanical and electrical equipment rooms, and data storage in relation to the data center are all considered. In addition, the physical location of the data center and its surrounding geography are also evaluated for risk and security.


The operations review will look at critical operations, such as staffing and maintenance, and how they contribute to the overall efficiency and success of your data center. The review may include staff interviews, to discuss how the facility functions, the daily operations, and how systems are maintained. It may also include a review of audit records, incident reports, and service records.

Alignment and Growth Planning

Beyond the functionality of the various systems, the alignment of the physical infrastructure with its IT objectives is critical to the success of a data center. An evaluation can examine an organization’s business objectives to determine appropriate goals for capacity, efficiency, and continuity.

In addition to evaluating current functionality, a data center evaluation is a critical component of long-term planning initiatives. A comprehensive evaluation can look at historic and projected growth patterns to develop a growth model consistent with your business’s IT goals and objectives. It can help determine what technologies and platforms will be deployed over the lifetime of the facility and calculate how much space and power will be required to support them.

A data center evaluation is not a report card, but rather a benchmark document to be used as a starting point for reducing vulnerabilities, improving efficiency and reliability, and planning for future growth. The KPI Network connects IT managers and executive decision-makers with premier vendors, technology and business solutions service providers with exclusive offers for technology solutions that optimize their organizations' operations. To find out more, view our available offers, or subscribe today!