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  #1  
Old 05-25-2005, 04:50 PM
Jason Lee
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Default Suggestions for datacenter infrastructure

Hi,

I've been looking into opening my own datacenter in my city (Winnipeg, Manitoba) because of the lack of datacenters. We only have a couple of datacenters operated by carriers but they are rather expensive (over $200/month just for rack space) and one of the providers charges $20 - $25/GB for bandwidth.

I'm looking for advice on several topics. The first one is connectivity. We have 4 carriers that I'm aware of in our city (there may be others that I've never heard of).

MTS Allstream Inc.
Shaw Bigpipe
Sprint
Group Telecom

I've been considering starting of with 2 T3 (for redundancy) lines form seperate providers (MTS Allstream and Shaw Bigpipe). Would it be better to start of with 1 T3 and add another as my client base increases or start with the 2 T3s for redundancy (and increased capacity)?

The second topic I'm looking at is UPS and Generators. A colleague of mine has recomended that I go with an APC InfraStruXure system which comes with the UPS, generator (as well as related equipment) as well as 42u racks with Air distribution units. A system to handle 20 racks would cost aprox. $188,000 USD but I see don't see alot of APC units in the datacenters (major ones). Another UPS and Generator system I've looked at is from Caterpillar but I don't have a price on that system. So does the APC InfraStruXure system sound like a good investment?

The third topic is routers and switches. What would you recommend? A redundant network is a must. I've looked at Cisco, Juniper and Foundry routers & switches but am not really sure which ones to go with. I have been considering going with the Juniper M7i for my routers but I'd like to hear suggestions.

The last topic I've been thinking about is location. What should I look in for a location aside from making sure its easy to get fiber lines installed. Also if I decide to rent a place downtown I'm certain that the floor is not going to come close to being able to support the weight of a datacenter. Are there ways to reinforce these floors so they can handle the increased weight. (I'm no engineer but suggestions from your experiances would greatly help).

I'd greatly appreciate any suggestions you have.

Edit: One more question. How many tons of AC would I need for 20 racks of servers (35-40 1u servers each)? Just so I can get an idea for how much AC I will need at max capacity. In Winnipeg our outside tempature gets to about 35 C (max) in the summer and -40 in the Winter (won't need much AC in the winter I guess).

Last edited by Jason Lee; 05-25-2005 at 05:36 PM.
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  #2  
Old 05-25-2005, 05:45 PM
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whcdavid whcdavid is offline
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Hi,

Welcome to our board. I don't have experience with building datacenter, but I asked some datacenter pros to help you out. They will get back to you soon.

Also you might have to check these posts.
http://www.datacentertalk.com/showthread.php?t=572
http://www.datacentertalk.com/showthread.php?t=63



Thank You
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Last edited by whcdavid; 05-25-2005 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 05-25-2005, 06:12 PM
SiteSouth SiteSouth is offline
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Hi Jason,

Glad you joined in. I'll be glad to help where I can.

Other than Sprint I don't know the providers you've listed but Sprint does a good job overall.

Redundant lines are absolutely required if you are going to offer a commercial service. A T3 from each provider should do it for you. It's also a good way to see who is giving you the better service.


On the power, I'd suggest you look at getting a used Liebert or MCE systems battery backup system. You can pick up used ones at a very good cost saving, thought they cost abit to install. Same with the generator, you can pickup good used ones for $.01 compared to new ones. Never try to buy these new you can go broke real quick.

On the routers we run both Cisco and Foundry. I prefer the Foundry myself. The real trick is to find a qualified network admin and work with him. This is the one area everyone underestimates when thinking about opening a datacenter. When it's all said and done, it comes down to the network admin. I would spend the time and the money getting the best admin and then worry about the hardware.

On the load bearing of the floor you need to check with the building engineer and th architect to see what it can handle or what needs to be done.

Hope that's some help.
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Old 05-25-2005, 06:37 PM
kjbaudry
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You sound like you know something about data centers and the costs that you are hearing haven't scared you away, so if you are really intent on doing this, I'd suggest that your first come up with a business plan (if you haven't already done so) and identify among other things:

How much demand there is?
How much of the demand you can capture (i.e. How much competition there is?)

Convert this demand to a number racks and amount of power.

Convert racks and power to floor space.

APC's infrastructure arrangement looks good. They present it as scallable which is good for cash flow. There is probably some point (size) that large systems are better. I see smoe potential shortcomings as the data cenetr gets larger. I think it's definately applicable up to several rows @ 20 cabs each and probably less applicable at 10,000 sf and above. These are just guessess as I haven't put the pencil to teh paper and analyzed it. SO don't get them stuck in your head. Just be aware that how much power you need will determine what "solution" is best for you.

I don't know what it costs or if the long term maintenance cost is more or less then other systems. If you buy it with the idea of upgrading as you go, make sure you get a long term pirce agreement for the upgrades. Go to their site and download their white paper on "oversizing" and scalable architecture.


Whether you go with APC or not, you will still need a generator and chiller, power distribution, fire protection, etc..

Make sure the building you select is close to fiber.

Get a ground floor location (It's a lot simpler).

Make sure that your landlord will provide space for your generator & fuel tank and verify if it's in your lease or an extra? If you don't get these kind of things netotiated into the lease then you are at thier mercy and they can be quite disagreeable after teh lease is signed.

Leases can be quoted in a variety of ways. Annually/Monthly, NNN or Gross. What are the common area maintenance charges and annual taxes? Who pays for energy?

Keep in mind that a lease is just like a mortagage. It's a commitment that's not easily broken.

There are a lot of considerations. Before you buy anything get commercial broker to represent you, get an engineer on board, and make sure that it all works. You don't want to end up owning a bunch of brand new equipemnt that doesn't fit or work for you or a space that you can't get a generator or ups into......
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Old 05-25-2005, 07:56 PM
Jason Lee
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Thanks for all your advice.

I've been looking into starting my own datacenter for a while. But I'm starting to get all my perliminary information before I go ahead with anything (eg. determining cost, competition, potential locations, equipment required. ect.).

In Winnipeg we don't have alot of datacenters. 2 or 3 small ones operated by Canadian ISPs and as I said earlier they are expensive ($200/month + $25/GB for 1u). I would say that if I could offer an alternative at a cheaper price I would be able to compete with them.

I'm not sure though how to go about determining the demand for a datacenter in Winnipeg. But I would say there exists a demand as we don't have any reasonable priced datacenters that are even remotly close and people are forced to either colocate in the US or rent dedicated servers from US providers. I've seen some try to host their sites from their cable or DSL lines (bussiness line or not).

Also where would be a good place to look for used Liebert or MCE systems. Althought I like the APC system for its scalability it might be cheaper (and probably wiser) to go with a system made up of other brand equipment that I could get used.
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