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MISSION CRITICAL FACILITIES: KEY DESIGN STRATEGIES

by RAFFE KHAZADIAN Principal

MICHAEL KLATECKI Associate


Mission critical facilities, often data centers, are facilities that are essential for the uninterrupted operations of an organization. They must be designed and built in a way that allows them to remain secure and continue operating in the event of a disaster or significant disruption.


OVERALL DESIGN


Different than a colocation facility or IT closet data center within an organization, mission critical facilities are large-scale server farms that frequently have multiple 350,000 square foot buildings on sites that can span over 200 acres.




While every facility is designed for the specific needs of the client, each building on the site usually consists of server halls, support rooms, and office areas for the building’s occupants. Their interiors are often open structures with large spans between columns and appropriate slab thickness and levelness to accommodate the required equipment.


SITE SELECTION


Striving to be carbon neutral, many mission facilities are entirely run on electricity. This means that it is important to consider the cost of electricity in different locations when selecting a site for a data center.


Many clients choose to locate their mission critical facilities in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, and New Jersey. This is because electricity tends to be less expensive in these areas due to the high concentration of trans-atlantic fiber optic cables that land there.


REDUNDANCY


Many mission critical facilities are designed to be at least N+2 redundancy—which means redundancy on top of redundancy—to ensure operations will continue without interruption.


Electrical power is backed up by generators which are supported by cooling systems that are backed up as well. Diesel fuel oil is also often located on-site to support the generator systems in the case of a significant outage.




JURISDICTION


Mission critical facilities are highly regulated by many local, state, and federal government organizations. As regulations can vary from place-to-place, including nationally versus internationally, it is important that architects and project planners work with local jurisdictions early in the design process to meet appropriate zoning and AHJ requirements.


THE WRAP-UP


A well-designed mission critical facility will ensure that an organization’s operations remain secure and uninterrupted.



From individual ground-up projects to prototypical facilities for future development and modifications to existing facilities, Ci Design’s architects, designers, planners, and project managers have unparalleled expertise designing mission critical facilities. Our team has experience working on multiple sites throughout the country and understands how to optimize each facility for the needs of each client.

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