Data centers and retrofitting



  • With the cost to build a new facility being extremely high, a lot of providers are taking to retrofitting existing buildings to handle a data center. It's a good plan too, considering that there are a ton of abandoned buildings, factories, retail spaces and more that already have infrastructure in place, and would only need minor upgrades to get them ready for a DC and its hardware.

    Would you like to see more existing infrastructure used or do the needs of today's hardware lean towards building a new facility from the ground up?



  • I'd say take an old building and make it work to your needs.

    AC, raised floors, power...

    All seems pretty simple to install in an existing building.



  • @DustinB3403 said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    I'd say take an old building and make it work to your needs.

    AC, raised floors, power...

    All seems pretty simple to install in an existing building.

    Exactly. Especially abandoned buildings, you'd spend far less on upgrades than you would building a whole facility from the ground up.

    Plus, I think the idea of browsing Amazon while connected to a server sitting in an old mall is pretty ironic.



  • Well the way I look at this is, I save all of the cost of having to purchase the land, and then put my building onto said land.

    If there is already a structure there, tear it down to the beams, and make it fit your needs. Obviously this requires planning ahead of time, but there is a ton of money to be saved.

    It's pretty easy to install a raised floor and run cable under the floor, and HVAC and everything else. It's also pretty darn easy to take brick out of a wall to make a doorway.



  • To the point, if you had to expand after filling the existing building, you could plan for that as well. (by purchasing your neighbors)

    Or the closed mall, you have a ton of open space. But how practical would a mall be with all of the shops.

    I could see it working, but I've never seen a torn apart mall. Not to the scale needed.



  • Was it Rackspace that retrofit an entire defunct mall to house some of its operations?



  • So, what would you do?

    Dedicate Dillards for one client and JCPenney's for another client?

    You need to grow? Okay, we'll move you from the small mom & pop shop and move you into where Radio Shack used to be. That will double your space.



  • How do you propose getting a Level 3 or 4 DC from a retrofit?



  • @NerdyDad said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    So, what would you do?

    Dedicate Dillards for one client and JCPenney's for another client?

    You need to grow? Okay, we'll move you from the small mom & pop shop and move you into where Radio Shack used to be. That will double your space.

    "Could we get space near the Panda Express in the food court?"



  • @ChrisL said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    @NerdyDad said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    So, what would you do?

    Dedicate Dillards for one client and JCPenney's for another client?

    You need to grow? Okay, we'll move you from the small mom & pop shop and move you into where Radio Shack used to be. That will double your space.

    "Could we get space near the Panda Express in the food court?"

    Hrm.... dreams of IT people, 3 million square foot datacenters.



  • Retrofitting would be great when it works technologically. Nice to see old buildings get new life. Utica could do with twenty new datacenters going in on the east side of town.



  • @Dashrender said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    How do you propose getting a Level 3 or 4 DC from a retrofit?

    Well, at least from a power redundancy standpoint, I'd assume most large malls or factories are already outfitted with backup systems, so it'd be easy to utilize or upgrade the existing stuff they got there. Physical security might be a different story.



  • @ChrisL said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    @Dashrender said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    How do you propose getting a Level 3 or 4 DC from a retrofit?

    Well, at least from a power redundancy standpoint, I'd assume most large malls or factories are already outfitted with backup systems, so it'd be easy to utilize or upgrade the existing stuff they got there. Physical security might be a different story.

    I doubt they have the sorts of backup systems a tier 3 or 4 DC would need tho. Enough for some emergency lighting and that's about it.



  • @travisdh1 said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    @ChrisL said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    @Dashrender said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    How do you propose getting a Level 3 or 4 DC from a retrofit?

    Well, at least from a power redundancy standpoint, I'd assume most large malls or factories are already outfitted with backup systems, so it'd be easy to utilize or upgrade the existing stuff they got there. Physical security might be a different story.

    I doubt they have the sorts of backup systems a tier 3 or 4 DC would need tho. Enough for some emergency lighting and that's about it.

    Right, but the systems would be in place so it'd be just an upgrade to whatever they already have, so it wouldn't be as time-consuming or as costly as outfitting a new facility with backup power.



  • @ChrisL said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    @travisdh1 said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    @ChrisL said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    @Dashrender said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    How do you propose getting a Level 3 or 4 DC from a retrofit?

    Well, at least from a power redundancy standpoint, I'd assume most large malls or factories are already outfitted with backup systems, so it'd be easy to utilize or upgrade the existing stuff they got there. Physical security might be a different story.

    I doubt they have the sorts of backup systems a tier 3 or 4 DC would need tho. Enough for some emergency lighting and that's about it.

    Right, but the systems would be in place so it'd be just an upgrade to whatever they already have, so it wouldn't be as time-consuming or as costly as outfitting a new facility with backup power.

    yes but retrofitting the security might easily be more costly than just razing the building and starting over.



  • @Dashrender said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    @ChrisL said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    @travisdh1 said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    @ChrisL said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    @Dashrender said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    How do you propose getting a Level 3 or 4 DC from a retrofit?

    Well, at least from a power redundancy standpoint, I'd assume most large malls or factories are already outfitted with backup systems, so it'd be easy to utilize or upgrade the existing stuff they got there. Physical security might be a different story.

    I doubt they have the sorts of backup systems a tier 3 or 4 DC would need tho. Enough for some emergency lighting and that's about it.

    Right, but the systems would be in place so it'd be just an upgrade to whatever they already have, so it wouldn't be as time-consuming or as costly as outfitting a new facility with backup power.

    yes but retrofitting the security might easily be more costly than just razing the building and starting over.

    What kind of security are you imagining?



  • I've been in several datacenters that were retrofitted into industrial buildings.



  • To retrofit the security on a building like a mall, all you'd have to really do is brick off the entrances.



  • @DustinB3403 said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    To retrofit the security on a building like a mall, all you'd have to really do is brick off the entrances.

    To protect against zombie hordes, obviously.



  • @ChrisL said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    @DustinB3403 said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    To retrofit the security on a building like a mall, all you'd have to really do is brick off the entrances.

    To protect against zombie hordes, obviously.

    Well that and lazy, wanna-be thief's..



  • There is a building here in St. Louis that was retrofitted for a data center. I got to take a tour of it. I worked at the building as a summer intern back in the 90s so I knew about the building. The building has 4 floors but was designed originally so that it could have held 10 floors and the TV antenna tower for the NBC affiliate here in St. Louis. Before that it was owned by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and held heavy huge printing machines on the fourth floor, as an example of how stout the building was. So structurally this thing was a beast. They were able to add what they needed and really made it into something.



  • @ChrisL said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    @Dashrender said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    How do you propose getting a Level 3 or 4 DC from a retrofit?

    Well, at least from a power redundancy standpoint, I'd assume most large malls or factories are already outfitted with backup systems, so it'd be easy to utilize or upgrade the existing stuff they got there. Physical security might be a different story.

    If it used to be a mall, there are likely unemployed mall cops on the job market...



  • @art_of_shred said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    @ChrisL said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    @Dashrender said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    How do you propose getting a Level 3 or 4 DC from a retrofit?

    Well, at least from a power redundancy standpoint, I'd assume most large malls or factories are already outfitted with backup systems, so it'd be easy to utilize or upgrade the existing stuff they got there. Physical security might be a different story.

    If it used to be a mall, there are likely unemployed mall cops on the job market...

    Put em on a treadmill to help reduce the electric bill?



  • @PenguinWrangler said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    There is a building here in St. Louis that was retrofitted for a data center. I got to take a tour of it. I worked at the building as a summer intern back in the 90s so I knew about the building. The building has 4 floors but was designed originally so that it could have held 10 floors and the TV antenna tower for the NBC affiliate here in St. Louis. Before that it was owned by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and held heavy huge printing machines on the fourth floor, as an example of how stout the building was. So structurally this thing was a beast. They were able to add what they needed and really made it into something.

    Are you talking about the Globe Building? There are multiple datacenter companies using the space on the 4th floor.
    That is where my lab and basic production stuff is in colo right now.
    http://www.globebuilding.com/data-center



  • We have an old hospital that they converted the ER and emergency operating rooms into a data center. Redundant power feeds and generator were already on site so all they did was upgrade to latest code and add UPS system. The old ER ambulance entrance is now the shipping/staging area.
    http://victorytechcenter.org/
    My company is colocating some of our equipment in here come next month.



  • @jt1001001 said in Data centers and retrofitting:

    We have an old hospital that they converted the ER and emergency operating rooms into a data center. Redundant power feeds and generator were already on site so all they did was upgrade to latest code and add UPS system. The old ER ambulance entrance is now the shipping/staging area.
    http://victorytechcenter.org/
    My company is colocating some of our equipment in here come next month.

    We looked at Victory didn't go for it but it was a really cool datacenter.


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