Steve Yellen, Vice President of Product/Market Strategy, Aperture (, says:

Are raised floors a trend in the data center? Or a fad?

It’s not a fad. A Research Note released in December 2009, by the Aperture Research Institute found that 83 percent of data center managers are interested in monitoring temperature and humidity sensors in their data centers and 76 percent were interested in monitoring CRAC units. The ARI interpreted this to be a reflection of how cooling capacity is increasingly becoming a constraint on data center capacity and uptime.

Systems are becoming more and more dense, forcing IT managers to take a different approach to cooling, including the installation of systems within the row. This eliminates the biggest reason for using a raised floor in the first place. Having said that, we will continue to see raised floor designs for facilities that can operate with cool air delivered under the floor.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

The key advantages for the slab are lower cost of construction and more available space. The slab is more stable, which is important in locations prone to earthquakes, and also easier to keep clean and relatively dust-free. In terms of disadvantages, the common concern is accessibility of cables mounted overhead and the inconvenience of using a step ladder.

If an IT manager is planning a data center renovation or move soon, what do you currently recommend?

There isn’t an easy answer to that question. They need to understand their data center density and their need for future capacity. A renovation that removes a raised floor can be costly and may not make sense, even if the data center requires in-row or in-rack cooling. If moving to a new facility, it makes sense to evaluate both options. If precision cooling is necessary, it may make sense to consider a facility without raised floors.