According to Gartner Group, by 2025, 80 percent of enterprises will have shut down their traditional data center. In their place will be smaller facilities in edge markets, hybrid environments and colo moves that leave behind only a small space for critical functions (IT network, building maintenance, security, etc.).

While the amount of equipment in your building may shrink, the risk of downtime due to an outage remains. Likewise, efficiency improvements should always be important no matter the size. Keep these tips in mind when planning a new critical environment. 

Containment is Key

  • Regardless of an environment’s size, proper airflow management can provide up to a 30 percent increase in energy savings.
  • Digital Twinning (utilizing CFD modeling) as part of the design process will go a long way in eliminating uncertainty caused by new assets and infrastructural changes. The ability to test configurations for cooling challenges will ensure the environment is built right the first time. 
  • Your containment products should be NFPA and ASTM-approved. While they may cost a bit more, without them you risk failing a fire inspection, or worse – an incident may not be covered by insurance!

Environmental Monitoring – No Excuses!

    • It is not enough to rely on room-level temperature conditions. Optimal environmental monitoring should be happening at the rack level. Also, monitor at air conditioning intakes and discharge vents to measure heat generation and output as well as cooling efficiency. 


  • Don’t forget about security when designing the new environment. Suite, cage and rack-level monitoring may be in order. 


Plan for Power

  • No matter how small the environment, there’s no good reason to use consumer-grade PDUs. New equipment should monitor current, voltage, power, apparent power, crest factor, reactance, power factor and accumulated energy. 
  • Now’s the time to label your entire power distribution system for troubleshooting in the future. Creating a topographical map of the entire power train isn’t a bad idea either.

Making the Move

  • Regardless of if you’re moving across the country or across the hall, a relocation should be done by professionals – ideally the same ones that helped design and commission the new space.
  • RFID tagging and passive monitoring is a must, especially if your assets are now located in a third-party space.

Rob Huttemann is the Senior Vice President of Operations for Critical Environments Group. He has more than 30 years of industry experience and familiarity with data center and supporting infrastructure management, with specific focus on power, space and storage, cooling, and overall best practices. Rob’s LinkedIn:

CEG is a national provider of data center and critical environment infrastructure optimization solutions. For more information, please visit, as well as CEG’s Twitter or LinkedIn pages.