The importance of site planning for IT equipment is introduced, beginning with the foundation of environmental considerations for servers and network devices.
- [Narrator] We now come to the chapter that I've been dying to write. This is one area, more than other, that I've seen ignored or left out until it was too late for IT input to be any good. Conveniently enough, it's also given me some of the best stories. There are a lot of things about a physical site that will define the available options for technology infrastructure. I'm going to start with the layout of the office itself. Computers have five environmental needs.
We'll talk about power and network connectivity later on. So that leaves us with three more. Being electronic devices, they need to be kept away from water. I think we're all on board there. They also generate a little bit of heat. So they need to be kept in a place that's cool and well ventilated. And finally, depending on the type of computer, it needs to be somewhere physically secure. Some computers are kiosks, in public areas. But others are servers, and other equipment that should not be accessible to anyone outside of trusted IT staff.
I was consulting for a firm that was moving to a new office and they were getting ready to do a extensive build-out to include a new showroom, better office space for all employees. And I was given the opportunity to review the blueprints and suggest a place for their two servers and their other network equipment. So I looked at their plans and gave them a couple of options. I didn't hear from them again until it was time to schedule a team to come and setup the network in the new location.
When I arrived, I found that they had not chosen to use any of my suggestions, but to put the servers on a wire rack shelf unit in a bathroom. Water, check. Heat, maybe. Security? Well, what's the one room in your office where outsiders can spend several minutes undisturbed? Perfect. The location of your equipment should not be an afterthought. It should be part of the original plan, discussed with your architect and your IT strategist.
Sometimes, the location of a portion of your network equipment is not up to you. There may be only one place that the phone company or cable company is willing to setup. This is a great opportunity to block out that space and make sure that it will continue to meet our five criteria. By that, I mean don't come back later and install a water heater right next to it. You think it hasn't happened? I wish. Enough with the bad examples though.
Let me share with you a positive experience. I worked with a legal office that setup a new space that included a coat closet that was slightly away from the main entrance. Oh, and let me add, that this was in a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona where coat closets are almost always repurposed. The back of the closet was the other side of the wall where the phone company wanted to setup. Once a properly prepared hole was installed in the ceiling, and power outlets in the wall, they were happy to setup in the closet instead.
The firm had an AC vent installed in the closet ceiling, and a louvered panel in the door. And once they put a lock on the door, they had themselves a very nice server closet. This is a small business scenario, but the considerations are the same for any size organization. Set aside space for your technology infrastructure that is kept dry, cool and secure. Once you establish that space, commit it to stay that way.
- Including IT in strategy
- What does IT bring to strategy?
- Communicating the big picture
- Selecting and evaluating the effectiveness of training and development activities
- Choosing the right hardware, platforms, and applications
- Who owns the devices?
- Site planning
- External and internal connectivity