Data centers are truly the workhorses of innovation and help your organizations not only maintain their operations but also grow and expand. As data centers age, however, they can be costly to maintain and may even present some security risks. It’s imperative to upgrade your data centers regularly to prevent these issues.

Beyond the natural wear and tear on data centers, technological advancements also demand increased capacity and upgrades. Here are just a few reasons you may need to upgrade your data center:

No matter why you need to upgrade your data center, here are three tips for a successful outcome.

1. Prepare for more growth than you anticipate.

Ten years ago, we had no idea how much capacity our data centers would need. One of the most important factors you can consider when updating your data center is how you can prepare for future expansion. Many experts recommend creating a fill chart and filling it to only 50% capacity to allow for that much more room to grow. You may think there’s no way you could require this capacity in the future, but your future self will thank you for keeping that extra capacity in mind. 

2. Plan for energy efficiency.

Data center capacity shouldn’t be your only consideration; make sure you also develop a plan for increased energy efficiency. Your data center should be optimized for cooling and power. Think about how any future expansions will impact your efficiency. If you’re unable to power future growth, having the available space will be of no use. If you’re unsure where to start in developing your energy plan, the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides several useful resources.

3. Develop a maintenance strategy.

What kind of maintenance will be needed — and how often — can have a serious impact on the design needs for your data center upgrade. When it comes to conduits, for example, one way to allow for maintenance is to seal the ducts with a temporary, less-than-permanent solution such as reusable inflatable bags or mechanical plugs. These solutions allow conduits to be accessed easily. Start by making a list of all the maintenance needed, and make sure your architects or engineers are aware of these needs before they begin specifying.

Because your data center is central to your organization’s operations, its upgrade requires careful consideration and planning. Looking for more upgrading tips? Here’s how you can increase bandwidth without interruption.