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Ask Slashdot: What Would You Include In a New Building? 422

First time accepted submitter weiserfireman writes "For the first time in our company's 60 year history, we are going to be building a new facility from scratch. We are a CNC Machine shop with 40 employees and 20 CNC machines, crammed into a 12,000 sq foot building. We are going to build a new 30,000 sq foot building. I am the only IT person. I support all the computer systems, as well as all the fire/security/phone systems. My Boss has asked for my input on what infrastructure to include in the new building to support current and future technology. 1st on my list is a telecommunications equipment room. Our current building doesn't have one. I have been researching this topic on the Internet, and I have a list of a lot of different things, all of them are nice, but I know I am going to have a limited budget. If you were in my shoes, what priorities what features would you design into the building?"
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Ask Slashdot: What Would You Include In a New Building?

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  • Suggestions (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @11:45AM (#41513821)

    Secret passageways

    • They make great places to stash the bodies.

    • by ackthpt ( 218170 )

      Secret passageways

      Escape hatch.

    • by cod3r_ ( 2031620 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:10PM (#41514143)
      Stripper poles. You never know, but you damn sure want to be prepared.
    • Re:Suggestions (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mellon ( 7048 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:14PM (#41514209) Homepage

      A heat recovery ventilation system would be a really good idea—improves air quality, saves energy. I put Cat6A shielded in the walls of my house; not sure you'd need that in this environment, but it might be helpful.

    • Re:Suggestions (Score:5, Insightful)

      by burnt_cajun_toast ( 766392 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @01:38PM (#41515521)
      Since you're the only (IT) person, it might be a very good idea allocate budget $ and hire a firm that has the experience designing facilities. Aside from the fact you might miss a very important feature, you really should have the input from professionals that have experience along with the electrical/fire/security since it does not seem to be your expertise. The money spent at the design phase just might save you that much more down the line, especially since a small error could have major consequences. Just my $.02
      • Re:Suggestions (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @02:32PM (#41516217)

        Yes, because the building design is going to have an impact on what you want. In an office w/ drop ceilings (common), you really don't want to waste time with conduit, in most cases getting a server room near the outside for direct venting means giving up window offices, so thats would be a tough call. In some cases raised floors make great sense, in others they are a waste. What about security? Is it a shared space? multi-floor? Whats the likely tech growth (is a need for > 1 Gbps realistic for business needs or could you save 20% with plain Cat 5 cables?) What about phones? A good VOIP system might save half the cable drops. What is the REAL business cost of downtime? Do you need backup generators, or could you put the critical into the cloud? what kind of internet access do you need?

        There are so many questions that you need real answers to, cost benefit analysis, and a real understanding of impacts (Don't ask for things that are cool or will make your life easier, know how it will save money now (seriously, spending $100 now to maybe save $500 later is rarely a good investment), by allowing faster recovery, more reliable operations, lower headcount, better security, etc

        • "Whats the likely tech growth (is a need for > 1 Gbps realistic for business needs or could you save 20% with plain Cat 5 cables?)"

          You don't need to predict the tech growth. All you need is the length of the lease on the build-out.

          You NEED a telecomm room. This is not an option. It needs venting and must have sufficient space for racks. This is where they will put your telephone patch panel, and you will put your PBX if you get one, your routers, servers, etc.

          When the phone lines are being put in, have them run ethernet at the same time. Each phone jack (plate) in the wall should have 2 jacks: an RJ-11 for phone and an RJ-45 for

          • GigE runs perfectly fine on Cat5E. There's really no reason to bother with Cat6 unless you have a specific requirement that calls for it. Why would you need to rip out walls to put in fiber? You can run it above a drop ceiling just like you can run copper ethernet.
        • by Macgrrl ( 762836 )

          I would definitely second the suggestion to get a specialist on board earlier rather than later, it will save you time, money and headaches in the future.

          WRT the raised floors suggestion, that was my first thought, but then I started thinking about the possible weight of the CNC machines (you haven't specified size). Possibly the shop floor should have channels in it for rerouting data and power as required over time, with platform flooring over the top of it. It could also potentially be used to run underf

    • Toilets. Nothing worse than having too few toilets for too many people.....
    • by dintech ( 998802 )

      Fire/Security is definitely important. There are basically two schools of thought on this and you can divide them into two camps, the traditionalists and the modernists. It's important to consider both equally because, depending on your budget, you should definitely (and I have some experience here) build out the security features of your building using both. First lets consider old. If you have enough elevation in your building, you might want to consider a large spherical boulder run. Anyone trying the wr

  • Conduit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toygeek ( 473120 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @11:47AM (#41513835) Homepage Journal

    Perhaps this is obvious, but its the very first thing that popped into my head. You might not need to install a lot of cabling to run what you have, relatively speaking, but you WILL need to install more later and you WILL wish you had installed bigger conduit. So, plan your current needs as being 1/3 to 1/2 capacity and leave plenty of room for more. It doesn't cost much more to install bigger/more conduit now, but it will cost TONS more to install it later. Your successors will praise you.

    • Re:Conduit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by zentigger ( 203922 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @11:58AM (#41513967) Homepage

      and make sure you leave an extra pull string inside each run!

    • If you're really planning on doing conduit (as opposed to just cable trays or whatever they are called), then make sure there aren't any weird turns in it.

      That will screw up an installer's day right there.... /hacked through a conduit once because of an S-shaped curve in the ceiling above the telecomm room.

    • Re:Conduit (Score:5, Informative)

      by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @01:13PM (#41515145) Journal

      Not just Cable, extra room in Conduit.Need 2" conduit, put in 4". Add an Extra empty conduit along side. Lots of Conduit Junction boxes. Lots of Power. If you need ONE drop, build four drops. If you need four, put in eight. Plan for IDFs in strategic locations along edges, even if you don't use them.

      Plan for using VOIP and no standard phone lines. Plan for WIFI as well. Double your WAP count beyond what you "need", to provide better coverage. Plan for even higher density if you're going N. Use a Managed WIFI setup (I like HPs) the cost of the WAPs are 10x your Retail, but you get that back in manageability. Think Enterprise for everything.

      Centralize your MDF for shortest Run. Meaning, put it in the middle of the building, not as a closet on one edge. Make sure you have Fiber pulled to each remote edge, just in case. Plan for 100Gbit Network now, built 10Gbit backbone, and Gig to desktop.

      Plan your RACKs now. Build them in Visio, along with the rest of your data center. Put your datacenter with your MDF. Design the whole Network, plan for your VLANS, even if you don't think you need them. Based on your information I can see the need for at least three VLANs, probably more, already.

      Did I mention, over build everything? You will use it. If you need 4 of something, and the boss usually gives you two, then triple or quadruple what you REALLY need. You cannot "over plan" or "over build" anything in IT.

    • Re:Conduit (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jonadab ( 583620 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @01:27PM (#41515367) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, conduit is the first thing I was going to say too.

      I mean, if you'd built the thing in 1990, you could have put in cat3 phone cable and A/V coax, and three years later you'd have been wanting network cable. If you'd built in 1994 and put in twenex cable, three years later you'd have wanted cat5. If you'd built in 1998 and put in cat5, three years later you'd have been wondering about cat5e. Maybe in a couple of years you'll want fiber optic cables. Then again, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll want KVM cables, or a new kind of audio/video cable, or USB5, or eSATA4, or WestBridge ExternalBUS cable, or IEEE 1394k, or whatever kind of cable your new SAN uses, or QuantumLine entanglement cable, or liquid-argon lines for the new cooling system, or some other wonderful new thing they come out with six weeks after your drywall is put in. Who knows? Hooray for progress.

      If you put in plenty of good conduit, you can run whatever kind of cable you need, without ripping up the walls or, even less fun than that, messing around with a half-stiff plumber's tape trying to figure out whether there's another hole through the next wall stud somewhere.

      Ideally, the conduit should be in relatively straight, relatively short runs leading from one easily-accessed junction box to another, each of which in turn connects to others. The *main* junction boxes should be connected to one another via 2-3 runs (each) of extra-large conduit, and then from those main boxes you can have branch conduits running out to the peripheral ones.

      And yeah, leaving a pull line in each segment of conduit is always good.

      Good duct work is also nice, and put in about twice as many bathrooms as you think you need, because it's a real pain to add more later. Storage space is also good.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @11:49AM (#41513851) Journal

    Running out of ethernet jacks after the fact is a damned pain, and the cost of putting in wires(unshockingly) rises once you have to punch through the wall and do a bunch of fishing to get them there.

    Even if you are Embracing The Wireless Future, you'll want enough copper to support about twice as many APs as the vendor claims you'll need. If not, you'll want even more.

  • Cooling (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @11:49AM (#41513855)

    Unless you're building in an ice cap, you'll need a reliable and likely fairly powerful cooling system for your telecom/server room. You should have it spec'd into the building's system capacity with the proper ductwork installed up front. Retrofitting that sort of thing can be a pain down the road.

    • Re:Cooling (Score:4, Funny)

      by denis-The-menace ( 471988 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @11:51AM (#41513895)

      Make the cooling of the server room able to heat up the building during the winters.

      • Re:Cooling (Score:5, Insightful)

        by silas_moeckel ( 234313 ) <silas&dsminc-corp,com> on Monday October 01, 2012 @01:03PM (#41515029) Homepage

        Please for the love of do not have it be part of the building AC especially in a machine shop. You have solvents, grease, lubricant, metal bits etc in that shop air. Building AC is not designed to run in winter (assuming you don't live where AC is required year round). The split systems are an easy install and only run a few k at the low end. Do make sure there is nothing going through the roof or carrying liquids above the room. Do try and get it on an exterior wall and have backup fans installed though the wall a couple hundred bucks of fan can cool the room well enough when the AC is broken. Depending on the type of machines you expect long term fiber is always a good thing immune to EMI from plasma cutters and the like. Good door locks that log per person to the security system is a good idea same with camera's.

        • You have solvents, grease, lubricant, metal bits etc in that shop air.

          You have that stuff on the people too. Make sure you have some sort of buffer between the plant floor and the server room to clean yourself off. Like a mud room, but not as OCD as a full cleanroom. You don't want to bring metal shavings in with you if possible. It may be something as simple as making sure you have to pass through an office before you get to the server room.

          Also, a lot of people are mentioning HVAC. It might be a good idea to have a slightly higher (1psi) air pressure in the server ro

          • Re:Cooling (Score:5, Informative)

            by black6host ( 469985 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @02:59PM (#41516577)

            Also, a lot of people are mentioning HVAC. It might be a good idea to have a slightly higher (1psi) air pressure in the server room than the rest of the plant. This way contaminants will tend to flow away from the server room, instead of towards it.

            This! I've had a number of clients build new facilities and they always wanted to hide the server room in a place away from the office space in order to have more office space available. Link in a room off the warehouse. I'd make sure and tell them they'd better make sure airflow into the room is filtered and that the air pressure is greater in the room than outside or they'd be sucking all kinds of dirt into the server room

            This is also a problem with exhausting outside. Air flowing at a high rate to the outside has to bring it in from somewhere. Restaurants use what's called "make up air" returns in the kitchen so as not to pull the A/C or heat from the dining area. Basically the make up air was a separate vent to the outside located within exhaust hoods over grills and what not.

            Fortunately, many of these were HVAC companies doing their own installation and they took my advice.

            • I know one company that had a computer lab on the plant floor, and it was nothing but trouble. Metal dust would get into the hard drives (which require some air to operate), and floppy drives, and ruin them. They built a sealed room for these computers to deal with the problems. If you have to have computers in the plant, perhaps go for fanless sorts with solid state drives, and hermetically seal them away.

              Have 2 separate A/C and heating systems, one for the office area and one for the plant floor. Th

    • by Medievalist ( 16032 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:16PM (#41514251)

      I've been down this road a few times - install separate ductwork leading in and out of the server/telco room (with the intakes on the opposite side of the building from your other ductwork) if you can possibly afford it.

      Dirt and machine oil and metal filings can move surprising distances. Separate HVAC to the server room works far better than extra filters which just get clogged.

      Also, like others have said - conduit for data lines to every workstation. Potentially cheaper than fiber (if you do it right the first time) and more durable and future-proof.

  • by stevegee58 ( 1179505 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @11:49AM (#41513865) Journal
    Other than that, have at it.
  • by ItsJustAPseudonym ( 1259172 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @11:50AM (#41513873)
    To go along with your telecom room, add a server room with good cooling. Additionally, have them put spare wiring conduits throughout the building, in which to run telecom and network cables. Make sure you have space for running more or different cables in the future.
  • Standard stuff... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Raised floor, oversized conduit to support expansion and/or upgrade, overestimate your power needs, etc. Build a wish list, and let /them/ tell you what they won't buy; you'll never know what they are willing to invest in until you ask.

    • by wwphx ( 225607 )
      Pity you posted as AC as your list is spot-on.

      My former employer, a city government, decided they were going to build a new City Hall. They did not involve IT from the beginning. The original design had no conduit, no raised floor, the server room had no additional cooling and zero additional power. The director had to fight tooth and nail to get the data center properly outfitted.

      My takeaway from this is to not trust architects to design your facilities unless they have demonstrated experience and
  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @11:50AM (#41513881) Homepage

    There's nothing worse than being in a building where money was no object - for the machinary, but to hell with the staff. So at lunchtime you have to wander down to some dodgy joint to get some garbage for lunch because there's nothing else around and coffee comes curtesy of Mr Vend. Thanks, but I don't care how 733t the equipment is, I don't want to work somewhere like that again.

    • by fm6 ( 162816 )

      What, you think a 40-employee industrial company can affford a food service contract? And anyway, they asked the guy for IT recommendations.

      • While a food service contract might be overkill, and I'm sure there are lawyer firms(as opposed to industrial) that have catering every day, as long as we're getting away from IT recommendations, I'd say that a good breakroom with a 'full' kitchen isn't 'that' expensive and can be really nice. Add a grill outside and you can have company events.

        Oh yeah, and you'll probably have it because it's an industrial company, but non-emergency showers/lockerroom.

        Back on IT - given the size I'd want the 'comm closet'

  • Some suggestions (Score:4, Informative)

    by gstrickler ( 920733 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @11:50AM (#41513883)

    Most important items are a wiring and equipment closet and several dedicated wiring channels (at no more than 30% capacity) do you can more easily upgrade the wiring and infrastructure in the future. The easier and less costly it is to upgrade your wiring/fiber, the easier it will be to make upgrades. Make sure the equipment closet is climate controlled and has a good air filtration system, dust from your CNC operations is not nice to equipment, especially metallic dust.

    As for what to put there now, I recommend Cat 6 cabling plus any specialized cabling that you currently require.

  • You're on the right track, I think.

    For a CNC place, you *need* a well-sealed, clean server room with a good independent air-conditioning system. Dust is the enemy.

    The room should have LOTS of power outlets. 220 would be nice.

    Everything else can be done later. But a decent server room is fundamental.

  • Dual Cat6 sockets on each desk
    wireless routers in each room [not for use for work stuff - just don't have wireless for anything work sensitive]
    power more power sockets than you think you need
    in the telecoms room
    UPS / UPS and more ups - everything upsed - main routers, servers, switches and telephone systems [ though if you are using IP telephony up the number of sockets at each desk]

    • Re:Cat6 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:16PM (#41514253)

      Dual Cat6 sockets on each desk

      You forgot to mention why, the answer is one is the production network and one is the "IT" cubie network. Its OK to put a firewall between them, but it would be a career ending incident if a receptionist clicked on an exciting "comet cursor" pop up ad or installed a toolbar or whatever and suddenly all 40 machines grind to a halt, or even worse, crash (literally). At a billable rate of $100/hr per machine this could get expensive, and that's before the mfgr rep has to come on site individually decontaminate each CNC machine controller.

      I've never worked at a employer who didn't have separate air gapped IT and production networks, but being a small place maybe you grew up different.

      Pretty much everywhere I've worked, as you upgrade the "main IT computer" the old one gets wiped, sanitized, and reinstalled as the "new" production network box, with a nice air gap between the networks. So it doesn't really cost anything to dual machine dual network every applicable station.

    • UPS / UPS and more ups - everything upsed - main routers, servers, switches and telephone systems [ though if you are using IP telephony up the number of sockets at each desk]

      CNC machines, industrial area? I'd look into putting a power conditioner before the UPS. Determine your uptime requirements - how long will the servers take to shut down and such, and look into a 'room UPS'. Now, as an industrial company I doubt you'll 'need' to be up if you're without power for an extended period of time(I doubt the CNC machines will be running in that case), but it's something to think about.

  • by NinjaTekNeeks ( 817385 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @11:52AM (#41513905)
    1). Properly Secured Server Room
    2). AC Unit dedicated to server room
    3). Cat 6 Ethernet (2 jacks) for each desk/location
    4). Fiber between floors, multiple cables
    5). Secure locations to install Wireless Access Points
    6). Video camera's with DVR storage for a week (cabling)
    7). FOB key card access to everything (keys suck)
    8). IT Storage space for boxes, spare equipment, etc.
    9). Proper kitchen for coffee
  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @11:54AM (#41513923)

    ... locker rooms and showers. Probably already considered in a manufacturing facility. But you'd be surprised to see how this detail is missed in a white collar setting when employees start riding bicycles to work.

  • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @11:55AM (#41513937) Journal

    Lots and lots of cable channels. It will save you oodles of time and effort if you have prebuilt passageways to run cabling than it is to try and snake through ceilings. Not to mention it looks neater and is easier to trace.

    Take a systematic approach to labeling and documenting where every cable goes and what it connects to. You might be the only person now, but at some point you won't be there OR, as unbelievable as it sounds, someone else may be hired to work with you.

    As for a closet, in some of our buildings that is literally what we have; closets where the racks are. If you have to go that route, make sure you leave yourself enough room to do things without running into the walls or having to slide your hand through a slit not much bigger than an orange. Lighting is also helpful as is airflow.

    Storage. All those cables, extra switches, parts and whatnot take up more space than people realize. Something that can be secured. Standard metal shelves with labeling for everything will do the job nicely.

    Finally, if you can manage it, some dark, twisting tunnels which look all alike.

  • by kevink707 ( 1331815 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @11:57AM (#41513965)
    On my required list would be a separate dedicated A/C system for your equipment room. Too often computer/telephone rooms are connected to whatever A/C system is convenient which leads to problems -- One of my horror stories was management turning off the A/C in the lunch room which had been running 24x7 to save energy, little did they know that the lunch room A/C was shared by the computer room on the other side of the wall.... :-(
  • Connectivity (Score:5, Informative)

    by lionchild ( 581331 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @11:59AM (#41513989) Journal

    Rule number one: Don't skimp on network drops. It's easier and cheaper to install them when you're building/finishing a facility than to try to go back later and re-run extra data lines. Ideally, plan twice as many as you think you need. Barring that, drop at least one more than you think you need in each location. The spare can be used for when you buy new equipment, add a printer, phone, etc..

    Fire related equipment should be on its own separate network. Not a VLAN, it's own actual network. I've seen facilities grow, that were small in the beginning and ran fire on the same physical network as regular data. Regular data needs grew, and despite QoS settings, the fire system started getting starved for network traffic and the fire controllers were reading that they list contact with remote sensors, which triggers an alarm. Once the link is re-established a few seconds later, the alarm resets. Then a little later, you get another false alarm because it missed a check-in from a sensor.

    Be generous with power drops. CNC equipment will likely need their own power, but be thoughtful about where you'll have power for various printers or workstations, anything that might need a dedicated circuit, in case a CNC were to cause a circuit breaker to trip. When you have a Server/Telecomm room, make sure it's big enough to suppor both the network rack, a telecom rack and a server rack or two. Check and double-check that you have dedicated circuits to the room for each rack you're planning to run.

    Be generous with air flow in the Server/Telecomm room. It will generate more heat than you expect. Plan on it having its own, dedicated AC system.

    Backup Power, plan to have it. If your phones are IP-based, you want to be able to have power for them during an outage, as well as your fire system. An onsite backup generator would be very nice. If you can't swing that, be sure to have, check, test and keep working, a good set of UPS devices to provide power during an outage.

    I know you have a limited budget, but shoot for the moon, don't cut corners where you don't have to. Doing it right will serve the organization for years to come, even after you retire or move on...or have to hire more IT folks!

  • required items (Score:4, Informative)

    by mhatle ( 54607 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:00PM (#41513999) Homepage

    Security for the infrastructure room.. (I don't care if it's a closet or a multimillion dollar server room..) Solid core, fire rated doors with appropriate locks. (Amazing how many businesses don't have the minimum there!)

    As someone else said, conduit and wiring ability to expand over time. If someone wants to run 1" conduit, double it to 2" or 3". In the future there will be some new technology and it's almost impossible to ever remove old wiring, but adding new will be much easier.

    Climate control -- note I didn't say air conditioning. For the best results, the room should have the ability to have it's own climate control. This may mean air cleaners (if fresh air is used for heating/cooling), air conditioning unit, etc. Don't rely on the building system, because as technology changes the heating/cooling requirements of the technology will change.

    A space twice the size you need.. Equipment is always changing in size.. both bigger and smaller, as are the company needs.. room to grow is a good thing!

    Finally power.. the room should have it's own dedicated power feed, that can easily be managed by a generator, power backup unit, etc.. even if you don't need those things today, planning ahead for them makes it a whole lot cheaper if you do ever need them. Again relying on building wide power is fine for a while.. but it's much better to have the ability for dedicated stuff in the IT room.

  • by Ravaldy ( 2621787 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:01PM (#41514007)

    We are looking at moving to a facility double the size of ours. My hit list is:
    - 10x10 server room. All wiring for phones and network will land there
    - CAT 5E or Cat 6 cabling throughout for phone and data
    - Dropping the old nortel phones for VOIP (internal only) phones. Easier to configure and has tones more features
    - 4 drops in every office (You never know when they'll need it and they'll try to cramp 2 people in there
    - Roaming wireless AP through the plant (we will be going to 60000 sqft so I have 6 of them)

    I'm not going to talk about electrical and other facilities since electricians have a good handle on what companies need today (usually 2 double outlets per room and 20amp circuit for microwaves in lunch room)...

  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:01PM (#41514013)

    A ZPM for independant power supply

  • Pneumatic ones.

  • A thermonuclear device planted below the building - in case things go bad.
  • Technology moves all the time. Make it easy to pull new cables/fiber/whatzits as you need it.

    A few years ago, I saw a new Electrical Engineering building at a uinversity. Every office and lab backed up to a 6 foot wide access hallway that was essentially a giant, walk-in cable tray. New connectivity was a simple matter of going through the wall.

    Now, I'm sure you don't have that kind of budget or space. But consider how close you can come to that. A machine shop always needs to get AC power and air arou

    • by Above ( 100351 )

      Planning for the future is the key, and equally key is keeping it SIMPLE.

      Dropped ceilings make it much easier to run cable later. Your HVAC guy will want to run his duct work down the center of the hall, don't let him. During construction it's only slightly harder for him to run it over the offices. Run a tray over the hall for data cabling. Down the road when you need drops to a remodeled office or conference room you can run them in the hall without interrupting all the people working at their desks a

  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:05PM (#41514049) Homepage Journal
    Your needs will depend on, among other things, your layout. Is it a shop/front office setup, a series of small rooms, or just one big open area? Depending on what the physical setup of the building (and computers/phones), a single distribution frame may not be appropriate. Considering the size of the building, I would assume that, in addition to your main distribution frame, at least one IDF (independent distribution frame, i.e. "small telecom closet") would be necessary to overcome the attenuation limitations of Ethernet cabling (assuming this isn't a end-to-end fiber shop, a situtation which would provide many different questions and answers).

    Assuming that the cable is run in anything other than under-floor conduit, talk to your architect about how and where the cable raceway will be placed. It's been my experience that most architects don't take cable installation concerns into account when designing floorplans, and thus you often end up with situations where it is next-to-if-not-impossible to get a new cable down a certain length of run, because the designer placed the raceway too damn close to HVAC equipment, or it runs blind 30' up a column with no access port, or any of at least a dozen other stupid situation's I've been in because nobody thought discussing layout was worth the time.

    What else, what else... Well, you'll probably want to have some 220 and/or 440 circuits brought into your distribution frames, just in case you need that sort of power at a later date (if you don't already now) - I know the Cisco Catalyst series of routers require at least 1 220v Twist-Loc connection for power, 2 with redundant power supplies.

    That's about all the advice I can think of to give, considering the limited information you've provided. Still, useful stuff.
  • Showers. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rthille ( 8526 ) <web-slashdot@ranga[ ]rg ['t.o' in gap]> on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:06PM (#41514063) Homepage Journal

    So that employees can cycle or run/walk to work, or at lunch and not stink up the place. Fit employees are cheaper on the health-care front and happier.

  • For the phones I would make sure your telephony switch supports VoIP handsets and wire anywhere you expect to have a telephone with PoE. All the VoIP phones I've used have a built in switch so you can plug the user's workstation into the phone. Newer phones will have a gigabit switch. I've done testing with Avaya and Cisco phones and I couldn't find any bandwidth limits when plugged into the phone vs. straight into the wall jack. It's a great setup because you don't need power dongles or redundant wirin

  • and Power (3 phase if possible) and enough to triple what you have now to plan for future growth.
  • Closets (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hymie! ( 95907 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:08PM (#41514095)

    Somebody's going to mod me down, but I'm dead serious. This is the second time a company I worked for has moved to a new location with no storage space for anything at all -- HR documents, financial documents, machinery (both active and surplus), office supplies, even employee's coats. Let me assure you how professional it looks to have random file cabinets placed all over what are supposed to be ADA-compliant-width hallways. </sarc>

  • Two essential things you'll want to consider, or at least ask about:

    1) Power in the event your main electrical supply goes out. Do you have a UPS in the data center? Do you need a generator on-site to keep things running? How much is it powering - just IT, or the CNC machines, too?

    2) Make sure every damn thing in the building is easy to access once the building is complete. Light bulbs, faucets, AV equipment, etc. We moved into a beautiful building in 2006, with all sorts of high-tech displays all over

  • Oh, and a big red button for the BOFH to initiate discharge. Preferably with PFY and his (perhaps imaginary) girlfriend snuggling behind a warm rack ;)

    But seriously, just deal with two CAT6 cables going to every desk -- that's all. You don't need any phone wiring, because in this day and age, you can buy cheap IP phones -- say used Zultys ZIP4x4s that cost at most $50 each and work well (but look like crap, sorry) with Asterisk. They have managed ethernet switches built-in. You'll want a decent Linux server

  • by kenh ( 9056 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:13PM (#41514173) Homepage Journal

    I'd suggest the most important things will be power for the server room (incl UPS & backup generator, scaled to your runtime needs for orderly shutdown of servers in case of an extended outage) and run conduits/wiring shelves to enable the easy stringing of fiber/copper in the future.

    I'd also suggest making sure the building is wifi/wireless friendly - if all interior walls are metal, for example, you may need an ungodly number of APs to enable wireless networking.

    As for the server room, I'd think real hard about the size room you think you'll need, then double it. This is your chance to ensure you have enough room for everything now, and while virtualization is all the rage, I wouldn't use that to justify skimping on space. You'll want romm for the equipment, systems you are working on, spare parts, and perhaps space for your desk (preferably with a door between you and the server to cut down on noise).

    Run wiring trays in the server room - run the wires overhead, not under raised floor.

    Finally, don't forget cooling - as servers become denser and denser, their heat output doesn't shrink in my experience. Also, not familiar with CNC shops, but air filtration for the server room might also be in order.

  • A real IT room. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:17PM (#41514283) Homepage

    AS in dedicated AC, dedicated power and dedicated power backup systems. None of this "use storage closet 1A" crap with no AC and no real power.

    Get them to run 4 dedicated 20 amp circuits into that closet. a dedicated AC unit and have them insulate all the walls to keep noise down and cooling efficient. a nice sealing steel door as well to keep the sound from intruding into the office space as well.

    Oh and if you need 3 racks in there, ask for 6 racks of space. I hate the "we made the room wide enough for 3 racks"... how am I supposed to get to the back of them?

    Lastly, assume the contractor and architect are morons. you must spell out your needs exactly. as in "IT closet is 42.5 inches wide by 77.341 inches long with a 92 inch ceiling clearance. Fiberglass batting in all walls and ceiling with 6 inch conduits leaving the room (specify 2X the size of any wiring conduit to ANY location.)

  • by ceide2000 ( 234155 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:21PM (#41514327) Homepage

    A dedicated server/telco room is a must. Room size determination is simple as taking our current rack number and multiple by two. Add 3' ft in the back and 6' in the front. I would also install a dedicated electrical panel. It makes adds/moves/changes much easier later. Also I would hammer on the electrical contractor to insure there is a good ground to the panel. This will mitigate a ton of "transient" problems later. I would also install four 2" conduits to a outside pull box for telco access. That way the local telcos don't tear up your new building trying to bring service in. It also forces the demarc to be inside your server room which makes issues easier to deal with later. Make sure one side of your wall has 3/4" ply/OSB to act as a peg board. A full 4x8 sheet is good enough. Also I would speak with the fire contractor about installing a dry system inside your server room. That way the sprinklers don't ruin your expensive equipment. I would also go for a dedicated AC unit. To size take your current BTU needs and multiple by two. I would also install a solid door with a punch key keypad. You can get inexpensive ones at local hardware store. Lastly since you guys are most likely a warehouse style building so I would not run conduit unless I had too. I would use wire troughs or hangers with shielded CAT6 cable. That way you don't trap yourself later with conduit. If you want to hide the cables then paint them. There are a bunch more suggestions but those are the big ones.

  • Dont forget you also need AC in the dead of winter. So if you DONT have a dedicated AC unit in the room, you will find it VERY hostile in the room when your shared cooling source goes from cool to heat, and instead of it removing heat from the room, it dumps more in. o_O

    Also, dont skimp on a clean agent fire supression system. the last thing you want is a water based sprinkler system in the room flooding the equipment with water when a fire starts. If you have a fire and you have a water based system, the equipment is a total write-off. If its protected by a clean agent system, anything not touched by the fire/heat will be fine. so if you have a trashcan in the room and somebody accidentally puts a cigarette into it, the sprinkler system would destroy the equipment across the room even though it was nowhere near the flames. If a clean agent system fires, you can be in the room again within hours and the equipment is fine.

    here is a cool example. Dated, but cool. This shows a real world demo of a fire in a data room and what happens when both types of suppression systems go off.
    The fun starts at about the 30 second mark. []

  • by dnahelicase ( 1594971 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @01:16PM (#41515207)

    I the only guy as well for a manufacturing company about that size, and probably like you, I wear a lot of hats besides being IT.

    I dream of the day we build from scratch, but we will probably always keep adding on and on. I just re-ran all of our wire last year, went to VOIP, bought out first racks (we were using tables before) etc.

    If I could do it from scratch, I would

    1) Get your own room

    2)Get that room it's own AC, and seal it off as much as possible.

    3) Do what you can to get a non-water fire-suppression system, though it could add a lot of cost

    4) Do what you can to have a nice room with a raised floor (so you can put wire under it) and it's own ceiling. It depends on where you are, but the danger of winds/tornadoes for us is more probable than fire. We had a CNC shop down the road from us get their roof peeled off like a tin-can from straight line winds not too long ago. Water soaked everything in the upstairs office areas.

    5) Obviously use conduit when possible, and Cat6 x2 to as many places as you can. Wire and keystone jacks are cheap. Go crazy with them - you don't have to plug them all in right now.

    6) If you don't have them now, one of these days your boss/owner/VP is going to come in and tell you that you need to put in security cameras, TV announcement screens, one of those stupid "Watchfire" signs outside, or something else random and hard to wire for. It'll happen. Run cable (or make accessible) places you might want to be in the future, and remember that you will want some nice conduit access outside. That cable TV/PRI/Fiber connection might come from any direction. Give yourself options and put conduit in places that can be tunneled to from the outside, preferable in all sides of the building. If everything is from scratch, put conduit under the parking lot!

    7) Reserve your spot for future racks, even if you don't need them now. Eventually you might want some switches in a closet, or a rack in the far corner of the building. It doesn't have to be much, but see if you can get some nice conduit run to some places where you could put a small rack to hold some switches and patch panels. It'll probably be 60 years or more before you move again, and you or the next guy will eventually be tasked with adding something new.

    Oh yeah, document everything and make it super easy to understand. Label your cables using something easy, like self-laminating tabs and a sharpie marker, on top of just numbering them. A number and cross-reference is good, but there's no reason it can't also say "To SW Corner." We also used different color cables for different systems. Between floors are purple, data is blue, telephone-only are green, fiber to outside buildings are orange, inside fiber is blue, etc.

    It won't be too bad to do yourself as long as you have help running cables and conduit. See if you can visit some other factories/businesses in town and get an idea of what their spaces look like.

  • If you can't get into the meetings, you must get a data plan into the architectural drawings.

    I've done this 3 times at work with new buildings or renovations and additions to new buildings. Each time I was only asked as an afterthought, and things got screwed up or left out without my knowledge. In no case did our architects give a moment's thought to data drop locations or cable paths, and if it's not printed on some layer of the drawings, it is not in the plans. It sucks to have to do 3x walk-throughs with the cable installers, scribbling on a copy of the plans, only to have to redo it every time the plans are revised. In the end the electricians will just put the wall boxes wherever they please because your scribbles never make it back to the printed plans, so your network installers will have to cut in their own boxes, raising your installation costs.

    In one building that was constructed about 10 years ago, the server room was moved and the dedicated air conditioning disappeared in the process. That caused the email server crash and corrupted its storage one June weekend when the Buildings and Grounds Manager decided to turn off the AC to save power. Also in the change, the width of the server room shrank by 18 inches, making it impossible to fit a standard server cabinet. The first floor in this building is pretty easy to network, except for the fact that the in-floor conduit grid for the library was hacked out of the plans without my knowledge, but the second floor is a real trial. Wiring passing down the corridor has to pass through about 20' of an indoor soffit with no conduit and no access except from small hatches at each end. It just has J-hooks and a pull-string, and the pull-string broke.

    In one building added onto about 10 years ago there is no network closet. The IDF is a cabinet perched above a slop sink. No disaster's yet, but I'm waiting for the day when someone splashes water into the power outlet.

    In another building offices on sides are separated by masonry walls floor to cieling (no drop ceiling) and a gymnasium and workout room. The only conduits connecting the 2 sides are 3, 1" underground runs from the data/sports equipment closet to a locker room in the far corner of the building, or a long, serpentine nest of conduits around the gym ceiling. The building was renovated about 4 years ago when the workout room and additional office was added. They could have added a simple 4" or so conduit through the workout room. Instead, I'm using the underground conduits, making the data runs about 100 feet longer than they need to be and a lot more trouble than they need to be. The underground cat 5e cables have not shorted out yet, but it's just

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern