Behold, the school district data center.

To the untrained eye, it’s just a room full of servers, racks, cables, power supplies, storage devices, and whatever other components happen to be lying around.

But it’s so much more than that. It’s the backbone of your entire technology infrastructure. If even the smallest thing goes wrong, you could very well lose access to the network and systems you rely on to keep your district functioning.

Given the data center’s importance, one might expect a great deal of care to be put into its construction and upkeep. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case in school districts. Here are five common mistakes to avoid when planning your next data center.

5 biggest data center mistakes (and how to fix them)

1) Stick it in the basement
When budgets get tight, physical workspaces are at a premium. One district IT team we spoke with had its entire floor in an administrative building given over to another department. When asked to move the data center (“What? You can’t just unhook everything, move it to a new location, and put it back together?”), the tech staff was stunned to learn that its “new location” was the basement of a warehouse where snow clearing equipment was stored.

Why is this bad?
Strict temperature control and minimal exposure to the elements are the most basic elements of data-center best practices. Basements make for poor locations due to the added risks of water damage from flooding and plumbing issues. Basements in storage warehouses are doubly bad, given the increase in grit, grime, and temperature fluctuation.

About the Author:

John Jennings is the digital media manager at Skyward and managing editor for the Advancing K12 blog. He is a champion of culture and sworn enemy of red tape. You can follow John on Twitter at @LeadWithCulture.


Add your opinion to the discussion.