How to establish server room power requirements

Power is an important element of the data center. In this installment from our How to design a Windows Sever room Guide, learn how to outline your server room power needs .

Determining how power your Windows server room will need can be complex, and you should consult with an electrician...

to determine the maximum load ratings for every piece of hardware that will be in your data center.

On average, 45 to 60 watts per square foot is typical. However, a densely packed Windows server room may require 80-100 watts per square foot or more. Don't forget to add the server room power requirements for the overhead lighting, UPS, rack mounted fans and air-conditioning units.

Next, estimate the number of outlets required and their approximate placement. For any floor-mounted outlets, consider using power whips (outlets attached to flexible cabling) instead of fixed outlets to allow some flexibility in moving server racks. Be sure to distribute the server's electrical load across the circuits, and build this into your expansion planning guidelines. Consider isolating cooling and ventilation power onto its own circuit to prevent power fluctuations. All power cables should be shielded in a flexible steel conduit encased in a cooper shield to prevent electrical noise (EMI) from reaching your network cables and equipment.

The power redundancy requirements of your Windows server room will depend on your uptime requirements. Data centers with domain controllers, DNS servers, web servers and other mission critical systems will require backup generators as well as UPS units. Decide early which servers (and circuits) will be tied to generator power and which will simply be tied to Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS).

Finally, check the quality of the power coming into the building, and make sure that it's within the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) specifications. If not, consider installing power conditioning devices.


 Determine Windows server room size requirements
  Reserve a Windows server room location
  Windows server room power requirements
 Windows server room environmental controls
 Windows server room rack solutions and cable management techniques
 Choosing Windows server room flooring
  Windows server room security

Bernie Klinder, MVP, consultant
Bernie Klinder is a technology consultant for a number of Fortune 500 companies. He is also the founder and former editor of, a comprehensive resource index for IT professionals who support Microsoft Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 and BackOffice products. For his contributions to the information technology community, Bernie was selected as an MVP (Most Valuable Professional) by Microsoft. Copyright 2004 TechTarget
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