Healthcare Data Centers - Modernizations to Consider
Laura Polas, LEDG
Healthcare Data Centers

Healthcare technology and facility leaders are looking to modernize their data centers under immense pressure to improve security, increase responsiveness, and lower operational costs. While data center power and cooling solutions continue to advance, and healthcare space for essential computing is at a premium, the following are four data center improvements leaders can address that may exponentially impact the organization's ability to provide services with speed, scale, and resiliency.

Location, Location, Location

Leading Edge Design Group (LEDG) does significant work in healthcare designing, planning, and building data centers. We modernize existing data centers and build new ones. Some organizations believe there are no possibilities in old buildings; the only option is to move everything to a colocation facility or acquire funding for a new facility—all are possibilities and sometimes the right solution. However, there are several ways to modernize an existing data center with incremental investments, even in the exact location. But not without evaluating organizational-wide technology and computing requirements, including storage, latency, and growth factors. Footprint requirements should be a part of the evaluation and will drive the careful evaluation of the current and possible locations. Keep in mind that upgrading with an outdated data center design does not work. The project could warrant a modern data center design to modernize a current or new data center location if significant upgrades are in order.

Upgrade Telecommunications Rooms and Use Edge Monitoring

The processing in healthcare telecommunications rooms (TR) is vital to day-to-day operations. Often TRs are in dense and somewhat at-risk locations across a healthcare campus. These rooms, often called edge computing locations, are a perfect candidate for monitoring software that enables facility leaders to receive notifications of equipment failures, emergencies, or room breaches. An enterprise-wide monitoring solution enables leaders across many facilities to prepare for equipment upgrades and improve the overall security of the infrastructure beyond the data center.

High-Density Requirements

For a healthcare organization's data center to utilize its physical space, it must deploy high-density server racks, or its physical space needs to be incredibly large. To keep up with the demand of modern technology such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), digital health tools, and other digitized medical devices that produce vast amounts of data, IT and facility leaders need to install high-density racks or cabinets to support high-density per rack requirements (above 15kw). This power density improvement optimizes space using less footprint while providing the infrastructure needed for the next few years as computing demands increase due to technology refreshes, mergers and acquisitions, and the need to support other healthcare organizations like skilled nursing, surgical centers, and outpatient treatment centers as examples.

Modernize Power and Cooling for Efficiency and Cost Savings

The Summer of 2022 exposed cooling system vulnerabilities across the industry. Per-rack power requirements are starting to exceed 20 kilowatts (kW), and many healthcare organizations are looking at 50 kW or more to increase processing power. Air cooling solutions are evolving to address higher densities with greater efficiency. As higher densities increase, there can be diminishing efficiency returns and less sufficient cooling. More organizations are exploring liquid cooling to increase the capacity and efficiency of data center cooling by using higher thermal transfer of water and other fluids for more efficient and cost-effective cooling of high-density racks. See Data Center Cooling Challenges for more details.

If your infrastructure needs attention, evaluate these four key areas to see if proactive action can improve the services you deliver to the organization, better support your staff, and prepare for the next wave of technology demands.

See how we have helped healthcare organizations plan, design, and build data centers.

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