Just how much does the computer room square footage matter?
Because of the nature of our business, we most often work with the architect early in a project to coordinate the overall technology requirements for the entire facility. One of the first things we do is space planning which includes the MDF and IDF rooms.
One of the questions we hear most often in the hospitality sector is: why does the computer room require more space?
First consider that the computer room usually has the following systems.
Point of Sale and Property Management Servers
Telephone PBX System, including call accounting and voice mail servers
Voice Data cabling system, and High Speed Internet Access Rack
Free to Guest MATV system Server
Free to Guest MATV over the air broadcast High Definition Server
Pay per View MATV server.
It may also include a Security Head End, Flyte Board head end system, Audio Visual equipment, Wireless Telephone equipment, and a Distributed Antenna System for enhanced cellular coverage. Just listing what needs to be and what might be in the room suggests that the room cannot be ‘broom closet’ sized.
Still, when we recommend more room be allocated, we are sometimes asked to justify the computer room expansion. We do so by examining the original space allotted by the architect, then creating a visual document to show the systems planned for the room, and the requirements for each system. This document considers realities such as how each system is mounted or set up, the placement of each system based on required accessibility, proximity to cable destinations, and heat load. It justifies the additional space and acts as a guide for set up of the systems to be included in the room.
The computer room (often called a telecom room) once housed little more than the telephone switch. A smaller room handled this requirement quite easily. The computer room has evolved since then. Not only is it the home to many more systems (listed above), but in many ways has become the “heartbeat” of the hotel. Unexpected downtime of any one system can cost the hotel money. To make certain this room does the job well, we may recommend and justify that an architect allocate 20 or 25 square feet more than originally designed because as a company that plans and designs commercial technology, we realize those few extra square feet matter.