Here at DAMAC, we see the engineer as the cornerstone to every successful infrastructure project. Having a partner like the DAMAC Director of Engineering, Erich Hamilton, allows data center planners to have complete trust in the execution of their project. As the head of DAMAC engineering, Erich brings years of experience and competitive insight that he utilizes in creating the ideal outcome for each project he oversees.
For a better look at DAMAC’s Engineering expertise, we asked Erich a few questions to get his thoughts on a transforming landscape.
Q: How does data center planning differ from your past experiences?
A: My previous experience was with a defense contractor mainly working on projects that involved equipment integration into land vehicles for the US armed forces. Designs had to withstand outdoor environmental elements and the pace of forward moving technology innovation in that industry was slow most of the time. Data center design, by contrast, is obviously indoors and I am noticing that the rate of changing technology is pretty rapid. This causes our customers to demand designs from us that are constantly evolving to keep up with their latest equipment.
Q: What sets DAMAC apart in the engineering space?
A: One of the things that I have heard a number of times from our customers is that they appreciate the flexibility that they are afforded when it comes to custom designs. The expertise of the DAMAC engineering team allows them to have very few limitations on their data center design requirements. I also like to think that our engineers design with a certain element of style that is not always found in products from other companies. Even though data centers may not be seen by a large number of people, customers still want a product that looks good.
Q: When visiting a site for the first time, what is the first consideration you take into account for planning?
A: One of the first things I look at is floor space in the data center. The available floor space dictates the rack footprint as well as the area that needs to be controlled by aisle containment. From there, you can add other design elements to accommodate equipment requirements- like rack height and cooling provisions.
Q: What is your favorite part about customization?
A: I really enjoy the interaction with the customer when working on a customized project. It’s a chance to do something new that could lead to a better way of designing our products. It is also a great way to find out about new or emerging industry trends from those who are out there in the field.
Q: Are there any big infrastructure trends to watch out for?
A: One thing that I’ve recently read about is the fact that companies like Netflix and Spotify have been migrating their infrastructures to the cloud. This means that cloud system providers like Amazon, Google and Microsoft will have even more influence on industry design standards than they already do. I’m sure this trend of moving to the cloud will continue.
Q: Are there any surprising details in the data center space where you find specific opportunities to customize?
A: I’m sometimes surprised at the customization that customers request for cable management. Running cables in a rack seems like such a simple and obvious requirement but everyone is looking for new ways to maximize space inside their cabinet envelope.
Q: Why is it so beneficial to be on hand from the beginning? How do you continue to be a partner once the project is complete?
A: Data center design is truly a collaborative effort between the customer and engineer. The engineer must be there from the beginning in order to produce a design that will not only meet the customer’s requirements, but also be cost effective and easily manufactured. There are many times when the customer knows what they need but they don’t know how to get there. The engineer is there to bridge that gap. Even after the original project is complete, there are many times when the customer wants to expand their data center capabilities. DAMAC is always there for them to help with building onto the original product or starting to design a new one that will compliment the original’s performance.
Q: How do you foresee infrastructure trends transforming in the next 10 years?
A: As with a number of industries these days, I think that trends in the future will migrate to ones that are rooted in making data center design more efficient and Green. I’ve seen some articles including this one by Data Center Knowledge recently, that are describing designs of small urban data centers that fit into their environments functionally and economically. Designs are along the lines of using server heat exhaust to warm pools where the idea is multi-use. I think this kind of design is in early stages but will continue to grow in the future.