Done the right way, data center power distribution is strongly adaptable, reliable, and efficient. Over time, various distribution options for IT equipment have appeared in data powerhouses due to significant improvements in design, reconfigurability, efficiency, and monitoring. These optimal changes have challenged the traditional architecture of a data center layout and prompted an active conversation about which kind of power distribution is best.

Power cables are cumbersome and bulky and come in various, fixed lengths. Hence, there are numerous benefits and drawbacks to either running power overhead or installing it under a raised floor. For overall flexibility and efficiency of your power infrastructure, it’s critical to choose a cable management system that works well for your data center. Here’s how to decide between overhead and underfloor power.

Consider Budget and Initial Installation

Different solutions tend to benefit different data centers. In an overhead system installation, power cabling and electrical conduits are traditionally dispatched via a network wire or metal tray and discharged above server rows. This infrastructure can be beneficial because it’s less expensive, requires less encompassing floor space, and is ideal for shorter building spaces. General cost savings are higher.

During the installation process for underfloor power distribution systems, a combination of vertical and horizontal bars are firmly attached to the slab floor of a data center, which creates an elevated grid. This raised surface floor allows for power cabling and electrical conduits to be routed underneath the subfloor to discharge at data boxes or receptacles below data cabinets. A majority of data centers are built with underfloor power systems for airflow and appearance purposes. While the cost is greater, cables can be kept “out of sight, out of mind” in a larger space.

Consider Long-Term Management

When you’re wondering how to decide between overhead and underfloor power, it’s best to keep long-term management goals in mind. The right kind of busway power structure will depend not only on current data center needs and ambitions but growth and flexibility for the future.

There is no optimal cookie-cutter overhead cable management design. The decision is yours to build up a data center that best pushes fuel into the digital economy. Just remember what Uncle Ben once told Peter Parker: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Consider the Effect on the Heating/Cooling System

Size and budget may drive the decision on an overhead versus underfloor power structure, but cost-effectiveness is another factor to be cognizant of. Installing an overhead power infrastructure produces a potential air circulation challenge. Effective cooling methods are vital for an energy-efficient data center. On the other hand, a raised floor creates a strategic channel for easier cooling management.

Whichever cable management you choose for your server room, be sure to install the highest-quality components on the market. Here at PowerWhips, we supply a variety of durable overhead and underfloor data center power cables. Our engineers are standing by to ensure your configurations are up to technical standards, and are designed in a way that can help future proof your power infrastructure. Browse through our products with confidence today.