This week BICSI (Building Industry Consulting Service International), an international telecommunications association, announced the availability of their BICSI 002-2010 Data Center Design and Best Practices standard. Rather than something like the guidelines found in the Uptime Institute Tier Standards, the BICSI standard document reads more like a set of guidelines that cut across all of the different types of knowledge required to build a complete datacenter.
Based on the information found in their association magazine in an article by Jonathon Jew, the co-chair of their Data Center Standards Subcommittee and lead editor of the standard, the document doesn't seem to look to establish standards for all of the practices it discusses, but rather give a very complete overview of all of the practices necessary to build and operate a modern datacenter. As Mr. Jew states in his article, the document "is a great reference guide to anyone planning a data center or data center modifications"
Clearly the 400-page document isn't attempting to be the end-all of datacenter information and it is provided with the understanding that it should complement other existing datacenter standards. But having a document that provides a good overview of all of the processes involved in datacenter design and that is written in a way that allows technical specialists in different areas of expertise to look at the interactions of all of the technical specialties involved in the datacenter.
From the outline of the document it's obvious that it isn't perfect; my first thought was that it lacked significant coverage of green technology topics; especially those that go across multiple technical disciplines. This feeling was confirmed on the BICSI website, with the acknowledgement that this is an evolving standard and that new topics being considered for inclusion included expanding green technologies that apply to the datacenter.
Shortcomings aside, I like the idea of an "overview" type document for datacenter design and it seems that BICSI has given this first attempt a good start.