There are windows in your Data Center? Seriously?!?!?

Are there windows in the shell of the building housing your data center? Let’s give this 5 milliseconds of serious thought, shall we?

First, relying strictly upon common sense, the #1 material threat to infrastructure in the Midwest is severe weather and/or tornadic activity. Large expanses of glass will likely be compromised in even an EF0 (Enhanced Fujita Category Zero) tornadic event. This likelihood is increased if the glass in question faces to the West. Also in the common sense category, if the weather doesn’t compromise the windows in the building shell, a vandal or saboteur can do so with ease.

Secondly, all ANSI data center construction standards either discourage or outright prohibit exterior windows or discourage the use of windows in the building shell:

  • Directly from the ANSI/TIA-942A 2012 Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Data Centers: Tier/Rated 3 – “Interior windows allowed with minimum 1-hour fire rating, no exterior windows allowed.” Rated 4 – “Interior windows allowed with minimum 2-hour fire rating, no exterior windows allowed.”
  • Directly from ANSI/BICSI 0002-2014 Data Center Design and Implementation Best Practices: “Windows should not be placed in the computer room, storage areas, equipment rooms, restrooms, locker, or utility rooms. If windows are necessary or preexisting, the windowsill shall be at least 2.4 m (8 ft) about the finished floor or any other surface that might provide access.” Additionally, “Windows mounted on the exterior of a data center building shell are designed to provide natural light, natural ventilation, and visual access, none of which are necessary or advisable for the computer room and many of the secured areas of the data center.

For these reasons, any credible data center auditor will write major, show-stopping findings for data center with windows every time they see one.

This begs the question: If your data center provider is so uninformed that they built an obviously inadequate building shell, WHAT ELSE DID THEY GET WRONG? Are they even aware that these standards exist? Can they discuss them intelligently?

Lifeline Data Centers is more than simply aware of these standards – members of their staff are certified experts on these standards. In fact, one of Lifeline Data Centers’ owners and primary designers is one of only three Certified TIA-942 Auditors and one of only four Certified TIA-942 Design Consultants in the United States of America (feel free to investigate at

We at Lifeline Data Centers strongly recommend that you ask your current data center operator about their knowledge of and their conformity with these standards. Of course, feel free to ask us, too. We have detailed files.

Alex Carroll

Alex Carroll

Managing Member at Lifeline Data Centers
Alex, co-owner, is responsible for all real estate, construction and mission critical facilities: hardened buildings, power systems, cooling systems, fire suppression, and environmentals. Alex also manages relationships with the telecommunications providers and has an extensive background in IT infrastructure support, database administration and software design and development. Alex architected Lifeline’s proprietary GRCA system and is hands-on every day in the data center.