Decommissioning a data center is a complex and multi-faceted process that requires careful planning and execution. From identifying the equipment and systems that will be removed, to ensuring that all safety protocols and environmental regulations are followed, there are many steps that must be taken to ensure a successful outcome for such a large project. 

For a typical data center decommission, facility managers are responsible for coordinating with departments within their company to determine the scope of the project. Next, they must also request bids from a variety of vendors to complete a number of tasks, or alternatively, they will hire a company such as USA Decom to provide turn-key decommissioning services.

In this guide, we will walk you through the 25 steps required to successfully decommissioning a data center for a client, including discussing the scope with them and their landlord, creating an inventory of equipment, determining the value or credit of the equipment to be removed, and much more. By following these steps, we ensure that your data center decommissioning process is completed efficiently and successfully, leaving your data center ready for its next phase of life.

1. Discuss scope with client and landlord

The first step in decommissioning a data center is to discuss the scope of the project with the client and landlord. This includes identifying the equipment and systems that will be removed, as well as any challenges or constraints that need to be taken into account.

2. Tour site

Following the initial phone conversation about the project, one of our team members will visit with prospective clients at their data center for a tour, where we create an  inventory of equipment to be sold or disposed and determine any removal challenges. This allows for a better understanding of the scope of the project and any potential issues that may arise during the decommissioning process.

3.Finalize scope with customer and landlord

Based on the information gathered during the site tour, we will finalize the scope of the project with the client and landlord ensure that all parties have a clear understanding of what needs to be done and how it will be accomplished.

4. Determine value or credit of equipment to be removed

The assets that will be removed from the data center site have a dollar value, and depending on the age and condition of the equipment at the site, some of it can be sold, and some of it will be disposed of. The result of this evaluation will be an important part of the proposal that will be presented to the client, because it may lower the cost of entire project if equipment will be sold, or it may increase the overall cost due to the disposal costs.

5. Proposal presented and accepted by client

Once the scope and value/credit of the project have been determined, we will create a detailed proposal and will present it to the client. Upon acceptance of the proposal, the decommissioning process can begin.

6. Electrically safe off all equipment

Before any equipment can be removed, it must be electrically safed off by an electrician to ensure that the equipment is no longer live and poses no risk of electrical shock or fire.

7. Remove all refrigerant

A mechanical team must remove the refrigerant from all CRAC units and condensers before that equipment can be removed from the data center. This is done to ensure that the refrigerant is disposed of properly and does not harm the environment.

8. Remove diesel fuel

Diesel fuel must be removed from all generators before they can be removed from the data center. It is either sold for re-use or properly recycled.

9. Prepare generator for removal

Generators must be prepared for removal by disconnecting all power and fuel lines to ensure that they can be safely removed from the data center.

10. Remove all servers and network equipment from server racks

All servers and network equipment must be disconnected and pulled out from the server racks before the racks can be removed from the site. This is done to ensure that they are handled properly so they can be sold or disposed of.

11. Remove all server racks

Once all servers and network equipment have been taken out, the server racks can be removed and sold or recycled.

12. Remove PDUs

Our team will remove all PDUs (Power Distribution Units) from the data center. 

13. Remove CRAC units

All CRAC (Computer Room Air Conditioning) units must be removed from the data center to be disposed of or sold.

14. Remove CRAC ducting

All CRAC ducting must be removed from the data center and recycled.

15. Remove raised floor

The raised flooring must be removed from the data center and is disposed of or sold.

16. Remove electrical equipment including switchgear and transformers

All electrical equipment including switchgear and transformers must be removed from the data center and disposed of or sold.

17. Remove all CRAC unit conduit

If conduit connected to the CRAC units were under the raised flooring, it will all be removed and recycled.

18. Crane onsite

We will arrange for a crane to be brought onsite to facilitate the removal of large equipment such as condensers, generators and large transformers.

19. Remove condensers from exterior

The crane will be used to remove the condensers from the exterior of the data center, whether they are located on the roof or ground.

20. Remove and load generator(s)

The crane will also be used to remove and load the generators onto a truck for safe disposal or repurposing.

21. Repair roof as required

Any damage to the roof of the data center caused by the removal of equipment will be repaired.

22. Remove all electrical pipework and copper feeds

All electrical pipework and copper feeds must be removed from the data center and will be recycled.

23. Perform all required interior building renovations

After the removal of all equipment and systems, the data center will be renovated as necessary, including repairs to drywall, painting, and floor and ceiling repairs.

24. Broom sweep building

The data center will be thoroughly cleaned by sweeping all debris and dust to ensure that the site is ready for the next step of the process.

25. Final walk-through with client and/or landlord

A final walk-through of the data center will be conducted with the client and/or landlord to ensure that all tasks have been completed to their satisfaction and that the data center is ready for its next use.

USA Decom is a leading provider of data center decommissioning services. We have a team of experienced professionals who have the expertise and skills to handle all of the tasks listed above, as well as a commitment to safety, compliance, and quality. We have experience working with a wide range of clients and industries and are dedicated to providing the best possible service at all times. With USA Decom, you can trust that your data center decommissioning project will be done safely, efficiently, and within budget. Contact us today to tell us about your upcoming decommissioning project.


CALL NOW to speak to a Facility Decommissioning Expert: 31-USADECOM or (318) 723-3266.