Decommissioning a Data Center: What You Need to Know – 25 Steps to Success

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

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. Alternatively, they will hire a company such as USA Decom to provide turnkey decommissioning services.

In this guide, we will walk you through how to successfully decommission a data center for a client. This includes 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 the scope with the client and landlord

The first step to decommission a data center is to discuss the scope of the project with the client and landlord. Involving the identification of equipment and systems to be removed, we actively address any challenges or constraints. This ensures a comprehensive approach to the planning process.

2. Tour site to be decommissioned

Following the initial phone conversation about the project, our team will visit prospective clients at their data center for a tour. During this visit, we create an inventory of equipment for sale or disposal and identify any challenges in the removal process 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 the scope with the 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 to ensure that all parties have a clear understanding of what needs to be done and how it will be accomplished.

4. Determine the value or credit of the 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 the 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 the 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 removing any equipment, an electrician must safely deactivate it electrically to ensure that the equipment is no longer live and does not pose any risk of electrical shock or fire.

7. Remove all refrigerant

A mechanical team must remove the refrigerant from all CRAC units and condensers before removing that equipment from the data center. We do this to ensure that we dispose of the refrigerant properly and prevent harm to the environment.

8. Remove diesel fuel from generator

The process of decommissioning a data center necessitates the extraction of diesel fuel from all generator systems. We can either sell this fuel for reuse or responsibly recycle it to minimize environmental impact.


9. Prepare generator for removal

We must prepare generators for removal by disconnecting all power and fuel lines to ensure we can safely remove them from the data center.

10. Remove all servers and network equipment from server racks

We must disconnect and pull out all servers and network equipment from the server racks before removing the racks from the site. To ensure proper handling for potential sale or disposal, we undertake this task.

11. Remove all server racks

After taking out all servers and network equipment, we can remove and either sell or recycle the server racks.


12. Remove PDUs

Our team will remove all PDUs (Power Distribution Units) from the data center and their related feeds to the server rack rows.

13. Remove CRAC units

We must remove all CRAC (Computer Room Air Conditioning) units from the data center to dispose of them by recycling or selling them.

14. Remove CRAC ducting

We must remove all CRAC ducting from the data center and recycle it.

15. Remove raised floor

After removing all the equipment like electrical gear, CRAC units, and PDUs, we will remove the raised flooring from the data center and dispose of or sell it.


16. Remove electrical equipment including switchgear and transformers

We must remove all electrical equipment, including switchgear and transformers, from the data center and dispose of or sell them.

17. Remove all CRAC unit conduit

If the conduit connected to the CRAC units was under the raised flooring, we will remove and recycle it all.We must remove all electrical equipment, including switchgear and transformers, from the data center and dispose of or sell them.

18. Crane onsite

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

19. Remove condensers from exterior

We will use the crane 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)

We will use the crane to remove and load the generators onto a truck for safe disposal or repurposing.

21. Repair the roof as required

We will repair any damage to the roof of the data center caused by the removal of condensers and electrical equipment. This ensures the structural integrity and longevity of the facility. Use the roofing company that the landlord requires in order to keep the warranty active.

22. Remove all electrical conduit and copper feeds

We must remove all electrical conduit feeds and copper feeds from the data center, and we will recycle them.

23. Perform all required interior building renovations

We will renovate the data center as necessary after removing all equipment and systems. This includes repairs to drywall, painting, and floor and ceiling repairs.


24. Broom sweep building

To ensure the site is ready for the next step of the process, we will thoroughly clean the data center by sweeping all debris and dust.

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

We will conduct a final walk-through of the data center with the client and/or landlord to ensure that we have completed all tasks to their satisfaction. This ensures that the data center is ready for its next use.

USA Decom is a leading company to provide decommission of data center services. We have a team of experienced professionals with the expertise and skills to handle all of the tasks listed above. Additionally, we commit ourselves to maintaining safety, compliance, and quality. We, drawing upon our experience working with a wide range of clients and industries, dedicate ourselves to providing the best possible service. We strive for excellence at all times. Trust that USA Decom will execute your data center decommissioning project safely, efficiently, and within budget. Contact us today to tell us about your upcoming decommissioning project.

Decommission Your Data Center

Welcome to USA Decom! We provide safe and efficient decommissioning services for a variety of industries, including energy, telecommunications, and data centers. Our team of experts is committed to providing top-notch solutions to our clients, and we take pride in ensuring that every project is executed with the utmost professionalism and attention to detail.

Hire one company to purchase your equipment and decommission your data center – Contact USA Decom today to learn more about our services and how we can help you get the most value out of your equipment while performing a safe and quick decom.

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