Bill Kosik, Principal Data Center Energy Technologist at Hewlett-Packard (www.hp.com), says:

Why are the HP Critical Facilities Implementation service and Flexible Data Center useful in today’s enterprise data centers? Why should data center and IT managers care about it? How can they benefit from it?

Aging data centers are forcing many organizations into a corner. Many are running out of space, have insufficient power or operate in environmental conditions that threaten business continuity.

Clients considering their data center strategy might be unsure whether to retrofit their existing data centers or to build new from the ground-up. The decision to build or retrofit is not a simple choice and will have major financial and operational repercussions. Organizations expect data centers to last a long time, so careful evaluation of the entire IT space and the company’s critical assets portfolio over the long term is required.

There are essentially three options available:

1. Implement small, tactical operational improvements
2. Build a new data center
3. Retrofit an existing data center

Segments of the data center industry are undergoing a rapid and significant transformation that can potentially meet the need for more modular, scalable, reliable, energy efficient, and cost effective facilities. Now-a-days monolithic data centers are only being used for certain, specialized uses. Other than these, the rest of the industry has shifted towards modularity and scalability.

Whatever the chosen strategy, it is important to design new or refreshed sites accordingly, delivering faster time to economic value, increased utilization and capacity as well as lower energy, operation and maintenance costs. Such data centers will have a converged infrastructure – more energy efficient, more reliable, and with greater flexibility.

HP is an expert integrator for the planning, design, building and commissioning of data centers – from concept to commissioning, and beyond. We help businesses get the most of their data centers by combining our facilities consulting, design and assurance services together with turnkey construction project management.

HP’s Critical Facilities Implementation (CFI) service simplifies the process of designing and building data centers by offering design, construction and project management from a single vendor. With HP CFI, clients can lower their cost of ownership by having a single integrator that delivers all elements of a data center design-build project from start to finish. For organizations looking to build new data centers or expand existing facilities, CFI provides a holistic approach, streamlining the process for faster builds at lower costs.

In addition to HP’s consulting and support services to design and build data centers, HP also offers a new data center design that cuts the capital investment required for the data centers in half while reducing an organization’s carbon footprint. HP Flexible Data Center (HP Flexible DC), a component of HP CFI, offers a industrialized, modular approach to designing and building data centers that allows clients to replace traditional data center designs with a flexible solution that can be expanded as needed while conserving resources.

The Flexible DC has a unique design concept termed the “butterfly” which features four prefabricated data center modules that stem off a central spine housing administrative and other functions. Several different options for power and cooling topologies are available, based on the functional requirements and the climate in which the data center is located. The final product looks like a traditional brick-and-mortar facility but is designed and constructed using a very efficient industrial process, where major portions of the data center are built and tested off-site and assembled in the field. This allows for a very fast design and construction process that optimizes both first cost and on-going costs.

Where should the HP Critical Facilities Implementation service and Flexible Data Center rank in terms of overall priority in the data center?

We believe these services should be very high priorities. The HP Critical Facilities Implementation service is a natural first step for organizations looking to develop a roadmap for data center growth. This service converges technology with strategic facilities planning to cover all aspects of client needs, whether they are updating an existing data center or building new from the ground up.

Clients, such as financial service providers, government entities, and cloud and colocation hosts, will find the scalable and modular nature of HP Flexible DC a compelling option. We help organizations innovate the way they build and operate a greenfield data center for greater savings over its life span. Clients rely on our strategic facilities insight and experience globally – this includes mature geographies as well as major growth markets like China and India, where we are currently providing these CFI services for large-scale data centers.

What are the biggest challenges for data center and IT managers when it comes to HP Critical Facilities Implementation services and Flexible Data Center?

Data center facilities are undergoing a sea-change. Today’s power and thermal requirements for IT equipment are strongly influencing and in some cases changing the way electrical and cooling systems are designed. Monolithic data centers, once a hallmark for reliability and availability, are no longer economically viable, nor sufficiently flexible for today’s business environments.

Modular design, as it is applied to a traditional brick-and-mortar data center, will offer improved flexibility and lower construction costs over a monolithic data center. But using this approach still requires both infrastructure and IT space for future expansion. While a definite improvement, modular design might still be too costly and for some enterprises.
These and many other complex decisions must be made before starting the design and construction process. Obtaining the data necessary to make these decisions requires a partner with highly specialized engineering expertise and a rigorous process to help clients understand the key technology trade-offs and financial and performance impacts.

How can data center and IT managers overcome those challenges?

HP Critical Facilities Implementation services help organizations overcome the headaches caused by a fragmented design-build process. Funneling the entire process through a single integrator creates continuity and gives organizations an end-to-end experience. Leveraging the Flexible DC design also eliminates future hassles when expanding data center facilities as an organization’s technology needs increase. The flexible design facilitates expansion and significantly reduces build time.

As a result of using HP’s CFI service and Flexible DC design, organizations are able to experience faster build times for data center facilities at reduced costs. While cutting capital investment, the faster build time also allows organizations to realize benefits quicker and expand without business disruption.

What advice can you give to IT and data center managers that have a plethora of similar solutions to choose from?

HP is the only vendor that can offer a full turnkey design-build offering without having to partner with outside consulting design or construction management firms for elements of the solution, such as design engineering and the creation of blueprint drawings. Similarly, no other vendor can execute a comprehensive data center implementation plan. With HP, organizations can avoid a fragmented approach to their data center design-builds. Working with HP provides clients with a controlled, end-to-end experience resulting in faster design and build time as well as reduced costs.

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