New Data Center
– Andy Pace, COO with SingleHop, says:
So, your company’s computing needs have outgrown your own servers. What do you do now? It’s critical that you select just the right new data center for your company.
With so many choices available on the market today, shopping for a data center may seem a bit overwhelming. However, if you know what to look for, you can line up the right solution in no time.
First, you need to find a reputable broker and decide what your specific data center requirements are — this will help the broker understand what to look for during the process.
The specifics are where it gets a bit complex. Here are six factors to consider when shopping for your next data center:
How much power does your current hardware use? The average cabinet in a SingleHop data center ranges from 5-7 kw a cabinet. To put that into perspective, the average household alone uses 5 kw.
Other things to consider: basic power redundancies and power codes. For example, to support our SLA and business, we need 2N uninterruptable power supplies (UPS) and N+1 generators with 2N mechanicals to ensure redundancies. One factor to consider is confirming the number of utility codes the electrical system complies with. Typically, the more codes, the higher the quality, but the cost ends up being higher.
Because we strive to “be green,” efficiency is key. We aim to fit as many customers into one small space to keep things energy efficient. We also focus on our power usage effectiveness (PUE). The average data center PUE is 2.0, but we aim for 1.5-1.6 PUE. Some companies manage to have a lot lower ratings, between 0.8 and 1.2 PUE, but that’s really unrealistic for us as an IaaS and PaaS provider. Our customers have a wide variety of workloads and supporting that requires a diverse range of power needs.
Retail versus Wholesale
Choosing between retail and wholesale leasing spaces is an important component to consider. Finding a retail space within a data center will make life easier because all the power and trimmings are already in place. The only downside is that this option costs more per square foot, including the cost of utilities. However, when leasing a wholesale space, you get a section of the data center to build out. The cost is cheaper overall, but you have to design all of your own networking and power options.
You don’t want to pick a place that’s prone to natural disasters, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, or earthquakes. That’s why Phoenix has been a good choice for our company. Obviously, you can’t predict the weather and a potential tornado can happen even in Chicago in the middle of winter, but you can be sure we preemptively flipped on our start-up generators—just-in-case.
In very specialized cases, you might need your data center located right in the middle of the city, but the prices are much higher. We’ve been pleased with having our Chicago data centers located in the suburbs because the base, rent, and power is cheaper, and our customers have zero need for city localization.
You also want to consider the data center’s location to the local telehouse. If you’re too far away, you won’t be able to get a good connection, which ties right into carrier neutrality.
Carrier neutral means that your data center can connect to a number of different providers and networks, depending on your distance from the local telehouse. Odds are you already have a relationship with certain carriers, so you want to make sure your data center can connect to them. Being in a carrier neutral data center adds to the overall robustness of your network.
Data center design is extremely important and will differ depending on your company’s scope. But you always want it to have network concurrent maintainability, which means that anything in your data center can be shut down and kept down for a period of time without affecting any ongoing processing. In a nutshell, your customers will have no idea you’re doing any maintenance since everything will still be working for them.
The reputation of a data center can really make or break a deal. The best providers generally have the best designs and best quality. They also have the most facilities if your company ever needs future expansion.
Remember to also verify the electric grids, backups, and all of your other requirements. Don’t be afraid to have multiple choices because you should be comparing all the different features, TI, redundancies, and carrier support in order to make the best possible selection. With a decent amount of research, you should be able to figure out which data center will best fit your company’s needs.
Now comes the fun part: touring the data centers. If you find one that works well for your company, it’s time to start the negotiations. Price, rent, early occupancy, right of first refusal, and power requirements are all up for grabs in the negotiation process, so don’t be afraid to dive right in. It will be worth it in the long run.