CIOs, Cost and the Data Center – Part 1: From Site Planning to Deployment

IO New Jersey Colocation Data Center

This is the first in a two-part series where we look at the costs and benefits of modular v. traditional across the lifecycle of the data center. The cost and benefit information used here comes from a report recently published by DatacenterDynamics’ research arm, DCD Intelligence.  In this first post, we look at the planning & preparation and the deployment phases  of the data center lifecycle.

Efficient IT certainly demands making the data center cheaper, faster and greener, but in a world in which the data center is the heart of IT operations, CIOs must also be cognizant of  IT capital costs and operating expenses  — including energy. In other words, data center decisions must be based on a wide range of factors, including costs and benefits across the full lifecycle of the data center.

That’s important from a bottom line perspective – the cost of taking a data center offline for maintenance, for example, shouldn’t be left out of the calculation. Lifecycle is also important from a sustainability perspective – the sustainability of the data center is affected not just by efficiency in power use and cooling, but also by the environmental impacts of site preparation, how the data center is re-provisioned, and how it is decommissioned or redeployed (or in the case of a software-defined data centers that IO makes, how it is simply refreshed) .

The DCD Intelligence report provides a third-party assessment of the costs and benefits of the modular data center and the traditional data center, across its entire lifecycle. For CIOs and anyone else involved in data center design, build, and operation decisions, the report (titled Assessing the Cost: Modular versus Traditional Build) provides a comprehensive roadmap for assessment from the very beginning.

Planning and Preparation: Equipment Selection; Site Selection, Preparation, and Design; Planning Permission and Permits

ŸTraditional data center greenfield builds require significant investment in site preparation and facilities construction. Brownfield builds require time- and cost-intensive remediation of existing facilities.

ŸWith smaller footprints and few construction requirements, modular data centers allow for more flexible site location.

ŸIn a traditional data center build, equipment selection means choosing and procuring every component; in a modular data center build, it means selecting the IO.Anywhere® product best suited organizational needs.  Standardized, thin slices that are factory-tested mean CIOs  are empowered to make light decisions free of excess red tape.

(For example, DCD Intelligence cites IO’s UL listing – “the data centre industry’s first-ever modular data centre safety certification by Underwriters Laboratories.”)

Deployment: Installation, including Shipping, Hardware Assembly, Software Integration, Project Management, and Commissioning

One of the most significant benefits of the modular data center in the planning and deployment phases of the lifecycle is the reduction in the time it takes to operationalize. While most traditional data centers are 12-24 months in the design to deployment phase, standard IO.Anywhere® modules can be purchased, deployed and made operational in as little as 120 days.

Modular Data Center Deployment Cost Savings: A minimum of 13-14%,  

Thinner-sliced deployments can yield 80% reductions over traditional deployments

 According to DCD Intelligence research, costs associated with the deployment phase are 13-14% lower for a modular data center compared to a traditional data center.  This stems in large part  from the more complex installation processes in a traditional data center build, which require longer time-frames and more resources (and thus cost more). The modular data center offers another benefit as well: faster time-to-market, which in itself can yield substantial revenue gains (faster time-to-revenue and a competitive edge in the marketplace).  It stands to reason that even greater reduction in deployment costs would flow from a rigorous thin-slice approach, where  only the capacity required today is deployed, then grown incrementally.   Deployment costs in this scenario can be upwards of 80%.

Bottom line: For CIOs who are under immense pressure to run IT more efficiently, the data center decision-making process needs to include an assessment  across the entire lifecycle of the data center. Otherwise,  the true costs and benefits to an organization will be obscured.

To read more about the costs and benefits of the modular data center compared to the traditional data center, check out CIOs, Costs and the Data Center – Part 2: Operations and Continuity.