The words data center bring different visions to mind, depending on the stakeholder: CFOs think in terms of the cost to build and the return on investment, whereas, IT personnel struggle with capacity planning and timing of the delivery of needed capacity.
A “just in time” (JIT) approach to the delivery of data center capacity can satisfy the needs of both the CFO and IT personnel. JIT capacity has been made possible through data center standardization and the development of a modular and scalable data center design.
A modular and scalable approach to the build-out of data center space, inclusive of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructure, helps to reduce the total cost of operation (TCO) by increasing speed to market, preserving capital, minimizing operating expenses and preventing stranded capacity. A lower TCO can provide a competitive advantage and/or improved profitability.
The Question of Capacity
The hard part, said Chris Crosby, CEO of Compass data centers, is planning for capacity. “Other than the meaning of life, it is the second most difficult question out there.” That might seem dramatic, but really, it is trying to predict the future.
The longer it takes from the time you decide to build data center capacity and the actual delivery of that capacity, the more likely you are to have overestimated or underestimated your actual need — both of which have consequences.
Delivering JIT capacity can compress the design and build schedule from years to months, thus, resulting in a greater likelihood of aligning your CapEx and OpEx spend to your actual need.
Chris believes the “tighter” you can make that JIT delivery coincide with the capacity needs of your business, the more in line you will be with what the business and IT department needs.
So how is Compass solving some of the issues associated with JIT delivery?
Compass is taking note of how other industries have achieved success and Chris cites “productization” as the way to increase quality and speed to market and drive costs down over time. “It’s a model that has not been applied to data centers yet,” he said, “and we are happy to pave the way.”
For more insight from Chris, watch our interview with him, part of the Schneider Electric series: “7 Winning Strategies for Building a Successful Data Center Business.”