Data Center Capital Cost Calculator 2.0 – Updated to Ensure Accuracy and Relevancy

This audio was created using Microsoft Azure Speech Services

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about TradeOff Tools, and this one in particular.  In my original blog about the Data Center Capital Cost Calculator, I provided some background on the methodology, data, and assumptions of the tool, so that our customers and partners would feel confident in using the tool.

Over the years that this tool has been available to customers (it originally launched in 2008), it’s been used by thousands of customers and partners to help quickly estimate the capital cost of data center projects (rough order of magnitude +/-20%), and to help understand cost implications of design choices.

We just completed a fairly major effort to update this tool, to ensure it continues to be accurate and relevant for our users.  In this blog, I wanted to share with you the enhancements and updates we made to the tool.

  • Updated and/or validated costs for all subsystems – We reviewed, researched, and updated the material and labor costs for each infrastructure subsystem.  We used Schneider product pricing, third party vendor product pricing, and contractor installation quotes.
  • New cooling systems – We added economizer options for the existing cooling architectures as well as indirect air evaporative cooling as a new cooling architecture.
  • Containment– We added containment system costs to the air distribution options, so the user can now select uncontained, hot aisle containment, or cold air containment, to understand the capex cost associated with containing aisles.
  • Dropped ceiling – We added the cost of the dropped ceiling in the total cost of the data center. The user can choose to include or not include it.
  • Power distribution approaches – In the original tool, the user didn’t have options for power distribution. In the new version, the user can choose between panelboards, busway, RPP, PDUs to see the cost implications of different power distribution methods.
  • Core & shell – “Is core & shell included in the result?” was a common question we were asked about this tool. We now made it explicitly clear by adding an input that allows the user to set a core & shell cost for their data center (or leave it at $0 if they want it excluded).
  • Updated currency conversions – World currency values have certainly changed since 2008. We updated the conversions to ensure costs were relevant in your local currency/country.


For those of you that have used the tool in the past, check it out again, and for those of you that haven’t yet had the opportunity to use it, we believe you’ll find it a valuable resource in your tool box for data center planning, education, and project justification.  It’s free and easy to get to – .  As always, we encourage feedback!

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