I caught up with Lex Coors, VP DTEG and Chief Engineering Officer, Interxion when he visited “Power to the Cloud” in Dubai to address the Middle East’s largest gathering of CIO’s and data center professionals. He’d been evangelising about how standardizing data center designs, physical infrastructure and processes meant good business for Interxion – a a leading provider of cloud- and carrier-neutral colocation data centre services in Europe. Interxion has been an important customer to Schneider Electric for a number of years, and I asked Lex how this relationship helped him meet his standardisation goals.
Lex told me about the journey the company had been on since it started building its first data centers in 11 different countries between 1999 and 2000. The company built in a phased, modular way – essentially creating the option for 33 smaller data centers straight away. Then, between 2004 – 5, the company really started growing rapidly and today the company supports over 1,400 customers through 34 data centres across Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. Interxion also houses more than 450 carriers and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and 19 European Internet exchanges.
“Over the time,” Lex said, “We have built hundreds of smaller data centers in thousand square meter increments – you can only do that with a solid partner. You can only do that with a partner that understands modularity. Who understands logistics and commits to delivery times. And who is also able to take it over into Service Programs. That is absolutely critical for us.”
“It has only been Schneider Electric who actually did that for us,” said Lex. “It’s been such a good relationship over time.”
Interxion were ahead of the curve in their use of a modular approach, and today there is a growing consensus that conventional legacy data center design will be superseded by modular scalable data center designs. Reduced total cost of ownership, increased flexibility, reduced deployment time, and improved efficiency are all claimed benefits of modular scalable designs. According to Schneider Electric senior VP of Innovation, Neil Rasmussen, modularity is potentially of interest to all data center operators because it has the potential to solve a number of problems at the same time, from conserving capital budgets to reducing installation time, increasing build quality and increasing efficiency by right-sizing infrastructure to the IT load and cutting over-capacity.
Almost every type of data center, large or small, of different availability requirements, benefits from modularity. Find out more from Schneider Electric’s white paper #160 “Specification of Modular Data Center Architecture” which available for free download.
Like any relationship, it’s not always a bed of roses. Anyone involved in the data center industry knows that not everything always runs according to the plan. But as is so often the case, it’s when things go wrong, that the strength of the relationship is proven. “If you look at the Schneider Electric organisation, they quickly step up in the hierarchy, so we’ve been able to establish good relations with senior management – as well as get the commitment of senior management… for us, and for other companies as well… that’s something that you rarely see in large organisations.” Lex concluded.