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With more in the cloud than ever before, more companies are debating the benefit of hosting their own data center vs. renting space in a data center. Buying a data center requires a thorough assessment of current and future IT needs, capital to cover upfront costs and employee support to maintain the facility.
When considering whether or not you want to own a data center, it’s crucial to determine how much its operation would add to, or detract from, your core business operations. Data center ownership is often outsourced to allow businesses to maintain their focus, while relying on the expertise of others to operate and secure their data storage. However, it also allows owners to craft a custom storage solution that meets their IT requirements and affords greater influence over uptime.
If you’re considering building or buying a data center to have more control over the security of your data, there are a number of key factors to consider. Similarly, if you’re planning to lease or rent space in a data center, you’ll want to make sure you know what measures the owners are taking to secure your customer’s data and prevent downtime.
Note, for the purposes of this piece we are considering “buy” and “build” equal and related to purchasing and establishing your own data center, vs. “buying” or “leasing” space and services from an existing data center.
Upfront Capital. Before buying a data center, assess how you’ll cover upfront capital and ongoing expenses. You may want to leverage funds outside your normal operating budget, as owning your own data center to support customer information and cloud execution is secondary to core business requirements.
Level of Effort. What do you need to do to fully outfit the space as a data center? What codes need to be met, safeguards established, construction or efficiency updates made?
Business Focus. Do you have the expertise to manage a full data center without impacting day-to-day management of your business? Ownership of a data center may provide more control, but it also requires more involvement. You don’t want to find you’re spending more time managing data center requirements than your core business.
Employee Expertise. Do you have, or can you hire IT experts who can set up and maintain the various systems in a data center, including cooling, electrical, UPS, generators and more, on an ongoing basis?
Need. Will your business fully leverage the data center, be able to lease out any portion or grow into the full data center space, or will you be paying to build and maintain support your business does not need?
Renting or leasing a data center gives you greater flexibility and lets you keep your focus on your business. As you weigh options of where to rent a data center, consider the following:
Data protection. Does the data center offer the level of security you and your clients require for your data storage? Is it protected not only against data breaches but also power outages? Do they leverage UPS to smooth out current and provide uninterrupted power?
Uptime. How long does it take the data center to return to normal operation after a downtime event? What is the typical downtime experienced by the data center? How often do they experience downtime events? What steps have they taken to reduce them?
Power. What type of UPS do they leverage and what is their efficiency rating? Is it something reliable that will keep your data accessible without passing high overhead costs through your lease agreement?
Storage volume. Are they able to meet the requirements you have for data storage and speed? Do they provide room to grow as your data needs change?
Business focus. Outsourcing data center management would allow the enterprise to concentrate on its core business and might be a more attractive option if there are any perceived weaknesses in the level of expertise required to manage a data center full time.
For some businesses, data center ownership may be the way to go. If you’re considering diversifying your company’s interests and have the necessary liquidity and expertise, building and hosting your own data center may be a great opportunity to control your own data storage and possibly bring in some revenue from renting data storage.
Here are a few things to consider as you build the new data center:
Footprint. Space is at a premium for today’s data centers, especially colocation houses. Every square foot of space must justify its necessity. When it comes to allocating space for power protection equipment, thinking outside the box is essential: What can be done to reduce the footprint?
Layout. Mission critical data centers often require multiple UPS and battery cabinets to protect connected loads long enough to either ride out the power outage or to transfer to the facility’s generator successfully. A back-to-back modular layout for UPS systems can be used to reduce the amount of space required. This layout can be achieved with a bus backplane that eliminates conventional conduits and cable runs. You may also want to consider UPS systems that use high-capacity, front terminal batteries, so fewer batteries (and sometimes even fewer battery cabinets) are required.
Efficiency. Floor space is not the only consideration when it comes to power protection equipment. Reducing operating and cooling costs has become a primary objective of facility executives and other stakeholders. There are a few UPSs that can achieve as much as 97% efficiency through innovative design and the use of advanced semiconductor power devices also known as Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBTs).
Power Usage. When it comes to power protection, it’s important to know that not all UPS are created equal. Look for UPS that will provide high levels of reliability and efficiency. This will reduce cost of ownership and improve power usage effectiveness (PUE). Scalability and modularity go a step further in increasing return on investment as well as achieving flexibility previously unavailable in large UPS installations.
Scalability. It is essential for power protection capacity to adjust with changing power requirements, whether it’s up or down. Many of today’s on-line, double-conversion UPS are designed to scale up in order to meet the increased power load in the future. However, additional UPS units and batteries will require more square footage in a data center. UPS built in a single or multi-module configuration facilitate a flexible architecture.
Whether you decide to buy or lease a data center, knowing what uninterruptible power supply system backs it up should be a critical element of your decision-making process.
If you own a data center, or are contemplating ownership, contact Mitsubishi Electric to learn more about our UPS systems to decide what’s best to support your 24x7 power requirements. Smart power protection is scalable, flexible, efficient and more configurable for today’s facility executives.