What to Consider When Considering Flying Solo

Annie Paquette
May 29, 2019

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In a new whitepaper for Server Tech, Marc Cram lays out the considerations for companies as they approach the best way to handle and house their data center occupants.  The title says it all:  Flying Solo, or Going Colo?  An expert when it comes to space, power, and cooling, as well as the differences between Single Phase PDUs and Three Phase PDUs, Cram presents the choice facing those responsible for managing their data center needs.

First, you need to understand the differences between flying solo, or having your own data center, and going colo, that is, becoming a tenant at a colocation facility.  It’s more than just owning a building vs. renting space.  It’s deciding which makes more sense.  Cram points out that for many businesses in which IT is the profit center, flying solo with an enterprise data center fits the business model.  For these companies, IT is what makes them stand out in the marketplace, and their unique user interface is the revenue driver.  

Companies that build their own data centers have -- and need -- the vision and perseverance to see a new data center project from plan to completion to the investment it yields.  This approach provides more flexibility to control expenses than they would if they housed equipment in colocation facilities or chose to use public cloud infrastructure. These companies also may need to fly solo when their business applications outgrow the cloud or a colocation facility.

So, what are some of the things they consider before breaking ground?  What boxes did they check?  Quite a lot, as Cram indicates, and many of the considerations have to do with managing power and people.  To go solo, you will need to be surrounded by the people who can help you get to the best solution by asking the questions that are essential to meeting the expectations of management:

  • What is the computational load?
  • How will floorspace be allocated?
  • How soon does it need to be online?
  • Will the data center support production and development activities?

Skilled professionals in the areas of real estate, finance, contracting, and project management can document the answers and review them with senior management.  This crucial process ensures that everyone understands the objectives for building the data center and the criteria for measuring success.  That success depends on the supply, design, construction, and commissioning partners chosen for the project.

Without power, there is no data center.  There are essential questions to be tackled around power for the solo flyer.  The architecture and the way power is delivered to the data center, and then on to the rack and within the rack, are key to verifying whether or not the data center can achieve operating targets.  Although Server Tech can be invaluable when it comes to managing and measuring it with their array of PDU choices, there are other considerations. 

  • How much power is needed per square foot?
  • Will it be distributed via a single-phase or three-phase scheme?
  • Will you use Single Phase PDUs or Three Phase PDUs?
  • Will the data center use public utilities or renewable energy generated onsite?
  • Are there latency and responsiveness goals to meet?
  • How long will it operate before a refresh cycle commences?

These are only a few of the important questions for companies considering flying solo for their next data center.  Luckily, a useful guide to managing power and people can be found in the new Server Tech white paper, Flying Solo, or Going Colo?  In the meantime, stay tuned to our next blog which will treat the subject of going colo.

Ready to fly solo?  Build your own PDU in 4 easy steps!

What to Consider When Considering Going Colo