We live in a world of clouds, SaaS, outsourcing, and Everything over IP (EoIP). The challenges IT professionals face when trying to sort through the maze of technology, globalization, SOX, HIPPA, PUE, and so on result in daunting confusion. Mix in a few overzealous salespeople, an inquiring CFO, incorrigible users within the organization, and you have all the pre-requisites for a world class, globalized, migraine headache.
Now let’s go out and consider throwing all this confusion into an outsourced data center. You know your company wants to save money, have better quality facilities, be close to network and Internet exchange points, be close to carriers who can support your national distributed office. So you do what anybody might consider doing – you call on a data center salesperson.
Each company has a pitch. That pitch is refined based on what resources the company has to sell, and the thought leadership provided by the data center operator will most certainly promote their “unique” product or service.
As the overzealous sales person goes into their pitch, several topics will no doubt emerge:
• Their power stability
• Mechanical and electrical systems (including maintenance)
• Their remote hands, smart hands, on-site tech support, and “nutty” devotion to service
• Completion of SAS70 audits
• Facility structure
• And so on…
This article will walk through a few topics that are normally not well explained by data center operators, avoided, or simply misrepresented.
The Data Center Compromise, Mixed-Use Buildings
Any data center presents the potential tenant with a series of compromises. Very few commercial data centers are custom-built from the ground up, and most data centers are either built into mixed-use properties (those properties originally built as office space), and conversions (those properties built for another reason, such as a retail outlet, a warehouse, or factory).
Data center operators choose mixed-use building primarily when they are in an attractive location, such as near a carrier hotel, major fiber optic terminal, or in a strategic central business district location. Mixed-use buildings are normally built for limited floor loading (how much weight you can actually place on a slab of concrete), where you can place the weight (such as over a structure beam), and with lower floor to ceiling separation (in the US, this is normally around 12.5ft).