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A Value Creation Concept for Legacy Data Centers

This brief blog is being published to propose a data center repositioning concept for data center owner/operators with facilities designed in the early 2000’s.  We would enjoy hearing back from professional data center managers who have an opinion on this concept; either negative or positive.

For the last two decades, we have witnessed a gradual increase in the power density of IT cabinets in data centers. A state-of-the-art data center in 1999 was designed to support around 3 kW of power consumption per cabinet. Today, it is common for cloud service providers to deploy hundreds of racks with power densities north of 15 kW.

We’ve seen a number of data centers designed for 5-10 kW per cabinet continue to support successful businesses focused on smaller retail colo customers and low-density enterprise users. Unless there are significant network or location advantages, data centers like these are not ideal for the larger cloud and app end users.

We would like to suggest another option for some of these older sites. To introduce this concept, we will use a hypothetical example of a data center with 40,000 SF of white space and 4MW of critical power (100W/SF).

It may be possible to breathe new life into a data center by strategically renovating the infrastructure around the following manner:

  • Reduced the white space by 50%.  Recover the balance for office or storage space.
  • Replace any existing access floor with 3’ high flooring, or eliminate it all together.
  • Upgrade the power distribution system to enable the delivery of 100% of the critical power to the remaining 50% of the white space.
  • Upgrade the cooling systems to focus 100% of the cooling capacity to the remaining 50% of white space.

At the end of this renovation process, a legacy data center owner will have a facility with 20,000 SF of useable white space designed for 200 W/SF, and capable of delivering power to racks in the range of 10-20kW per cabinet. The data center can now be leased at current market rates serving just about any client with a need for 4MW or less.

An added benefit of this approach is that the building owner would now have 20,000 SF of rentable office or storage space to go along with the white space.

We invite input from the data center community on this concept. Does it make sense?

A Value Creation Concept for Legacy Data Centers

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