As we witness Europe’s continued hunt for growth, governments and businesses alike are on a strict path to slash debt. This means a lot of downsizing rather than upscaling of their IT requirements in order to cut costs and improve efficiencies. As a result, CIOs today are finding that they are spending more time scrutinizing just how easy or difficult it will be to consolidate and relocate their data centres.
While there has been some scepticism in the industry about the lift, shift and re-use of data centres – most recently in a post by Doug Mohney on Green Data Centre News, entitled "Flexibly growing data centers and the cloud" – the bottom line for taking the decision to downsize, relocate or close a data centre, I believe, is simply a financial issue. The basis of that financial case being the residual value of the modules (which would be higher than a static traditional hall) plus the newer version, versus the lift, shift and reinstall cost.
The majority of traditional data centre sites today have a life span of 25 or so years before they require a major refit. Normally these sites are very difficult to redevelop as there is generally a considerable amount of plant and equipment still in situ. This accompanied by the hefty charge typically associated to clear down the site makes it a very expensive and complex exercise.
A necessary evil, however, as companies try to keep up with increasing internal demands by employees and growing external pressures by customers.
So is lifting the data centre, moving it and re-using it that simple? The fact that we are even able to consider the element of reusability today, shows just how far our industry has come in the past three or so years. For example, data centres that use the modular approach come mainly in large, pre-assembled packages. This means they can be removed in the same way that they are installed - in a short time frame, using a small experienced team, saving both time and money. Is that what the customer wants? Not always, in fact it’s likely to be quite rare but the possibility is there.
Just recently we have had discussions with an end user about building a weatherproof modular data centre in their car park while extensive refurbishment is completed in their building. Once it’s done a modular data centre can be built inside. When the equipment is moved across, the data centre in the car park can be reassembled inside the building for the expansion they require. Would I normally recommend lift shifting and re-using your data centre? In a word, no! But in this scenario, the customer has specific needs and the business case works for their situation. The point is they have more options, more flexibility and more choice.
Tags: Hosting & Colocation