Tailoring Your Data Center for a New Market

Jan. 30, 2017
To build a great data center, a design template must be tailored to its location. James Leach, Vice President of Marketing at RagingWire Data Centers, explains the key considerations in tailoring your data center to the unique aspects of its site and location.

 James Leach, Vice President of Marketing at RagingWire Data Centers, explains how tailoring your data center to the unique aspects of its site and location can make for a successful data center. 

To build a great data center, the design template must be tailored to the unique aspects of the site and location, taking into account a large number of considerations. To get a sense of the process of entering a new market, here’s a look at how RagingWire approached its expansion in the Dallas market.

The Dallas/Fort Worth region is one of the top data center markets in the U.S. and growing fast. According to the recent Data Center Frontier Special Report on the Dallas Data Center Market, the Dallas/Fort Worth region has 275 megawatts  of commissioned data center power and 200 MW in the pipeline.

James Leach, Vice President of Marketing, RagingWire Data Centers.

RagingWire is part of the data center boom in North Dallas. We are planning to open our Dallas TX1 Data Center on April 18, 2017 as the first phase of a 1,000,000 square foot campus with 80 megawatts of power on 42 acres of land. The TX1 facility has 16 MW of power and 230,000 sq. ft. of total space, 118,000 sq. ft. of raised floor, 10,000 square feet of customer office space, and 28,000 sq. ft. of customer amenity space.

Here is the list of critical items we examined as we sought to get our data center “Texas Ready,” which also gives examples of how important tailoring your data center to its site and location can really be to your project.

Everything is Bigger in Texas – including Data Centers 

In downtown Dallas, you’ll find the carrier hotels where space is optimized for telecommunications access. North Dallas, which includes Richardson, Plano, Carrollton, and Garland, is where you’ll find the massive wholesale data centers which, are in such high demand by Fortune 1000 enterprises and cloud companies. The new RagingWire TX1 data center is built to mega scale and also with the flexibility to configure the space and power to meet the needs of individual clients. Vaults are available in 1 MW, 2 MW, and 5 MW increments and can be subdivided to meet high demand in the Dallas market.

An Underpowered Data Center is Just a Building 

Texas-ready data centers need a substantial amount of utility power to support the millions of websites and applications running on the servers in the facility. The good news is that today’s data centers are highly efficient users of power. The bad news is that not all sites in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex have sufficient utility power for data centers. RagingWire is fortunate to be working directly with Garland Power & Light (GP&L) to build a 108 MVA substation right next to the TX1 Data Center. The substation has diverse feeds from GP&L and Oncore. GP&L is providing two new 138KV lines connected to multiple transfer systems that can choose between two independent transmission lines connected to dedicated RagingWire transformers. Eventually this new substation will connect to the new 345KV transmission system, which will be the backbone for electrical power throughout Texas.

RagingWire is planning to open its Dallas TX1 Data Center on April 18.

Texas Can-Do Attitude and the U.S. Power Grid 

Texas is famous for its independent nature and can-do attitude. So it should be no surprise that Texas is the only state in the U.S. with its own power grid, known as ERCOT which stands for the organization that runs the Texas grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. ERCOT is a great benefit for national colocation providers that want to provide diverse access to the three power grids in the U.S. For example, RagingWire in Ashburn connects to the Eastern Grid. Our Sacramento campus connects to the Western Grid. And TX1 connects to ERCOT.

Be Ready for Extreme Weather 

Since we’ve been in Texas, we’ve experienced draught, tornados, flash floods, and golf-ball sized hail. To be Texas Ready, a data center needs to be built to withstand extreme weather conditions and the cooling systems should minimize water usage. The Enhanced Fujita scale (also known as the EF scale) uses wind speed to gauge the potential damage from a tornado. EF ratings go from EF-0 (65-85 mph winds) to EF-5 (over 200 mph winds). [clickToTweet tweet=”To build a great data center, the design template must be tailored to the unique aspects of the site and location. ” quote=”To build a great data center, the design template must be tailored to the unique aspects of the site and location. “]

Everything from roof to foundation in our TX1 Data Center was designed to withstand an EF3 tornado of 136 mph. For efficient and effective cooling even in draught conditions, we have installed one of the largest water-free mechanical systems in the U.S. Plus our data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software is tuned to take advantage of the 5000+ hours of free cooling/year expected in Dallas.

Interconnection is key

Dallas is a destination market for data centers, meaning enterprises and cloud companies want to include Dallas as part of their global data center footprint. These companies need to distribute applications around the world for maximum performance and reliability. For this strategy to work, interconnection is key. Our TX1 data center is carrier neutral with a number of onsite carriers as well as dark fiber connections to the carrier hotels at the Infomart and 2323 Bryan, providing access to over 70 carriers and global interconnectivity.  For global secured networks, you can use the Arcstar Universal One virtual private network (VPN) from our parent company NTT Communications which offers high-quality, global network coverage in over 190 countries. In addition, TX1 is connected with RagingWire’s campuses in Sacramento, California and Ashburn, Va.

The Lone Star State is a great place to have a data center, particularly as part of a national or global data center footprint. The core elements are in place to build a world-class data center – land, power, and fiber connectivity. The economy is strong, growing, and diverse. A data center community is emerging that attracts both suppliers and buyers of data centers. And the pride and optimism of Texas can’t be beat.

James Leach is Vice President of Marketing at RagingWire Data Centers. Previously he was a global marketing executive at IBM, Savvis, Internap, Neustar, and Harris Corporation. Over his career,  Leach was part of the core business teams that developed internet, telecommunications, and infrastructure solutions, including managed DNS, web domains, performance monitoring, industry vertical solutions, virtual private networks, content delivery networks, cloud computing, and colocation. At RagingWire, Leach is the overall marketing leader responsible for a data center portfolio of 1.5 million square feet and 113 MW in the United States and a global data center platform of 140 facilities in 17 countries as part of the Nexcenter brand of NTT Communications.

About the Author

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