Reducing Data Center Cost, Time, and Physical Constraints

May 17, 2016
Thomas Doherty, Chief Operating Officer at Aligned Data Centers, says that a thorough rethinking of data center design and deployment is needed to improve cost and speed to market .

In this week’s Voices of the Industry Thomas Doherty, Chief Operating Officer at Aligned Data Centers discusses ways to eliminate the cost, time and physical constraints in the data center so you focus on innovation.

Thomas Doherty, Chief Operating Officer at Aligned Data Centers

Starting from scratch is liberating. It is also imperative for true innovation.

Indeed, instead of incrementally improving on what’s been done before, new entrants in many industries are taking a fresh look at the constraints that hold their customers back – and coming up with innovative ways to eliminate those constraints.

Taking Control of the Space Race

One of the most high profile examples of the start-from-scratch approach is Elon Musk’s SpaceX. In 2012, SpaceX became the first privately funded company contracted by NASA to deliver supplies to astronauts at the International Space Station. NASA has confirmed that SpaceX will take astronauts themselves there by 2017. SpaceX also launches satellites into space for companies the likes of ORBCOMM, Iridium, and Thales Alenia Space.

How did Musk’s company, which was founded in 2002, disrupt the space industry, whose players are mostly 100-year old companies and government institutions? By being efficient and keeping the prices low. By independent estimates, SpaceX charges half as much as its main competitor.

Notably, SpaceX was able to keep costs down when others couldn’t. How? By throwing out the plans and starting over. By breaking from the traditional model and acting like a tech firm, not a 100-year old company or government agency. By focusing on new ways to solve customers’ constraints.

Next step: innovate a way to actually reuse the rockets, and bring cost down even further. SpaceX made huge strides toward that goal on April 8 when it successfully landed the Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship at sea after the rocket launched a Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station for NASA.

SpaceX has disrupted the space industry by rethinking from beginning to end how to get payload or astronauts into space. In doing so, it has eliminated the time and cost constraints that many companies faced when thinking about getting to space. When a company can get a payload into space for half the cost, and in less time, that company has more flexibility to innovate for its own customers.

Taking Control of the Data Center

Inspired by SpaceX, we’ve fundamentally rethought how the data center is designed, built, and operated – in order to eliminate data center cost, time-to-market, and physical space as constraints on our customers’ businesses.

Cost constraints
In a traditional data center, you have to make a big upfront capital commitment based on the capacity you think you’ll need in 5 or 10 years. And, you have to pay for the capacity you’re allocated, regardless of what you actually use. That’s tying up and wasting capital you could be using to innovate.

Why can’t a data center offer pay-for-use pricing and a lower upfront contract commitment? Which means you can secure the capacity you need today and pay based on what you use – so you’ve got both the IT capacity and the capital you need to innovate.

Time constraints
In a traditional data center, deploying new capacity takes months, if not years. That’s because traditional data center infrastructure like power and cooling doesn’t come in right-sized increments, and the supply chains are not set up to deliver fast. It’s hard to innovate when the data center is holding you back.

Ideally, deploying new capacity should just takes just weeks. This can be accomplished by using industry-leading electrical and mechanical system partners that are equipped to deliver just in time. And to plug-and-play electrical and mechanical infrastructure that gives you the ability to add new capacity with a simple connection. And to the capacity planning analytics that give you visibility into how much you’re using today and when you might need new capacity based on historical trends.

If you are no longer constrained by long data center lead times, you can move at the speed of innovation.

Physical constraints
In a traditional data center, even if you have visibility into capacity utilization at the rack level, your growth is constrained by available floor space and caps on density.

Imagine a data center where you’re not constrained by physical space. A data center where you can scale power densities within your existing footprint and where the cooling technology is ultra-efficient, so you can scale up to 25kW per rack. This would enable multiple densities within the same row; a cooling system that works efficiently with a high-density rack next to a low-density rack.

Imagine what you could do if your data center wasn’t holding you back.

Thomas Doherty is COO at Aligned Data Centers, the first pay-for-use data center provider to offer consumption-based pricing for enterprises, service providers, education institutions, and government organizations who require greater control of their data center. Aligned Data Centers are designed to remove the cost, time and physical constraints of a traditional data center so your growth isn’t constrained. At Aligned, the data center keeps pace with your business.

About the Author

Voices of the Industry

Our Voice of the Industry feature showcases guest articles on thought leadership from sponsors of Data Center Frontier. For more information, see our Voices of the Industry description and guidelines.

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