The need for speed: ABB helps to develop data centers between 30 and 50 percent faster

With increased demand, the market is looking for ways to expand and develop data centers quicker and generate revenue sooner.

The global colocation market is predicted to grow to over $62 billion by 2022 – that’s almost double the 2017 growth rate.1 This explosive growth can be attributed to a number of factors, including how difficult and expensive it’s becoming to manage in-house data centers, the growing popularity of cloud-based services, Edge computing and IoT adoption, and of course the desire for Big Data.

With such high demand, ABB has developed a variety of solutions and strategies to help our colocation data center customers get their new infrastructure up and running quicker, by saving time during the build phase and getting impressive revenues generated sooner.

For our customers, having the right amount of high-quality colocation space to offer new customers is key to remaining competitive in a fast paced and highly competitive market. But to do this, colocation providers should not be over-committing to expansions or new campuses that will remain partially empty for extended periods – costing money to run, but not generating a return. A “pay-as-you-grow” approach is much more viable, and it secures new revenue streams quickly and keeps cash flow optimized.

That’s why shorter, modular build phases are the answer. In other words, building just the space required, in the shortest timeframe possible to keep upfront investment low and to generate quick returns so that the next phase can begin.

The days of “stick-built” data centers are numbered

Using traditional “stick-built” methods to build a data center takes between 18 and 24 months, or sometimes longer. This isn’t a timeframe that is effective for a market which is growing at such an exponential rate. New customers don’t want to wait for build completion to get the capacity they need, and often they don’t have to, as spaces are opening all the time at competitive prices.

So, for our customers, the quicker they build, the more competitive they become, and the more revenue they secure.

Take a typical 10MW colocation site leasing at $150 kW per month. For every month the facility is under development, $1.5 million in revenue is lost – so the shorter the build time, the earlier the revenue stream will begin showing profit. If the same colocation facility was to open after six months, instead of 18 months, the data center earns $18 million in revenue, meaning when it comes to data center build speed, time really is money.

By working with the right solutions provider, data center owners can benefit from a range of proven strategies that can help them and their build contractors develop data centers between 30 and 50 percent faster.

Here’s a brief look at four of the most effective strategies that ABB believes will deliver a faster data center build:

1) Modular, prefabricated solutions support faster builds and promote scalability

The traditional planning, designing and onsite fabrication of a new data center is time consuming. Switching to modern, modular and prefabricated solutions can cut this time significantly to shorten build times and generate revenue faster.

eHouses are a well-known example of a solution that can be prefabricated and transported to site. Already factory-tested to meet all relevant data center regulations, prefabricated solutions like this can be shipped as a package in one purchase order to simplify communications and logistics to a single point of contact, saving man-power onsite and streamlining processes.

2) Re-engineer service strategy to improve speed, lower total cost of ownership and increase reliability

Project scheduling issues have cascading consequences. A delay from one technician, on one task affects the efficiency of other tasks that follow. In turn, this creates budget overruns, sudden order changes and increased safety issues.

Prefabrication is also the answer to improving the reliability and speed of data center service strategy, while reducing total cost of ownership. Because these solutions are all pretested and debugged to begin with, site engineers simply need to plug and play, meaning site connection, functional testing and commissioning all happening much faster.

3) Implement digitalization to facilitate swift deployment of solutions

Digitalization is most commonly associated with improving visibility and condition of the data center, but it can also speed up deployment and profitability.

One way to boost speed to deployment is going digital with equipment such as switchgear. Because it requires less wiring, digital switchgear takes less time to assemble than traditional switchgear. Its sensor technology provides the flexibility to change system parameters late in the production cycle or in the field eliminating costly and time-consuming hardware changes.

The flexibility also extends to equipment functionality updates, allowing users to make modifications in the field by downloading different software to the digital devices or adjusting via built-in device settings

4) Use advanced online tools for fast and accurate configuration

The conventional way in which low-voltage products and accessories are configured can be time-consuming, difficult, and prone to errors. These errors can cause delays in manufacturing or worse, can mean delivering the wrong product on site. Using a configurator to place an order (e.g., using a web application with a 3-dimensional visual interface) is a simplified and accurate way to go when looking to save time, costs, and eliminate errors to ensure speed of deployment.

Learn more about the Race to ROI

With the technologies and tools discussed here, data center owners and operators can add speed to their data center builds without sacrificing functionality, reliability or safety.

We have covered these four strategies and more in comprehensive detail in our recent whitepaper. Download it here: Race to ROI: Game-changing strategies to generate data center revenue in record time’.

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About the author

Pam Cannon

I am the Head of Marketing for ABB’s Global Data Center Solutions. We provide electrification and automation solutions for the data center industry that help lower lead times, reduce site works and reduce risk. With more than 20 years of experience in the electrical industry, my goal is to help our data center clients with their most pressing challenges through our integrated safe, smart, and sustainable solutions.
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