schneider electric

Schneider Electric, a global leader in energy management, has outlined ways to increase data centre capacity in White Paper 171 that compares and contrasts the benefits of three different approaches and attempts to answer the question – Is it better to upgrade, outsource or build a new data centre?

Kevin Brown, Vice President, Data Centre Solutions at Schneider Electric and co-author of a new white paper ‘Considerations for Owning versus Outsourcing Data Centre Physical Infrastructure’, said: “When a business identifies the need for new IT equipment, thought must be put into where that IT equipment is going to reside.”

Commenting on the white papers, Jonathan Duncan, ITB MEA Director for Integrated Solutions and Data Centre, Schneider Electric, said: “The Internet and the demand for data storage poses a huge challenge on data centres – whether it is big data storage, software defined networks or cloud computing services. Given the constant evolution of this nascent sector, CIOs of managed data centres and enterprises need to remain updated and make informed choices for increasing data centre capacities to best meet the demands of their customers.”

For existing data centres with available power, cooling, and space capacity, the decision is often an obvious one, but when a data centre is at near full capacity, a decision must be made as to where the additional IT equipment is going to be accommodated. According to authors of Schneider Electric White Paper 171, Brown and Wendy Torell, there are three fundamental approaches to meeting the new capacity requirement: upgrade, new build-out, or outsource to a co-location provider.

Upgrade Physical Infrastructure
Depending on the capabilities of an existing data centre, upgrading the facility may be sufficient to meet new IT requirements. The level of disruption, cost and capacity gain depend largely on the scope of the upgrade project, which may include anything from implementing simple air flow management practices like adding blanking panels, to adding a high-density pod to increase power, cooling, and rack capacity in a low-density data centre. An ‘At a View’ table summarises the types of upgrades that are assessed and contrasted against those for outsourcing in the white paper.

Build a New Data Centre
Increasing levels of standardisation, modularity, and data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) software all play an important role in simplifying the way facilities are deployed and operated. These technologies and approaches result in more integrated power and cooling infrastructure, significantly impacting implementation time, cost, efficiency, and predictability.

For example, building a data centre with scalable, pre-assembled, and integrated facility power and cooling modules may help garner Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) savings of up to 30 per cent compared to traditional, built-out data centre power and cooling infrastructure. When evaluating the costs of building versus outsourcing the physical data centre infrastructure, prefabricated, modular data centre approaches need to be considered.

Move to Co-location
Co-location has been of growing interest mainly due to the fast deployment capability, and the providers’ core expertise in operating data centres leading to a secure, highly available space with economies of scale that can help keep costs competitive. Outsourcing to the Public Cloud is an extension of this function, where not only the physical infrastructure but also the software (SaaS), the IT infrastructure (IaaS), and/or the platform (PaaS) are efficiently managed by a hosted services provider.

White Paper 171: Considerations for Owning versus Outsourcing Physical Data Centre Infrastructure
The decision between the three approaches is usually based on financial savings, sensitivity to cash flow, and other key strategic factors. The former two categories, cost and cash flow, are quantitative, while the third, strategic factors, consists of common business preferences and constraints that affect the decision qualitatively. Some strategic factors may eliminate certain alternatives entirely, while other factors can heavily influence the decision, depending on the business objectives and priorities of the decision maker(s).

The 10-year TCO may favour upgrading or building over outsourcing. However, White Paper 171 demonstrates that the economics could be overwhelmed by a business’ sensitivity to cash flow, cash cross-over point, deployment timeframe, as well as data centre life expectancy, regulatory requirements, and other strategic factors. The new paper, which is available for free download, discusses how to assess these key factors to help make a sound decision on what option is best for the specific organisation.

White Paper 171 is available immediately for free download from: http://www.apc.com/whitepaper/?wp=171