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April 07, 2016

A Variety of Factors Affect Data Center Cost

Purchase Price + Operation Cost. Calculating ownership cost isn’t that hard to do. When it comes to data centers, though, cost of ownership gets more complicated. There are a variety of factors that can affect how much a data center will cost a company to build and operate.

Facility Size 

Naturally, the size of your data center will have a direct impact on the overall building cost. While square footage is the metric commonly used in commercial real estate, data centers are generally measured in “whitespace.” Whitespace measures the amount of raised floor space where the computing resources that make up the guts of the data center live. The more computing resources your organization requires, the more data center whitespace you will need, thus increasing the size of the facility.

Energy Costs

Powering computing resources. Keeping equipment cool. The amount of power required by a data center is substantial. In fact, it’s one of the largest costs incurred by a data center over its lifetime. Because energy costs vary drastically by region, companies pay close attention to the location of their data center in order to mitigate cost.  A December 2015 study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration found that commercial energy rates ranged from an average of $6.85 per kilowatt hour in Oklahoma to $15.26 per kilowatt hour in Rhode Island.

 Redundancy Levels

 Another factor that plays a large role in data center cost is the level of redundancy required by the data center. Redundancy is measured by the number of independent backup components each component has. It’s important because it shows how much extra power the center can offer in the event of an outage. Of course, more redundancy is more expensive due to the extra equipment (and space) required. However, when you consider the fact that one minute of downtime costs companies an average of $7,900, including some level of redundancy is good insurance to have.

Staffing Needs

Finally, you have to consider the staffing needed to run your data center. Administrative staff, security guards, electrical experts and IT professionals will generally need to be available 24x7x365 to keep a data center secure and operational. This can be particularly challenging for smaller companies since they don’t benefit from the economies of scale that larger organizations enjoy, where the same amount of staff can manage multiple systems.

So if operating your own data center seems out of the question, financially or otherwise, what’s the other option? Many companies work with data center providers, such as QTS, and utilize their colocation options. Colocation allows businesses to rent space for servers and other computing resources. Often the provider will offer a managed services option, where the provider will manage a company’s servers for them, thereby reducing staff.

Additionally, companies are also turning to cloud-based data solutions, either alone or in conjunction with a colocated or on-premises data center. Cloud solutions allow companies to scale their data solutions, which also reduces costs.

Interested in learning what QTS can do for your company? Give us a call at 877.QTS.DATA. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, too.
managed, cloud, colocation