October 29, 2011

Data-center construction up in Valley

The Phoenix area is experiencing a rise in the construction of co-location centers, special data centers in which equipment space and Internet bandwidth are available for rent to retail customers, according to a report issued this month.

The report, by Luke Denmon, a data-center market analyst with CBRE's Critical Environmental Practice in Phoenix, said co-location facility owners and operators are flocking to Phoenix because of its predictably good weather, stable power grid and low real-estate costs.

More importantly, Denmon said, developers of co-location space have begun to devise clever ways around the biggest drawback to operating such a facility in Phoenix: the high cost of air-conditioning.

One way, he said, is to use equipment that operates safely at higher temperatures. Cost-saving also can be achieved through more efficient design and configuration of a co-location facility's interior.

As much as 40 percent of a data center's energy bill is from cooling equipment.

But the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers has raised its maximum temperature limit for modern data-center equipment over the years, potentially saving operators thousands of dollars.

Its 2008 environmental guidelines recommended temperatures no greater than 80.4 degrees Fahrenheit, up from 77 degrees in its 2004 recommendations.

With concerns about cooling costs on the wane, construction of new co-location facilities has begun to heat up, according to the report, and Denmon said he expects that growth to continue.

"I love Phoenix's chances," he said.

There are 160,000 square feet of co-location space currently under construction, with even more new space in the planning stage, Denmon said.

That's a huge boost from 2010, in which no new co-location space was built, he said.

The Phoenix area currently has 92,100 square feet of vacant co-location space available for rent, out of a total of 830,700 square feet, according to Denmon.

The additional 160,000 square feet under construction should be available for lease in the second quarter of 2012, he said.

There are a handful of out-of-state co-location service providers scouting for potential co-location sites in the Phoenix metro area, Denmon said, with four new providers expected to enter the market within the next 18 months.

Denmon also noted that new technologies are emerging in the Phoenix area that should make it easier to develop co-location space.

That effort is being led by IO Data Centers, which recently commissioned a 221,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to produce its modular IO Anywhere product, he said.

It allows co-location centers to be put together out of prefabricated, modular sections.

by J. Craig Anderson The Arizona Republic Oct. 27, 2011 12:00 AM




Data-center construction up in Valley

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