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Speed-to-Market: How to Build Quality Data Centers

Speed-to-Market: How to Build Quality Data Centers

Whether one needs a build-to-suit data center or existing colocation space, customers trust a data center provider’s construction team to get the buildout right. Currently, the data center market is booming. As Datacenter Knowledge notes, hyperscale cloud providers continue to turn to specialized data center developers, like Stream, as key enablers of their overall infrastructure strategies. We only see this trend continuing. Over the past several years, we have built our reputation on providing the right data center products at the right times in the right markets. Now, in this article, we pull back the curtain, to give you a peek into the secrets of our success.

Successful Data Center Construction Begins with Organization

You’ve probably heard the expression that organization is the key to success. This is certainly the case with data center construction. Whether we are building in Phoenix, Chicago, Dallas or Minnesota, predictability scale and speed are critical.

One way we achieve this goal is through our vendor management program, where we partner with a select group of equipment providers. When we started this program, we were initially focused on solving the equipment lead time problem in our industry. However, once we began developing the program, we quickly began to see an opportunity for additional benefits including guaranteed equipment costs and predictability in equipment installation, startup and commissioning.  This allows us to optimize our construction builds and ensure speed-to-market for our clients. Thanks to the relationships with our vendors, we have the support needed to overcome any challenges that arise during construction.

Skill In Unique Situations is a Must-Have

While organization and planning are the first steps to successfully constructing a data center, experience in challenging conditions is just as important.  Let’s use Chicago as an example. Late last year, we commenced construction on 3 MW of fully commissioned critical infrastructure and 35,000 square feet of raised-floor data hall space. This is the first phase of turnkey data center improvements and will be complete in Q2 of 2020. Ultimately, we will reach a total of 15 MW and 70,000 square feet of data hall space. While this might seem like a straightforward project, commencing construction on a data center in the middle of the Chicago winter is anything but conventional.

As anyone from the Midwest can attest, winters there are cold, and storms can bring plenty of snow and ice. When we first acquired the building in Elk Grove Village, we knew we were already dealing with the challenging situation of adapting our design within a pre-existing footprint. In addition, the cold winter temperatures made it difficult to undertake work on the building’s exterior, the equipment yard and the pouring of concrete for the data center’s equipment pads and duct banks. That’s why, in addition to our vendor management program, we also concentrate heavily on fostering partnerships with extremely skilled local contractors who understand the unique challenges of the markets in which we  operate. In the case of Chicago, we worked with Clune Construction, a company that understands how to work in harsh conditions without incurring delays to the project schedule or increasing costs.

How We View Data Center Construction

So, how do we put our relationships with vendors and experience working in challenging conditions together? The answer is by viewing data center construction as a function of the following four aspects:

  1. The suitability of a greenfield property for a data center in terms of its geographic location relative to zones where natural disasters typically occur and the ability for an operator to expand the facility as they grow over the long term.
  2. In the case of brownfield sites, the condition of the existing building and its ability to be retrofitted into a data center.
  3. The availability of power for the full buildout of the data center whether as a greenfield or brownfield development.
  4. Ease of bringing a diversity of optical fiber into the site. This is especially important as it proves to be a more challenging endeavor with brownfield developments.

To make sure we are always providing data centers that can support the specific needs of our customers, we are always focused on our ability to speed the time it takes to deploy them without compromising on quality. Thanks to our vendor management program and our proven track record building data centers, we can produce designs that can support all the different types of customers we host, from Fortune 500 enterprises to hyperscale providers. Whereas other data center providers might try to force customers into a predetermined model, we will always support our customers and be flexible enough for them to deploy and grow in any of our locations.

To find out more about how our data center construction practices can give you the best in colocation and network/cloud connectivity, contact us.

About Our Contributor

Michael Lahoud

Chief Operating Officer & Partner
Michael drives and implements Stream’s overall business strategies and technical go-to-market offerings, with responsibility for site development, design and construction, supply chain and operations. Read More