As the demand for data center capacity grows around the world, so too grows the need among data center owners, developers, and operators to find better ways to improve the economic performance as well as the energy efficiency of their facilities. According to a “Green Data Centers” report by Pike Research,1 the global market for green data centers segment of the industry is expected to more than double in size in the next four years. Underscoring that trend are announcements in recent months of large green data center investments by such bellwether companies as Apple, Microsoft, and IBM. As the industry has grown, so too has the concern that the data center industry may face regulatory pressure related to energy consumption. Some utilities are already expressing concerns about having enough power in the future to feed the number of data centers expected in their regions. Owners are justifiably seeking to discover new and better ways to improve their sustainable performance with reliable analytical methods and tools.
This article describes an economic modeling approach being used to help data center owners more wisely choose locations for new data center developments and to forecast costs along with long-term economic returns on investment associated with those prospective sites.