Everyone who viewed the Open Forum on Data Center Issues webinar last Thursday had the chance to respond to seven survey questions, and to see the answers. Gilbane’s Dennis Cronin and I presented these findings to the 7x24Exchange at the their fall meeting earlier this week. Look at this one slide, which shows that only a very few respondents expect their spending on data centers to slow. You can see the rest of the survey results by logging in and viewing the webinar, which is available on our website.

Originally scheduled for 60 minutes, the all Q&A session extended to 75 minutes thanks to our sponsor, Toshiba.

More than 100 questions were submitted during the registration process, and another 30 were submitted during the event itself. I think our panel handled between 10 and 15 questions, including debate and follow-ups. I’ve been promising to share these questions with our general audience. Here are three that I have made available in various formats, with some answers already in place.

Check back here often for more discussions.

Q1. The EPA’s report to Congress on data centers has been complete for a while. The impact to the national grid is well documented. Where is the response from the feds on tax breaks for proof of energy reduction in the data center?


Q2. Have there been any discussions concerning LEED Certified data centers? Considering the functional nature of a data center is LEED Certification even viable and obtainable? Are there any trends in the market for LEED Certified Data Centers?


A. The LEED-certified data center is gradually, although slowly, becoming a trend. With cap and trade becoming a regulation in some states now and throughout the US in near term, LEED will soon be mandated by law for data centers.

- Sharad Joshi on the Green Data Center Initiatives blog:


Q3. Are there any studies that relate cost of ownership to low PUE values? Experience dictates that the better PUE is associated with more complex plants thus higher PM $s.

- James Faccone, Sr Manager Facility Operations at Equinix


A. One aspect of a low PUE that directly results in a lower cost to the business is the use of phased/modular buildouts. If you do not outfit the data center for full capacity on day 1 and instead do regular expansions from a lower day 1 initial capacity, you gain the from the close coupling of support infrastructure to demand that improves your PUE;

Thus the advantages relating to cost become:

- Lower initial build cost;

- Lower initial power and cooling demand;

- Lower utility cost (less wasted energy powering excess capacity);

- Lower maintenance volume/cost (less units to keep up over time);

- Better value (buying better in-room support technology when it comes available)

- Better value (less idle/standby/excess equipment, higher utilization of assets over their depreciation lives)

- CapEx can be deferred to react better to market growths, re-allocated to provide better short-term gains to the business until it is needed, and utilized to cover shorter-term, higher certainty IT capacity issues.

Agile/flexible design is not as focused on the site, but in the interior fit out. Remember, a 20-year data center site will experience at least 5-7 technology generations and at least seven 3-year equipment depreciation cycles. Your body gets old, but your mind keeps growing. Think think about where you invest in your career (mind or body) and know that a data center needs similar treatment.

- Edmond Chu, Senior Design Consultant at Shen Milsom & Wilke