This March/April issue ofMission Critical includes our second 7x24 Exchange supplement. You can find it in the centerfold, and it will be widely available at the 7x24 Exchange’s Spring 2012 conference in Florida. Its pages include an interview I did with Syska Hennessy Group’s Cyrus Izzo. During that interview, I asked Cy what he thought was the most important factor changing data center construction. His answer, TCO (total cost of ownership), surprised me greatly. Cy makes a great case that data center owners have struck a much-needed balance between construction and operation costs, including energy.

Cy was chosen as the interview subject because of his role as vice president of 7x24 Exchange International. You might remember that Dave Schirmacher, now 7x24 Exchange’s president, played a similar role in the supplement that we prepared prior to Fall 2011 Conference. Coincidentally, both men sit on  Mission Critical’s advisory board. Not coincidentally, both men have dedicated their careers to helping the industry improve, and both have chosen to do at least some of this work as volunteers to the 7x24 Exchange, which says volumes about the organization’s role in the industry. We’re honored to partner with them on this project.

Truthfully, I had expected Cy to name cloud, colocation, DCIM, or even energy as the biggest driver. Other people might have chosen yet another driver.

Having had some time to get comfortable with Cy’s choice, I began to wonder what bigger implications a growing focus on TCO brings. Certainly, life cycle costs can affect almost any part of a data center.

Perhaps, though, a focus on data center TCO is not just a driver; perhaps it is the result of a greater emphasis on IT TCO. That is, not only must a data center meet an owner’s TCO goals, but also that financial discipline may be causing an increased rationalization of all IT operations.

As a result, more and more IT operations move to the cloud, or data center operations are outsourced as a way to achieve greater total cost of operations. This thinking is part of the reason that the covers of our last two issues have not featured enterprise-owned and operated data centers. Rather, in portraying Sabey’s facilities in Washington and Virginia and Telehouse’s New York City facility, for the first time,  Mission Critical looked at facilities where IT departments from multiple businesses may conduct business.

Do colo facilities differ from enterprise-owned and operated facilities? You bet, and  Mission Critical will be exploring these differences in issues to come.