Last week I asked blog readers how they thought data center development would be affected by the financial turndown. No one seemed to have the slightest idea.
So I have to admit I was poorly prepared for the one question people asked me during every conversation and during every presentation at AFCOM's Data Center World earlier this week. That question? Well, how will data center development be affected by credit crisis?
As a result, I'm continuing to mull over the big question of the week. So let's try out a few thoughts.
1. Data center owners who are committed to green technologies and energy-efficiency will up their efforts to streamline data center operations. They recognize that inefficiency is costly. Those who have been making stabs at energy-efficiency will find their Greenwash programs too expensive to continue.
2. Manufacturers and service providers that offer valuable technologies and services will continue to prosper. I have not yet heard of a single data center project being cancelled or delayed. But the vetting process will get tougher because no one has money to waste. Manufacturers and service providers who can't deliver on their promises will be hard hit in this economy.
3. IT and facilities will have to do more with less. Ok, so what's new? But more really means more and less means a lot less. As I wrote last week, data center development projects are often the best way to get a handle on IT spending.
Of course, these are pretty broad conclusions to draw from very few data. It is promising, of course, that previously announced data center projects seem to be going forward. IBM, for instance, still seems committed to its $1 Billion Big Green Project 2.0.
And attendees at Data Center World mixed their financial anxieties with a liberal splash of optimism. Typical of this attitude were the developers of Datasite Orlando, who hosted a tour of their newly completed Tier 3 data center. Joe Soroka of Total Site Solutions led my group around the facility, generally enjoying the good feelings that newly completed projects often engender, detailing the technical aspects of the project, and reveling in violating a cardinal rule of data center operations involving liquids. (What happens in Orlando stays in Orlando, who knew?)
Though Datasite Orlando was nearly complete before the ongoing financial scares, its developers were confident that business would emerge quickly to fill its 85,000 sq ft raised floor. Yet mixed among the stories Joe told about the data center were anecdotes about making use of legacy equipment to save money and improve reliability (even 25-year old UPS systems were left in place), so that new equipment could be phased in to match demand from new customers. The facility had a number of impressive features that can be seen on Datasite Orlando's website, but I had to admire the way that Total Site Solutions made use of the legacy equipment onsite, some of which Joe had first activated personally years ago.