Why are Data Center Designs Changing Right Now?

Data center designs are changing significantly, and for good reason.

Hyperscale cloud companies and large enterprises are driving new design requirements that include less redundancy, more space, lower costs, and shorter construction times.

Thus, we are at a key inflection point in the history of data centers. The market is changing, and colocation data centers must respond with new ways to provide everything that customers need, and nothing they don’t.

Data Center Knowledge: New Data Center Designs for Hyperscale Cloud and the Enterprise

RagingWire is proud to collaborate with Data Center Knowledge to produce a webinar and a white paper, both titled “New Data Center Designs for Hyperscale Cloud and the Enterprise”, that explain how this new design will be executed, and how customers will benefit.  

Click here to listen to the webinar, in which RagingWire VP of Product Management Bruno Berti shares how data center customers are benefitting from this new design, and RagingWire VP of Critical Facilities Engineering and Design Bob Woolley explains how data centers are delivering that design. Bruno and Bob are preceded on the webinar by 30-year technology journalist Scott Fulton, who gives an enthusiastic and entertaining retrospective of how we got to this point in the evolution of data center design.

Click here to download the white paper, which shows how this new design addresses the facility, power, cooling, telecommunications and security requirements of hyperscale and enterprise applications, while also lowering costs and improving overall data center performance and availability.

Webinar Examines How to Make Renewable Energy Happen in Data Centers

Just about every motivational video on the Internet contains some version of the line “If you want it to happen, then get up and make it happen.” And that’s for good reason. A sense of urgency, focus and determination can often drive a project through all obstacles to reach the goal.

RagingWire is living those words as it leads the charge to renewable energy in Northern California data centers. By working closely with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), RagingWire created a ground-breaking energy package that provides its California data center customers with 52.7 megawatts of power that is 100% renewable and 100% reliable – all at power rates that are about 40% less than in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley.

This is great news for hyperscalers and large enterprises looking for ways to lower their carbon footprint at a data center that also connects them to their international markets. As the North American affiliate of NTT Communications, RagingWire offers its customers access to a global platform that includes 140 data centers in 20 countries worldwide.

In addition to offering renewable energy, RagingWire has also been a major contributor to the industry dialogue on the topic. Recently, RagingWire put together an all-star webinar panel to take on the topic of “Can we do it? Renewable energy and data centers.

Renewable Energy and Data Centers

Click here to view the webinar and see what RagingWire VP of Data Center Operations Phillip Sandino, Greenpeace Senior IT Analyst Gary Cook, 451 Research Senior Analyst Daniel Bizo, and SMUD Director Erik Krause had to say to a global audience about:

  • Today’s global picture of renewable energy in data centers
  • Obstacles to widespread renewable energy deployment
  • A case study of a successful renewable energy implementation
  • Forecasts for renewable energy adoption in the near and far-term

Previously in an article on Data Center Frontier, Sandino sparked the renewable energy conversation by examining how data centers can improve their renewable energy usage.

Then in an article on Bisnow that stressed the need for data centers to go green, RagingWire VP of Marketing James Leach commented about the benefits of partnering with a utility to drive innovation in renewable energy.

Can we do it? Can we make it happen? Feel free to add a comment in the box below, we would love to hear what you think.

Two RagingWire Execs Presenting at Key Industry Summits in September

As one of the first companies to help build the data center colocation industry, RagingWire has continuously contributed forward-thinking ideas to data center colleagues and customers for nearly 20 years. This month, two RagingWire executives will share their expertise about data center industry trends at a pair of major industry events.

James Leach, VP of Marketing presenting at CAPRate Data Center Summit

On Sept. 12 from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m., Vice President of Marketing James Leach will speak on a panel titled “Washington, D.C. and Mid-Atlantic Data Center Market 360: What Firms are Actively Developing, Investing, and Why” at the CAPRE Washington DC & Mid-Atlantic Data Center Summit at the Stone Tower Winery in Leesburg, Va.


Bob Woolley, VP of Engineering presenting at 451 Research Hosting and Cloud Summit

On Sept. 25 from 1:05 p.m. – 2:10 p.m., Vice President of Critical Facilities Engineering and Design Bob Woolley will speak on a panel titled “Critical Infrastructure from Edge to Core: How Will It Change in the Next Decade?” at the 451 Research Hosting and Cloud Transformation Summit at the Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas.

RagingWire executives are regularly invited to speak at industry events. Earlier in 2018, RagingWire presented at the CAPRE Data Center Forecast, the Utilities and Data Center Conference, the CAPRE Northern California Data Center Summit, AFCOM Data Center World, the CAPRE Greater Chicago & Midwest Data Center Summit, and Bisnow Data Center Investment Conference & Expo events in Ashburn, Va., Dallas, and Chicago.

Now part of the NTT Group, RagingWire is connected to NTT’s global network of 140 data centers with more than 4 million square feet of space, including data center campuses in the world’s top three data center markets (Ashburn, Va., Dallas, and Northern California).

How can we improve safety in data centers?

While participating in a recent roundtable discussion among data center industry leaders, I was shocked to hear of an estimate that at least 50% of data centers allow energized work. And it gets worse. Depending on how you define energized work, that figure could be even higher.

Data Center Safety

Simply put, data center technicians who work on energized equipment put themselves and others around them at risk. According to Industrial Safety and Hygiene News, between 500 and 700 people die every year from arc flash incidents. More than 2,000 people with arc flash injuries are treated annually in burn centers. The average cost of medical treatment from an arc flash injury is $1.5 million, with average litigation costs between $10 million-$15 million.

These arc flash accidents are absolutely devastating, and they are preventable. That’s why I believe that data center executives must step up and take a stand to prohibit working on energized equipment. The culture needs to change.

But how do we convince more data centers operators to adopt a culture of compliance toward current safety rules? What are the steps forward to a safer workplace?

I delved into this topic in an article titled “It’s Time to Upgrade Data Center Safety” published recently on Data Center Frontier. Click here to give it a read.

New Report Finds Dallas to be Third-Ranked Data Center Market – and Growing

RagingWire’s Dallas TX1 Data Center is in prime position in one of the hottest data center markets in the world, according to the findings in a new special report produced by Data Center Frontier and datacenterHawk.

Dallas Data Center Market Report by Data Center Frontier. Sponsored by RagingWireIn the midst of a data center building boom, Dallas is now the third-largest market for capacity (trailing only Northern Virginia and Silicon Valley), with 50 MW of available power, and 11 MW more under construction.

Many data center companies are banking on big growth in Dallas, with 570 MW of additional capacity in the planning stages. RagingWire has plans for a total of five data centers on our 42-acre campus outside of Dallas, totaling at least 80 MW of capacity, although more MW can be built-to-suit if needed.

The report answers questions such as: Can Dallas win more hyperscale deals? What five factors are driving Dallas’s popularity as a destination data center market for companies headquartered outside the area? What is the hottest sub-market for new development -- Fort Worth, Richardson or Garland? Will the area’s 15% data center vacancy rate swell up or dry up? How do the offerings of the major data center companies compare?

Click here to read a synopsis of the report and download your copy.

RagingWire Execs Speaking at Major Data Center Events in San Francisco and Dallas on June 26

San Francisco and Dallas will be the sites for two RagingWire executives to share their expertise about data center industry topics and trends on June 26.

Joe Goldsmith to present at DCD Webscale Data Center Conference in San Francisco

Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer Joe Goldsmith will speak about “Why Sacramento Should Be On Your Data Center Location Short List” at Datacenter Dynamics Webscale from 10:40 - 11:40am at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

Vice President James Leach will speak on a panel about “Leading the Curve: The State of the Data Center Market” at the Bisnow Data Center Investment Conference & Expo, South (DICE) from 2:55 - 3:40pm at Infomart in Dallas.

James Leach to present at the Bisnow Data Center Conference in Dallas, TX


RagingWire is well-represented in both San Francisco and Dallas, with 680,000 square feet of data center space in Northern California, and 230,000 square feet of data center space in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. In addition, RagingWire has 535,000 square feet of data center space in Ashburn, VA., and as part of the NTT Group, RagingWire is connected to NTT’s global network of 140 data centers with more than 4 million square feet of space.

RagingWire Talks Data Centers on NPR’s “The Kojo Nnamdi Show”

If you’re a radio listener in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region and surrounding areas of Maryland and Virginia, and you tune in during the noon hour, you’ve probably heard The Kojo Nnamdi Show – the top program on the top NPR (National Public Radio) station WAMU (88.5 FM). Avid listeners call the program simply “The Kojo Show.”

The host of this eponymous program, Kojo Nnamdi, has been voted “Best Radio Personality” in Washington City Paper’s Best of DC Poll for five years in a row. He’s been called “maybe the best interviewer in town” by The Washington Post. That’s the cache of Kojo Nnamdi.

RagingWire VP of Marketing James Leach talks about data centers with Kojo Nnamdi on NPR

So we were honored when Kojo invited RagingWire on his program to talk data centers. Our Corporate Vice President James Leach joined “The Computer Guy” John Gilroy and Kojo to discuss “How Northern Virginia Became the Data Center Capital of the U.S.” It was clearly a hot topic as a number of listeners called in to ask questions and share their views.

Click here to listen to a rebroadcast of the program. You’ll learn about what makes data centers in Northern Virginia so special, the kinds of jobs created by data centers, and the economic development spurred by data centers. The broadcast runs a brisk 34 minutes including call-ins. It’s definitely worth a listen.

Thanks Kojo for all you do.  You’re the best!

How to Build Data Centers Faster, Better, and More Cost Effectively

There is no question that the data center market is booming. The research firm Markets and Markets projects that the data center colocation market is expected to grow from $31.52 billion in 2017 to $62.30 billion by 2022.

Those numbers are impressive, but they’re only part of the story. Client expectations are changing as well. When evaluating data centers, clients now demand:

Speed – Savvy customers now expect construction cycles of six to nine months for new state-of-the-art data centers, as opposed to the 12 to 18 month cycles of only a few years ago.

Cost-Efficiency – Construction projects that cost $10 million per megawatt a few years ago are in the range of $7 million per megawatt today. Customers expect to see that downward cost trend continue.

Aesthetics – Exteriors must be attractive, and interiors must be comfortable – all while integrating mission critical infrastructure for power, cooling, telecommunications, and security.

RagingWire VA3 Data Center - How to build data centers faster better and cost-effectively

With so much at stake, the mega-billion-dollar question is: How can construction managers stay ahead of the industry growth rates while exceeding the new expectations of clients?

Construction managers will need to:

  1. Firmly control the “Project Triangle”
  2. Effectively deploy and manage the supply team
  3. Creatively marry form and function

Let’s take a closer look at each of these objectives.

 Firmly Control the “Project Triangle”

To complete a data center project in six to nine months, construction managers must control scope, budgets, and schedule, otherwise known as the three legs of the “Project Triangle.”

Scope must be managed with crystal clarity, ensuring alignment with your company’s business goals (markets, clients, scale) and well documented in the owner’s project requirements (OPR) to the data center design. Change management must be agile to adapt to innovation and changing conditions.

Budgets to build data centers need to be aligned with scope and schedule to deliver on the business case pro-forma of the project.

Schedules should be end-to-end, including permitting, supply chain, design, construction, commissioning, and fit-out, and use earned value management (EVM) to stay on plan for time-cost-resources.

Effectively Deploy and Manage the Supply Team

To further accelerate the construction cycle and the time it takes to build data centers, top data center companies are turning the supply chain concept into a precisely organized “supply team” of program managers, infrastructure manufacturers, and construction partners.

The biggest differences between a supply chain and a supply team are how the work gets done and the nature of the work itself.

Supply teams leverage the expertise and capabilities of internal resources as well as resources of supplier partners. By identifying key skill sets, selecting the right team members, integrating closely with the business plan, and managing and measuring team performance, a successful supply team can be deployed and reconfigured with predictable timelines for project milestones.

The nature of the construction project is changing too. Years ago, critical infrastructure was largely assembled onsite. This process slowed the production schedule by consuming considerable manpower, non-concurrent time, and space. Today, industry leading data center companies partner with key suppliers to design infrastructure components which are then built at the factory and shipped to the construction site for installation. The result is better quality, lower costs, and faster delivery.

The effect of a well-managed supply team can be profound. For example, our newest data center in Ashburn, Virginia, which features 245,000 square feet of space and 16 megawatts of power, will be IST (integrated systems test) completed in approximately six months from the start of precast.

Creatively Marry Form and Function

Building a world-class data center requires addressing local environmental and weather conditions. In one location the power utility might have unique requirements for transmission and delivery. In another location, the local government might have special zoning or aesthetic regulations. Depending on the region, data centers must be prepared for snow, ice, hurricanes, tropical storms, droughts and any other harsh elements.

For example, our Dallas TX1 Data Center was built to withstand an EF-3 tornado with winds of 136 mph. To address water quality and draught conditions, we installed one of the largest water-free cooling systems in the U.S.

In addition, new data centers must provide a work environment for technology professionals that sparks collaboration, creativity, and comfort, while adding beauty and character to the surrounding neighborhood. Our data centers include multi-function meeting spaces, lounges, exercise rooms, and architecturally significant exteriors so that tech professionals used to working for Bay Area or Silicon Valley companies will feel right at home.

Plan. Build. Improve. Repeat.

The best data center construction teams relentlessly focus on improvement. We can always do better, and we’re focused on learning ways to improve our time to market, cost-efficiency, functionality, and flexibility for future projects.

Internally, my team’s mantra is “Credible, Capable, Best-in-Class.” We strive to do what we say, expand our knowledge and skills, and be the best at what we do. We maintain an intense focus on benchmarking all elements of project performance and metrics. This benchmarking allows us to target and track continuous improvement in cost, schedule, manpower levels, safety, and quality.

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Why Interconnection Matters to Wholesale Colocation

Providing large scale, secure space and power has been the focus of wholesale data center providers for many years. Until recently, innovation in wholesale data center solutions has centered on developing data center designs that improve power resiliency and building efficiency. The result being that wholesale customers today are receiving data centers that are more flexible, scalable, and cost effective than ever before.

Data Center Interconnection - RagingWire Data Centers

The cloud and surge in wholesale data center demand are changing the industry, but not in the way that many expected. Interconnection between wholesale data centers and public cloud environments is becoming a key decision criteria rather than an afterthought or “nice-to-have”. Interconnection has become a major component of the wholesale data center colocation strategy.

The Hybrid-Cloud Changes Everything.

The demand for interconnection is being driven by the changing market dynamics, specifically in hybrid cloud. Over the past five years, enterprise organizations have been successfully adopting the public cloud as a complement to rather than as a replacement for their enterprise or colocation environments. The term “hybrid cloud,” came from the desire for enterprises to utilize a combination of clouds, in-house data centers, and external colocation facilities to support their IT environments.

The challenge with having a hybrid environment arises from the need for the data centers and the cloud providers to interconnect and share data securely and with low network latency as part of one extended environment. Within a data center, servers and storage can be directly connected. A hybrid cloud environment doesn’t have the luxury of short distances, so bring on the innovation.

From Carriers to Interconnection

The first interconnection solutions were provided by telecommunications service providers. Dark fiber, lit fiber, and Internet access were all leveraged to interconnect hybrid cloud environments. However, as cloud deployments grew and matured, these network solutions became difficult to secure and manage.

Next, data center providers began to offer “direct” connections within the data center to bring cloud and colocation environments into one location, allowing interconnections to be provided through fiber cross-connects. This approach, however, restricts the choices where companies can place their colocation environments and limits the types of cloud environments to which they can connect.

The newest solutions are being introduced by interconnection platform providers, which leverage the concepts of network exchange points and software defined networking (SDN) to provide a flexible solution that can be self-managed. These innovative solutions solve many key network challenges introduced by hybrid clouds.

The Keys to Interconnection – Dedicated, secured, and many-to-many

Beyond the simple one-to-one interconnection of a cloud environment to a wholesale colocation environment, an interconnection platform is designed to allow many-to-many connections in a dedicated and secured fashion. With an interconnection platform, wholesale colocation environments can be connected to multiple cloud providers (multi-cloud) and multiple cloud locations (availability zones). This design opens the door to unique options for companies to architect their IT environments to optimize resiliency and availability while minimizing cost and complexity. The SDN aspect of the interconnection platform allows the customer to manage their connections in real time without needing involvement from the provider. They can turn up, turn down, and change individual connections at any time, usually through a simple web based user interface.

Interconnection Goes Beyond the Cloud

The first generation of interconnection solutions focused on delivering dedicated private connections to the top cloud providers. As interconnection and cloud environments evolved, it became easier to move and share workloads across clouds and the data centers. Web portals allowed users to configure, manage, and trouble shoot their cloud connections.

Today a next generation of interconnection is rolling out in wholesale data centers that extends the connectivity platform beyond the cloud, to provide data center customers more options for interconnection partners. The first of these partners – SaaS Providers. New interconnection platforms allow enterprises to directly connect to applications such as web conferencing, help desk, customer service and human resources. For the enterprise customer, they receive a dedicated and secure connection to the application that is easier to manage and integrate. For the SaaS provider, they now have a “direct connection” offering to their software that improves the availability and performance of their application service.

The second new category of interconnection partners is other enterprises. Interconnect platforms now cover the globe to connect wholesale data centers in dozens of countries and through hundreds of points-of-presence (PoPs). Any enterprise connected to the interconnect platform becomes a potential interconnection partner. For example, your company may partner with a data provider or analytics service to deliver a solution to your customers. The interconnect platform makes it easy to connect your hybrid cloud environment to your partner’s hybrid cloud environment. You can even use the interconnect portal to invite new partners to join the ecosystem.

What Next? A Hybrid of Hybrids.

It’s clear that the hybrid computing model combining data centers and clouds with a global, seamless, and secured network is the direction that corporate IT is heading. To support hybrid computing, wholesale data centers have evolved beyond space, power, telecommunications, and security. Wholesale data centers have become a critical infrastructure platform for both cloud providers and enterprises. Interconnection now becomes a core element in wholesale data center solutions bringing together clouds and enterprises into a flexible and scalable hybrid of hybrids.

Data Center Knowledge: Hyperscale Cloud Case Study (webinar and white paper)

The cloud changes everything – the computers we buy (or don’t buy), the way we write applications, how we collect and store data, and the design and location of our data centers.

Selecting the right West Coast data center solutionRagingWire is home to many top cloud providers. We are working with them to turn their requirements for space, power, cooling, telecommunications, and security into data center designs. You can see these designs deployed across our data center portfolio, including our CA3 Data Center in Sacramento, our TX1 Data Center in Dallas, and our VA3 Data Center in Ashburn, Virginia.

To help us better understand the impact of cloud computing on data centers, we hired Bill Kleyman, Featured Cloud and Data Center Analyst at Data Center Knowledge, one of the largest industry websites, to study how cloud providers and Fortune 1000 enterprises are optimizing their data centers worldwide and the unique data center requirements found in Northern California, one of the top data center markets in the world.

Based on this research, Bill wrote the white paper “Hyperscale Cloud Case Study: Selecting the Right West Coast Data Center Solution” and produced a webinar on the subject, both featuring Groupon, a global leader in local and online commerce.

Click here to download the white paper and watch the webinar.

Here are some of the key findings from the white paper and webinar:

  • Cloud applications require data centers in key internet hub locations in order to manage network latency
  • Having a data center near Silicon Valley and the Bay Area is preferred, but it is best to be outside the earthquake zone in order to reduce risk and lower costs
  • Data center scalability and flexibility are critical to support ongoing cloud capacity
  • Rigid IT architectures are being replaced with hybrids
  • As applications scale, the flexibility of the cloud can be outweighed by escalating costs
  • Multi-megawatt, large footprint deployments are driving the need for wholesale data center colocation
  • Carrier neutrality and direct cloud connectivity are required, improving reliability and performance and reducing costs
  • Using a wholesale colocation provider provides significantly faster time to delivery than deploying a traditional powered shell


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