The Need for Speed

Publishing Date: May 31, 2022

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The Need for Speed:
ABB helps to develop data centres between 30 and 50 percent faster

By Pam Cannon

With increased demand, the market is looking for ways to expand and develop data centres quicker and generate revenue sooner.

The global colocation market is predicted to grow to over $62 billion by 2022 – that’s almost double the 2017 growth rate. This explosive growth can be attributed to a number of factors, including how difficult and expensive it’s becoming to manage in-house data centres, the growing popularity of cloud-based services, Edge computing and IoT adoption, and of course the desire for Big Data.

With such high demand, ABB has developed a variety of solutions and strategies to help our colocation data centre customers get their new infrastructure up and running quicker, by saving time during the build phase and getting impressive revenues generated sooner.

For our customers, having the right amount of high-quality colocation space to offer new customers is key to remaining competitive in a fast paced and highly competitive market. But to do this, colocation providers should not be over-committing to expansions or new campuses that will remain partially empty for extended periods – costing money to run, but not generating a return. A “pay-as-you-grow” approach is much more viable, and it secures new revenue streams quickly and keeps cash flow optimised.

That’s why shorter, modular build phases are the answer. In other words, building just the space required, in the shortest timeframe possible to keep upfront investment low and to generate quick returns so that the next phase can begin.

The days of “stick-built” data centres are numbered

Using traditional “stick-built” methods to build a data centre takes between 18 and 24 months, or sometimes longer. This isn’t a timeframe that is effective for a market which is growing at such an exponential rate. New customers don’t want to wait for build completion to get the capacity they need, and often they don’t have to, as spaces are opening all the time at competitive prices.

So, for our customers, the quicker they build, the more competitive they become, and the more revenue they secure.

Take a typical 10MW colocation site leasing at $150 kW per month. For every month the facility is under development, $1.5 million in revenue is lost – so the shorter the build time, the earlier the revenue stream will begin showing profit. If the same colocation facility was to open after six months, instead of 18 months, the data centre earns $18 million in revenue, meaning when it comes to data centre build speed, time really is money.

By working with the right solutions provider, data centre owners can benefit from a range of proven strategies that can help them and their build contractors develop data centres between 30 and 50 percent faster.

Here’s a brief look at four of the most effective strategies that ABB believes will deliver a faster data centre build:

1) Modular, prefabricated solutions support faster builds and promote scalability

The traditional planning, designing and onsite fabrication of a new data centre is time consuming. Switching to modern, modular and prefabricated solutions can cut this time significantly to shorten build times and generate revenue faster.

eHouses are a well-known example of a solution that can be prefabricated and transported to site. Already factory-tested to meet all relevant data centre regulations, prefabricated solutions like this can be shipped as a package in one purchase order to simplify communications and logistics to a single point of contact, saving man-power onsite and streamlining processes.

2) Re-engineer service strategy to improve speed, lower total cost of ownership and increase reliability

Project scheduling issues have cascading consequences. A delay from one technician, on one task affects the efficiency of other tasks that follow. In turn, this creates budget overruns, sudden order changes and increased safety issues.

Prefabrication is also the answer to improving the reliability and speed of data centre service strategy, while reducing total cost of ownership. Because these solutions are all pretested and debugged to begin with, site engineers simply need to plug and play, meaning site connection, functional testing and commissioning all happening much faster.

3) Implement digitalisation to facilitate swift deployment of solutions

Digitalisation is most commonly associated with improving visibility and condition of the data centre, but it can also speed up deployment and profitability.

One way to boost speed to deployment is going digital with equipment such as switchgear. Because it requires less wiring, digital switchgear takes less time to assemble than traditional switchgear. Its sensor technology provides the flexibility to change system parameters late in the production cycle or in the field eliminating costly and time-consuming hardware changes.

The flexibility also extends to equipment functionality updates, allowing users to make modifications in the field by downloading different software to the digital devices or adjusting via built-in device settings

4) Use advanced online tools for fast and accurate configuration

The conventional way in which low-voltage products and accessories are configured can be time-consuming, difficult, and prone to errors. These errors can cause delays in manufacturing or worse, can mean delivering the wrong product on site. Using a configurator to place an order (e.g., using a web application with a 3-dimensional visual interface) is a simplified and accurate way to go when looking to save time, costs, and eliminate errors to ensure speed of deployment.

Learn more about the Race to ROI

With the technologies and tools discussed here, data centre owners and operators can add speed to their data centre builds without sacrificing functionality, reliability or safety.

We have covered these four strategies and more in comprehensive detail in our recent whitepaper. Download it here: Race to ROI: Game-changing strategies to generate data center revenue in record time’.


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ABB is a leading global technology company that energises the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. Our comprehensive portfolio of proven data centre solutions helps our data centre clients keep uptime up, outages out and disruptions to the absolute minimum so you won’t get left in the dark! With excellence stretching back more than 130 years, and 105,000 talented employees in over 100 countries, ABB can help you keep your data centre up and running smoothly, reliably and smarter.

Learn more about ABB on their DCME Directory Listing Directory Listing


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