Big Data Continues to be a Big Deal

The 2015 JLL Data Center Outlook is out and it’s clear: big data continues to be a big deal for most companies.

By Laura McDaniel

And with technology becoming even more integral to the way companies do business, the data center industry is continuing to evolve, and the need for a great project manager is stronger than ever before. The following trends emerging can complicate a project, making strategic thinking a key project input:

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  • More and more state and local governments are increasing tax incentives to attract data center development to their markets.
  • Data centers are facing growing industry consolidation as more large providers are acquiring smaller operators to gain access to new geographies and service offerings.
  • Large providers are seeking higher returns overseas as costs for construction and energy in domestic markets continue to rise.

With tax incentives and cost growth affecting the way data centers are being built and renovated, companies need to take a good hard look at how they’re housing their own data.

Although it can get really costly, some large companies, such as Google and United Healthcare, have built ground-up data center buildings in order to maintain their own data security and will continue to do so. However, many companies are leveraging third party operators, customizing and dropping their servers into empty spaces in larger data center operations.

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No matter which route you take, big data is a big deal and considerations for any data center project should always include the following:

  • Risk mitigation: Data centers contain vital information for companies, nonprofits and government entities. In other words, big data is a big deal. If compromised, the repercussions for both private entities and public interest would be catastrophic. Risk mitigation is especially complex for existing buildings looking to expand or replace aging infrastructure. To maintain the level of security they need, companies need to hire the right project managers with the right experience.

  • Energy use optimization: Many ground-up projects are becoming LEED certified, which involves higher capital costs. In order to be sustainable, developers need to use the newest technology for processors, find ways to minimize water usage in cooling centers, and create energy-saving lighting plans. Though these inputs often have a high initial cost, the return on investment is well worth it. A project manager well versed in energy and sustainability can prove invaluable when it comes to navigating these green waters.

  • Site selection: Many companies require their centers be close in order to maximize speed of data accessibility. Financial and trading firms especially need data nearby, as a half second variance in processing time can be the difference between making a trade or not. The majority of data centers are located right outside of major markets, allowing them to take advantage of lower cost land and energy, while tapping tax incentives offered by municipalities interested in the positive externalities generated by bringing in large data centers. A good project manager can help balance all of these needs, which is vital to overall project cost savings and effectiveness.

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In a world that is increasingly dependent on technology, creating safe, reliable data centers is a key component to maintaining both business and public security. And with so much at stake, there’s no mistake about it – the right project manager is critical when it comes to making these big decisions about big data.