One of the fundamental challenges for a data center colocation provider is the often long interval from initial large capital investment to initial revenue generation, which can be 12-18 months, not to mention the longer time period for overall return on investment (ROI). In addition, the initial operating expense can be significant when you consider the need to staff the facility 24×7 with only your initial customers, unless the facility was built with a large anchor customer. This means the typical wholesale data center provides a simple service that does not include remote hands, 24×7 technicians or IT infrastructure management services.
Rather than building a data center, a colocation provider has the option to enter into a long term lease with a wholesale data center provider. This addresses the initial capital outlay requirements and can accelerate time-to-market, if the wholesale provider has pre-built the building. However, most wholesale providers are typically inflexible in facility size and design and expect the retail colocation provider to staff and maintain operating expenses from day one. These wholesale providers deliver a single service model (as defined by square footage and the amount of power consumed) and don’t provide business development support to customers.
The new CenturyLink Moses Lake, WA (CW1) data center built in partnership with Server Farm enabled an extraordinarily fast time to market. From contract signature to operational turnover was only four months, a reduction of two-thirds of the typical build model. Server Farm chose to build on an existing design platform, which was adjusted to meet various CenturyLink requirements. This was achieved through the collaborative pre-construction and design approach between the CenturyLink and Server Farm engineering and construction teams.
CenturyLink enjoyed one of its shortest intervals to revenue generation from a new data center through this partnership. The new data center and its unique capabilities has opened up new market opportunities for disaster recovery solutions and XaaS provider solutions all with minimal capital and initial operating expenses typically associated with deployment of a new data center.
In addition, CenturyLink and Server Farm developed an efficient shared staffing model, where we provide supplemental smart hands services to complement the CenturyLink team on evening, overnight and weekend hours. This model can adapt easily to the anticipated growth and success of the venture.
The CenturyLink – Server Farm relationship in developing the Titan Facility in Moses Lake Washington provides a new data center model with greater design and facility build out flexibility as well as a unique shared staffing model that optimizes the workforce and allows easy growth. With a flexible, hybrid operating model, improved business development support, and shared long-term intelligence of building, community/EDC, power costs, cooling efficiencies, low natural risk geography, staff hiring, and vendor/contractor support it stands as an exemplary model for Service Provider Data Centers.