When Data Center Priorities Compete, These Tradeoff Tools Can Help Solution Providers

By Ed Moltzen

Solution providers know that designing a data center is about more than just picking servers, power supplies and virtualization software. 

Solution providers know that designing a data center is about more than just picking servers, power supplies and virtualization software. 
Considering cooling architecture, modularity and climate when designing a data center is vital for many reasons, including. efficiency, scalability and sustainability and more. But depending on what a customer prioritizes, solution providers will need to explain what the tradeoffs will mean when it’s all being planned. 
And those priorities can, and do, change over time. 
“Pressure to make data centers sustainable is ... high, and some regulators and governments are imposing sustainability standards on newly built data centers,” consultant McKinsey & Company wrote in a recent report. That means sustainability continues to be a big factor. 
But while sustainability is a key priority for many organizations, it’s not the only priority.
Where Tradeoffs Come From
The upshot: competing priorities mean tradeoffs. And decisions on tradeoffs need to be informed and measured. Partnering with Schneider Electric in this area can solve this major (and growing) issue for solution providers. The company provides easy-to-use Tradeoff Tools for data center design and planning, allowing its partners to:
Help customers make educated decisions about data center design
Quantify capital costs and energy efficiency depending on choices
Understand the implications, for example, of choosing a particular cooling architecture
Factor in a data center’s location to understand how a climate will impact energy use
Why Tradeoffs Tools Are Important
The Tradeoff Tools are available to Schneider Electric partners via the web, tablet application and even smartphone apps. 
In a new study published by the Uptime Institute, data center operators are reporting significant differences in priorities, citing challenges in energy efficiency, finding data center staff, forecasting future capacity requirements and equipment procurement, all competing for attention. 
While 88 percent of data center operators surveyed by Uptime found energy efficiency to be a key metric, it can be very nuanced. For example, power usage effectiveness (PUE) is a priority of 71 percent of those surveyed, while water consumption is a priority of 41 percent. 
Just one Tradeoff Tool, Schneider Electric’s Data Center Capital Cost Calculator, could provide cost breakdowns of favoring each priority by type of cost (equipment, labor, installation) as well as determine priority based on capacity, budget, growth plan, criticality and efficiency. 
Informed decision-making leads to better outcomes, and Schneider Electric wants to make sure that’s easy.

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