A build-to-suit data center is a purpose-built facility designed to meet specific business needs. Unlike modular or traditional data center designs, a build-to-suit data center is only used by a single organization and thus, is completely customizable. This model allows businesses to create the ideal space according to their requirements, such as power and cooling systems and overall IT infrastructure.
The build-to-suit model usually involves a partnership between a business (tenant) and a data center provider. The provider helps to design the data center, considering all of the required systems needed for that particular tenant.
Large enterprises, government agencies, and technology companies often use build-to-suit data centers because they offer high levels of security, are reliable, and are scalable.
Factors to Consider When Designing a Build-to-Suit Data Center
The process of building a custom data center is not inexpensive, so choosing the right provider from the start is important. There are several important things to consider before making your decision.
- Their Expertise and Track Record: If you don’t have a recommendation to go on, the next best thing to rely on is their history as a provider. What is their track record designing, building, and managing data centers for companies like yours?
- The Location of Your Data Center: Location is always key. Make sure your provider has facilities in locations that have reliable power and connectivity and that are at low risk for natural disasters. Picking a state or locality with favorable tax environments may also be something to consider.
- Strong Service Level Agreements (SLAs): A good SLA will ensure that your provider be held accountable for everything you’ve agreed upon, such as performance metrics and design specs according to your needs. A trustworthy provider should come out of the gate with a comprehensive and detailed SLA with clearly-defined expectations for uptime, responsiveness, and issues resolution.
Case Studies: Real-World Built-to-Suit Data Center Projects
An experienced provider should have no problem offering you some details on previous projects. The best providers typically put together case studies to showcase their experience and profile companies they’ve worked with over the years. We’ve compiled some big-name players and the providers they worked with.
- Facebook: In 2017, Facebook partnered with data center provider EdgeConneX to build a 225,000-square-foot data center in Denmark. The facility was designed to be energy-efficient, with the specs including a custom cooling system that uses cold, outside air to cool the servers. From start to finish, the build only took 15 months to complete and is considered one of Facebook’s most efficient data centers.
- Uber: In 2018, Uber announced plans to build a Build-to-Suit Data Center in Nevada to support its growing business operations. Uber’s facility was designed for scalability, initially being able to house up to 2,000 IT racks containing servers. Like other similar data centers, this one was designed with advanced cooling systems, redundant power sources, and robust security features. The facility was completed in 6 months and has allowed Uber to further improve the performance and reliability of their IT infrastructure.
- BMW: In 2019, BMW partnered with data center provider Switch to build a 130,000-square-foot data center in Las Vegas, NV. This facility was designed to support BMW’s ConnectedDrive platform and autonomous driving initiatives. With top-level security systems, redundancy with regard to power and cooling, and a scalable design, BMW’s built-to-suit data center can accommodate the company’s plans to grow.
- Dropbox: In 2015, Dropbox partnered with data center provider Equinix to design a custom data center in Virginia. Designed to be highly secure and energy-efficient, Dropbox’s facility needed to be scalable and robust. The entire project took 6 months to complete, and it enabled Dropbox to improve the performance and reliability of it’s flagship cloud-based services.
Case studies like these demonstrate the benefits of designing the right build-to-suit data center for the needs of your business. By partnering with an experienced provider and taking into account factors like location, scalability, and security, your business can build the ideal facility for your business.
For more information or to receive a quote on a build-to-suit data center design, contact Data Center Resources today.