Sean Ivery, Senior Director, Data Center Advisory Group, Cushman & Wakefield, Inc. (Fall 2011)
Our increasingly data-driven world has positioned fail-safe
business continuity as an absolute priority across industry sectors.
And when it comes to facilities planning, nowhere is the
merging of a corporation's real estate and IT departments more
evident - or more necessary.
The amount of computing capacity needed to maintain service,
consistency, and recoverability is growing. Companies of all sizes are
faced with decisions about how they will manage their data - including
whether they should house it internally, build their own data centers, or lease wholesale or collocation
Leasing can be a favorable option financially and operationally
for some companies. Data center developers and operators are
providing more options today than ever before. Established players
like Digital Realty Trust, CoreSite, DuPont Fabros, Equinix, and
others offer portfolios that can accommodate clients with diverse
requirements in multiple markets, including Europe and Asia.
Simply put, the data center industry has grown up. These
companies are skilled at working with large corporate clients.
They are Sarbanes-Oxley compliant. They have strict security
codes. They are auditable. As such, companies have become
much more comfortable handing over their data needs to thirdparty
Still, businesses must examine a myriad of factors when
choosing the right solution. Among many other considerations,
they need to look at which business units the data center will
serve, which applications will be involved, whether those applications
will be latency sensitive, and whether the location
of the data center is acceptable in terms of general network
and Internet reliability. In this respect, data center planning is
largely an IT responsibility.
At the same time, cost of power, incentives, and sustainability
measures - traditional site selection considerations - are critical
variables that fall firmly on the real estate side. Finding the right
location for a data center goes well beyond locating an industrial
building with heavy power. Corporate real estate departments
and their service providers bring expertise in finding the right
type and right amount of space in the best location.
Logically, then, the lead for planning and executing data
center strategy should be and typically is shared between these
two key departments. For real estate service providers like
Cushman & Wakefield, this has necessitated an understanding
of how IT departments operate, how they procure services, and
what drives their requirements.
The learning curve may be steep, but it is a requisite to effectively
service clients on this type of project. Ultimately, gaining
insight into the objectives and needs of both the IT and real
estate sides is the first step to crafting the best data center
solution in this rapidly evolving, diversified arena.