In a previous post, we discussed why data center operators are expanding beyond major metropolitan areas to build edge data centers in Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets. This makes it possible for large service providers such as YouTube and Netflix to bring content and cloud services closer to the consumer, which reduces latency and transport costs. Edge data centers also serve as colocation facilities for local businesses, and are increasingly being used to process Internet of Things (IoT) data closer to devices, enabling real-time analytics.

Available data center space has been in short supply in recent years as hyper-scale cloud providers have gobbled up the available real estate. However, a report from real estate brokerage CBRE indicates that many new data center facilities are expected to be built or become available this year.

Although data center space has a vacancy rate of just 4.6 percent, many developers are building data centers before leases are signed. In fact, 59 percent of data center capacity under construction in major markets is being built speculatively. CBRE expects organizations to move out of their existing facilities and either adopt cloud services or move into multitenant data centers (MTDCs), which will free up even more data center capacity.

An MTDC is a colocation space in which multiple organizations lease data center space, power, security and connectivity and bring their own IT equipment to the facility. Customers moving into these facilities lease so-called “white space,” a name that derives from the white flooring tiles used in raised floor environments. Even data centers that don’t have raised floors typically use the term “white space” to refer to usable square footage.

That doesn’t mean that customers are faced with an empty room. Typically, MTDC operators offer several different services to suit companies with varying IT requirements. A “suite” is a dedicated, isolated physical space with cooling, power, network and access options. A “cage” is a secure, shared space with shared infrastructure, while a “rack” offers scalable, rack-based solutions in a shared data center environment for organizations with smaller space requirements.

Organizations need to proceed carefully when building out data center white space. The available square footage is still limited, so it’s important to maximize the space that’s allotted and plan for future growth.

Cabinets are particularly important to edge data centers. When choosing cabinets and racks, be aware that the internal structure can be very different even when the outer dimensions are identical. This will affect capacity, energy efficiency and cooling. As we discussed in our last post, cabinets in edge data centers need to support high-density designs with plenty of room for networking gear.

You should also choose patch cables with an eye toward the future. The growth of 100G is expected to outpace 10G and 40G combined and make up more than half of data center optical transceiver transmission capacity by 2019, according to Infonetics. Flexible options are available that future-proof cabling as switching infrastructure is upgraded, and simplify cable management in high-density environments.

Increasingly, colocation providers are offering data center design services to customers. Rahi Systems can help both providers and customers create data center environments that meet their goals for performance, availability, scalability and quick turnaround. We develop turnkey solutions that account for power and space requirements on the white space lease and maximize value and efficiency. Let us put our expertise to work for your white space build-out.

 

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