NKF Data Center Consulting Group Proprietary Technology

Data Center location optimization and subsequent site selection is often a multi-faceted and phased exercise. When starting from a blank slate, we follow a three phased approach:

Phase I:  Geographic Location Optimization

Phase II:  Target Metro Facility / Site Selection

Phase III:  Facility Finalists Financial Evaluation

There are numerous criteria to consider when evaluating where to place a data center. At the geographic level, risks must be assessed for natural disasters, un-natural disasters, labor costs and availability, and power considerations. How an organization weighs each of these factors can greatly influence which countries or metros will be concentrated on during the facility level site selection.

Our Data Center Site Location Optimization application focuses on quantifying and demonstrating the impact of an organization's values with respect to the search criteria.  This information is plotted against directional cost estimates predicated on real estate, labor, and volume consumption discounted utility rates. The result is a narrowing of the facility search area. The application also serves as a repository for several disparate data sources utilized in the geographical evaluation phase.

Figure 1:  Hypothetical ranking based on selected criteria weights 

When evaluating at the facility level, numerous other factors at both the internal and external level must be assessed. External factors relevant to facility placement or location to consider include:  proximity to rail, major highways, nuclear plants, airports, and freshwater treatment facilities, as well as risk of floods, mudslides, and avalanches to name a few. At the internal facility level, the additional factors of cooling water redundancy, electrical feed, generator power, HVAC redundancy, indoor shell space, PUE, raised floor area, redundancy / reliability, telecommunications, UPS power, and many others need to be assessed.

After the selection of potential sites, we perform detailed financial due diligence considering total cost of ownership. The main areas of consideration include:  annual operating expenses, capital costs, energy and power use/costs, and total annualized costs. The details include everything from possible architectural and engineering costs to total watts per rack and everything in between.

Utilizing the three phased approach ensures prime heretofore unconsidered locations receive due consideration in context with the user's unique values and risk tolerances.