By: Darren Bonawitz
I came across this article on CNN the other day about power blackouts increasing at an alarming rate. When you are in the data center business, that is not a comforting thought, unless of course your role in the industry is selling generators. As data centers continue to grow, demand more power, and increase strain on electric utilities, some data centers (and their customers as well) are likely to be facing uneasy times. When deciding where to build data centers, it is easy to focus primarily on price. If you are going to be utilizing a lot of power, a low cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) rate is important to the bottom line. At the same time, it is important not to focus exclusively on cost. Instead, it is important to balance risk tolerance with economics and match electric utility costs with both reliability and the ability to scale for future demand.
Organizations that do not build data centers and instead opt for colocation are not off the hook with regard to this either. These are essentially pass through criteria to customers of data centers and can have a profound impact on a company’s uptime, growth, and operational expenses. Fortunately, 1102 GRAND is fortunate enough to have Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) as our electric utility. Not only do they provide competitive rates, but we also have a low risk of black outs thanks to efficient and well designed energy delivery infrastructure systems. In fact, KCP&L is routinely named the most reliable electric utility in the region, and in 2008 they were even named the most reliable electric utility in the nation. Not all data centers can boast that they are fed by such a reliable and cost effective electric utility, and for that we are certainly thankful.
Posted by: Greg Elliott
A big thanks to processor.com for interviewing Darren Bonawitz, co-owner of 1102 GRAND, about the importance of local electric utility companies when choosing a location for a new data center, or in repairing an existing one.
According to the article, “The power entering the data center is, obviously, critically important to steady uptime. An unreliable source of power can cripple data center operations by introducing an unexpected variable that’s completely out of administrator control. Administrators engaged in data center design and construction must carefully analyze power considerations.
A primary power-related consideration is the need to ensure that the local utility is able to provide plenty of power reliably and consistently. Darren Bonawitz, co-owner of 1102 GRAND (www.1102grand.com), a data center in Kansas City, Mo., says administrators should talk with the electric utility company to ensure that the location they are looking at has adequate access to power not only for today’s needs but also to support future growth. A planned data center expansion can quickly get derailed if a local utility cannot supply the additional power required for expansion.”