Jabez Tan on Gigas Data Centers

  • December 29, 2018

Source: Channel Partners Online

Giga Data Centers’ Latest Colo Facility to Go Live in February

Taking lessons learned from large data-center users including Google and Facebook, Giga Data Centers is building a new colocation facility that will bring the benefits of low-energy consumption and modular enclosures to a wide range of business customers of all sizes starting in early 2019.

The new 60-megawatt data center, being built in Mooresville, North Carolina, on the site of a former Dale Earnhardt NASCAR car-building facility, uses a wide range of technologies to improve colocation services and capabilities for customers, Jake Ring, the CEO and president of the company, told Channel Partners. The facility is expected to go into operation in February in the Charlotte suburbs.

Built with high efficiency in mind, the colocation data center will offer a Power Use Efficiency (PUE) rating of less than 1.15, which the company claims is some 85 percent more efficient than traditional data centers.

“What is unique here is the high level of efficiency we deliver,” said Ring.

For companies like Google and Facebook, that kind of efficiency is needed to help them keep their data-center costs down. Using those same principles, Giga wants to offer similar capabilities to any business that wants to use a colocation facility, he said. Giga has already built some 28 such data centers for larger customers in the last few years and will now bring those same efficiencies to the general business market through the new Mooresville facility.

Previous customers include the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Energy, where Giga’s modularized Tier 3+ data centers provide critical services at lower cost and with high efficiency, said Ring.

“We did this for others and now we want to do this for the colocation market,” said Ring. The Mooresville data center will supply 60MW of capacity at 4.1 cents per kilowatt hour, which is far lower than the costs in traditional data centers, he said.

The new data center uses modular enclosures with distinct hot and cold aisles that are separated by containment walls to better manage hot and cold air flow. The facility will use negative pressure in the hot aisle to help move heat off of CPUs and GPUs in the system racks, which is a distinct difference from the setups in typical data centers, said Ring.

“We call it WindChill, because we actually move the air,” he said. “In most data centers, for every dollar of electricity used to support the servers in a rack, they need another dollar to run their infrastructure, HVAC, lights [and so on]. By contrast, a Giga data center takes only 15 cents or less to operate our infrastructure.”

Jabez Tan, an analyst with Structure Research, told Channel Partners that Giga’s latest approach comes at a good time.

“The hype about modular data centers started in 2011, but it turned out the market wasn’t ready for it at the time,” said Tan. “We’re reaching a point where business data requirements are getting more distributed and unique, so we are seeing more modular approaches.”

Tan said he sees value for customers with the latest Giga facility because the company doesn’t just say it will provide a certain level of efficiency, it will actually put a guaranteed PUE right into the customer’s contract.

“It’s one thing to promise a lower PUE,” he said. “It’s another thing to guarantee it to customers.”

Technology-wise, Giga’s configuration of the new Mooresville facility is similar to how other vendors are building new facilities, he said. What’s different is the speed in which customers can get started with the company’s new colocation facility, added Tan.

“At the end of the day, people want lower-cost data centers that can be deployed fast,” he said. “Giga has hit on the key pain points that companies are having,” such as needing lower costs and higher density facilities, which can’t be done by older, traditional data centers.

At the same time, Giga’s choice of the suburban Charlotte location is also innovative, he said.

“Most modular data providers are locating in major metro areas or in very remote locations. I think Giga is unique because [it is] choosing an interesting market in North Carolina that is between major markets in Northern Virginia, Atlanta and Charlotte.”

For potential customers, the decision will be all about their use cases, said Tan

“There’s room for providers who cater to different environments. This won’t be for everyone. The kind of customer that would be ideal for them would be a customer running high-density workloads that need to process these compute environments close to their own data centers and at low cost.”

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