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A general list of data center cost components

Could you suggest where I could get detailed cost components of the capital and operations expenditure involved in setting up and running a data center?

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That's a broad question with implications that resonate across an organization. If time is short, you should seek the counsel of independent datacenter design specialists or of systems vendors who have significant datacenter design experience. In general, here are a few of the issues you will need to consider:

  1. Facilities – Where do you plan to house your datacenter? How will rising power and other costs affect your ROI over time? Will you use an existing building or engage in new construction? If the former, will it require notable electrical and cooling or other upgrades? If the latter, how will the cost of land and construction impact overall TCO and affect your organization? In both cases, what sorts of local regulations and permits are involved? In addition, what sort of timetable do you need to meet for your project, and is it realistic?
  2. Equipment – Who are your IT or channel vendors of choice? What is their experience in datacenter projects? Do they offer any incentives for projects such as the one you are considering? Do you plan to purchase all new servers, storage, and networking equipment? If you plan to incorporate existing equipment, how will that affect overall costs and ROI?
  3. Staffing – What sort of datacenter experience does your current operations staff have? Will your new facility require additional hires? How many? How about support staff (maintenance, cleaning, security, etc.)? How will staffing requirements affect TCO?
  4. Datacenter alternatives – Have you considered alternatives such as hosted datacenter services? What sorts of hosted services do your preferred vendors offer? How about competing vendors? How do those offerings compare economically and technologically to running your own facility?

This was first published in November 2006

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