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  1. #1

    going rates for larger colo?

    Hi everyone.

    I'm pretty familiar with pricing on single racks, and have seen pricing in the ~$1000 / mo range for a rack with 40a (non-redundant) in a number of markets, so around that price give or take seems standard enough.

    What I'm wondering about, is what kind of pricing is typical when you start picking up more than just a couple racks. Obviously this varies market to market, but for the kind of typical, low priced colo @ $1k / mo / 40a, is there much room to move on price if you start seeing 5 or 10 or 20 racks? Power in Phoenix is only about 6 cents / kwh, so the power costs of colo there make up a small fraction of the total cost.

    Since it's not every day you see requests like this, it's not exactly published pricing, so I'm completely in the dark here.

    Given that 40a is only about $170 / mo or less in raw electricity costs (depending on facility power efficiency) in Phoenix, but a rack with that much power is over $1k / mo, once you've got more than a few racks, it starts to look pretty expensive.

    Just to be clear, I'm not looking to move colo providers or plan to sign on for 10 racks anytime soon, but we've had good luck renting out dedicated servers and could see using more and more rackspace over time, and need to get an idea what our options would be if we do expand to need a significant amount of rackspace.
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  2. #2
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    From what we've seen, you're reasonably likely to get discounts on space, whereas pricing on power is usually more or less fixed. In either case, the most important factor is how much space they need to fill; you're much more likely to find volume discounts in new facilities than old ones.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by hhw View Post
    From what we've seen, you're reasonably likely to get discounts on space, whereas pricing on power is usually more or less fixed. In either case, the most important factor is how much space they need to fill; you're much more likely to find volume discounts in new facilities than old ones.
    That makes sense.

    I suppose the power costs are related to both electricity and infrastructure. Given that extra power in a given rack at my existing facility is something like 100% higher than the raw power cost assuming a reasonable PUE a little under 2.0, probably not a lot of room to move on power costs as you said, as the facilities to provide that power are probably expensive.

    As to space, that makes sense as it's a fixed cost for the facility, and if the facility is mostly empty, better to fill it than not. Any idea the kind of space discounts that might be typical at a facility that's mostly empty if you commit a large amount (10+ racks)?
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  4. #4
    Here in Vegas, we are paying $450/month for a 30A drop in our cage. However with that expense it also include full UPS services, where many of the places we have looked at, our rack still would need a UPS of some sorts. Its a bit high for power, but I get a BGP mix GigE unmetered for $799/month so pay more for one, less for the other.

    Thanks,
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by RubyRingTech View Post
    Here in Vegas, we are paying $450/month for a 30A drop in our cage. However with that expense it also include full UPS services, where many of the places we have looked at, our rack still would need a UPS of some sorts. Its a bit high for power, but I get a BGP mix GigE unmetered for $799/month so pay more for one, less for the other.

    Thanks,
    Anthony
    For what it's worth, I'm buying the bandwidth from someone other than the facility.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by funkywizard View Post
    For what it's worth, I'm buying the bandwidth from someone other than the facility.
    Depends on what you mean by "large". 50kW? 100kW? 500kW? 1mW? 10 racks? 20? Don't bother for wholesale until you need 150-200 4k+ sq ft and 300-500kW critical power to start.

    Pricing is all over the place and depends on the location, you probably wont get any sort of special attention to wholesale level pricing until you are talking 300+ kW critical commit levels on 7+ year terms. Not breakered.

    Contact Coresite, Digital Reality, Dupont Fabros etc and get pricing. Don't get pricing from some no name operation that no one has ever heard of before and claims to be a "leader" in colocation. God knows there are enough of them running around.


    WHT Is not your end all solution for pricing/information. And on that note more than likely anyone else in here with 500kW+ commits are under NDA with their pricing and can't and wont disclose pricing or really any sort of ball park "range". Also depending on pricing is wholesale vs say a "turn key" datacenter from DLR which is a shared risk environment and doesn't put the whole "deal" on the tenant. I.e maintenance costs for cooling/power i.e not tripple net.

    Quote Originally Posted by hhw
    From what we've seen, you're reasonably likely to get discounts on space, whereas pricing on power is usually more or less fixed. In either case, the most important factor is how much space they need to fill; you're much more likely to find volume discounts in new facilities than old ones.
    Actually I know several sites from DLR who are trying to practically give away space to get people in them due to older tennants moving out. New facilities know what they can get per kW and will get it. I know companies like DFT and DLR are not having problems finding tennants for their ashburn campuses and they are far from cutting amazing volume discounts in these facilities, the older facilities around the area from DLR they are willing to make pretty good deals on to keep them at capacity. Why make lower margin on a new facility when you can make better margins on a older facility that costs less?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Spudstr View Post
    Depends on what you mean by "large". 50kW? 100kW? 500kW? 1mW? 10 racks? 20? Don't bother for wholesale until you need 150-200 4k+ sq ft and 300-500kW critical power to start.

    Pricing is all over the place and depends on the location, you probably wont get any sort of special attention to wholesale level pricing until you are talking 300+ kW critical commit levels on 7+ year terms. Not breakered.

    Contact Coresite, Digital Reality, Dupont Fabros etc and get pricing. Don't get pricing from some no name operation that no one has ever heard of before and claims to be a "leader" in colocation. God knows there are enough of them running around.


    WHT Is not your end all solution for pricing/information. And on that note more than likely anyone else in here with 500kW+ commits are under NDA with their pricing and can't and wont disclose pricing or really any sort of ball park "range". Also depending on pricing is wholesale vs say a "turn key" datacenter from DLR which is a shared risk environment and doesn't put the whole "deal" on the tenant. I.e maintenance costs for cooling/power i.e not tripple net.



    Actually I know several sites from DLR who are trying to practically give away space to get people in them due to older tennants moving out. New facilities know what they can get per kW and will get it. I know companies like DFT and DLR are not having problems finding tennants for their ashburn campuses and they are far from cutting amazing volume discounts in these facilities, the older facilities around the area from DLR they are willing to make pretty good deals on to keep them at capacity. Why make lower margin on a new facility when you can make better margins on a older facility that costs less?
    Thanks for the advice, certainly appreciate it.

    Given the market for space (commercial / industrial) in general in Phoenix, I don't see myself staying at someone else's datacenter if I'm looking to be using 500kw before I can get significantly under $1k / mo / 40a rack. A 40a rack probably has a critical load of around 2.8-3.0 KW for me, which means I'd be looking at 150-200 racks before I'd hit 500kw.

    Given the secondary market for cooling and power equipment, industrial electricity rates, backhaul, labor, and commercial / industrial space in Phoenix, once you get to 40 racks, it starts to look really appealing to start your own datacenter if you're looking at $1k / mo / rack. If "wholesale" pricing doesn't kick in until you're 5-10 times that big, then I doubt I'd be looking to grow to that size in someone else's facility. I would almost certainly be running my own facility well before hitting 500kw critical load if you have to get to that usage level before you see any serious price concessions.

    I know that typically, a lot of the costs is in the facilities. Turning a regular office space into a datacenter can cost hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars. At the same time, this is talking new equipment pricing. From what I can tell, a lot of the datacenter grade cooling and power equipment (generators, ups), the biggest cost would be permitting and installation. If you're willing to buy used gear, the cost of the equipment itself is basically free compared to what it costs to buy the same stuff new. So the big question mark there for me, is what does it cost to get someone qualified to properly install that kind of gear? Given the costs I've seen for this equipment, it seems a lot more viable to me to buy 2N used equipment and just replace anything outright when it fails, vs N+1 brand new equipment with some kind of service contract to repair broken gear. And then of course, it's always possible to find a distressed seller looking to offload an already built out property at well below the build cost of the facility. Anything like that would also be more appealing than renting out 100 racks @ $1k / mo each.

    I understand most datacenters are not using this kind of business model and mindset, so wouldn't be surprised if there's not as much room to move on price as I would hope, but was looking to get a general feel for it from anyone willing to share their experiences.
    Last edited by funkywizard; 02-16-2011 at 01:14 AM.
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  8. #8
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    A couple things:

    - You can start looking at wholesale options around 150-200kw. You won't necessarily find anything, but you might get lucky. We got our first wholesale space from DRT with only 150kw, though that was over 5 years ago now.

    - Even before going to full wholesale, you can start going with metered power options, to get you some additional flexibility and some cost savings.

    - Compare apples-to-apples, of course if you're looking for a facility that is converted office space with thrown together used gear put together by a guy who has never done it before you're going to be less than $1k a cab, so why compare $1k a cab in a proper facility to what you can just throw together?

    Note: Don't forget maintenance costs. Those batteries need changing, belts need changing, generator needs testing and repairs, etc. You don't just need the parts, you need the staff to make the repairs on a moments notice.
    Last edited by KarlZimmer; 02-16-2011 at 01:37 AM.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by KarlZimmer View Post
    A couple things:

    - You can start looking at wholesale options around 150-200kw. You won't necessarily find anything, but you might get lucky. We got our first wholesale space from DRT with only 150kw, though that was over 5 years ago now.

    - Even before going to full wholesale, you can start going with metered power options, to get you some additional flexibility and some cost savings.

    - Compare apples-to-apples, of course if you're looking for a facility that is converted office space with thrown together used gear put together by a guy who has never done it before you're going to be less than $1k a cab, so why compare $1k a cab in a proper facility to what you can just throw together?

    Note: Don't forget maintenance costs. Those batteries need changing, belts need changing, generator needs testing and repairs, etc. You don't just need the parts, you need the staff to make the repairs on a moments notice.
    Thanks for the perspective there. The reason I'm asking in this thread in the first place is because of many of these considerations, as obviously, never having done this before, if the time came to build out our own space, there would be a lot of hard work, lessons learned the hard way, and costs not anticipated.

    If someone came to me and said "oh, don't worry, by the time you look to get to be X big, you can probably qualify for 25-50% reduced pricing anyway, especially if you're willing to locate in a facility that's only 'good enough' instead of beautiful", then that would be all the encouragement I would need to not consider doing this all from scratch myself when I get to be X big. Since I've never priced out anything larger than 1-2 cabinets before, I have no idea if that's a realistic thought process or not, hence the reason for this thread.
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  10. #10
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    I'm not sure where you're getting your numbers, but power here in phoenix is NOT 6 cents / kwh. I was paying 15 cents / kwh at Chandlers 365Main before I moved out and that was about the cheapest I could find.

    You seem to be mentioning phoenix quite often. Why not go talk to Ryan King over at IO on 48th st? They have tons of space in Phase I (thousands of sq feet still open) and should open up Phase II within 6 months. I was able to get IO down to about ~$17-20/sq foot.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by intrikrakin View Post
    I'm not sure where you're getting your numbers, but power here in phoenix is NOT 6 cents / kwh. I was paying 15 cents / kwh at Chandlers 365Main before I moved out and that was about the cheapest I could find.

    You seem to be mentioning phoenix quite often. Why not go talk to Ryan King over at IO on 48th st? They have tons of space in Phase I (thousands of sq feet still open) and should open up Phase II within 6 months. I was able to get IO down to about ~$17-20/sq foot.
    Keep in mind per KWH pricing will vary based upon demand load and alot of other factors there is not a 'flat' price per kwh for any market. There are wide variations from residential to commercial, and even wide variations within those commercial and residential plans.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanD View Post
    Keep in mind per KWH pricing will vary based upon demand load and alot of other factors there is not a 'flat' price per kwh for any market. There are wide variations from residential to commercial, and even wide variations within those commercial and residential plans.
    what ?
    Why would you think I'm talking about residential power pricing when we are in the colocation forum and I specifically mention another colo facility that is here in the phoenix metro?

    15 cents / kwh is a steal here in phoenix for colo power. 365Main which is now owned by Digital Realty Trust upped the power pricing in that facility to 28 cents per kwh during my control renewal so it goes to show you how cheap I was already getting power for this market.

    IO and PhoenixNAP both had 20+ cents / kwh, even when talking 500sq foot cage. So unless you want your own 5000sq foot pod, you're not getting 6 cents /kwh no matter who you are (at least in phoenix)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by intrikrakin View Post
    what ?
    Why would you think I'm talking about residential power pricing when we are in the colocation forum and I specifically mention another colo facility that is here in the phoenix metro?

    15 cents / kwh is a steal here in phoenix for colo power. 365Main which is now owned by Digital Realty Trust upped the power pricing in that facility to 28 cents per kwh during my control renewal so it goes to show you how cheap I was already getting power for this market.

    IO and PhoenixNAP both had 20+ cents / kwh, even when talking 500sq foot cage. So unless you want your own 5000sq foot pod, you're not getting 6 cents /kwh no matter who you are (at least in phoenix)
    Is that the utility rate? In most states it is illegal to mark up utility power rates unless you are licensed to broker/deal with power. Now that kw/H rate might be utility + CFF? (common facility fee/cooling factor/add-on)

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by intrikrakin View Post
    I'm not sure where you're getting your numbers, but power here in phoenix is NOT 6 cents / kwh. I was paying 15 cents / kwh at Chandlers 365Main before I moved out and that was about the cheapest I could find.

    You seem to be mentioning phoenix quite often. Why not go talk to Ryan King over at IO on 48th st? They have tons of space in Phase I (thousands of sq feet still open) and should open up Phase II within 6 months. I was able to get IO down to about ~$17-20/sq foot.
    There's more than one electric company in Phoenix, and more than one electric rate. Making an assumption of flat usage curve 24/7/365, and a sufficient level of usage to qualify for commercial rates, with SRP (one of two electric companies in the area), you run all the numbers and it's in the 6 cent range.

    Now if you're charged for power by a facility, 15 cents makes sense, because they have to use power to cool your usage. So if you use 1kw and they have to use another kw removing your heat, that's a 12 cent cost to them, not 6. And if your usage curve isn't totally flat, it might be higher still.

    But if you're buying direct from the electric company in Phoenix, and using enough power to qualify for commercial rates, 15 cents is a rip off.

    I talk about Phoenix a lot because I host servers there and therefore know more about that market than some others. I'm in PNAP because it's the only reasonably priced DC I could find that had HE.net on-net without a cross connect fee, which makes it more cost effective than any other DC for me. There's also some other providers on net there that we plan to take on soon, which again, with no cross connect and no backhaul costs, is a big plus. Then of course, I have some business contacts in Phoenix, so as I grow to need it, there's opportunities to pick up employees, and the general cost of living there is quite cheap as well.

    Others in threads in here have said paying for backhaul makes sense once you've got a lot of racks, if you can save money on power, which is what got me to thinking about all this in the first place. They said sure $3k / mo for backhaul may sound expensive, but if you've got 20 racks that cost $2k each at one facility, vs $1k each at another, the backhaul looks really cheap. And then out of personal curiosity I looked into some other areas regarding electric rates in Phoenix, cost of space, labor, etc.

    I do appreciate all the information and perspective from everyone thus far.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by funkywizard View Post
    There's more than one electric company in Phoenix, and more than one electric rate. Making an assumption of flat usage curve 24/7/365, and a sufficient level of usage to qualify for commercial rates, with SRP (one of two electric companies in the area), you run all the numbers and it's in the 6 cent range.

    Now if you're charged for power by a facility, 15 cents makes sense, because they have to use power to cool your usage. So if you use 1kw and they have to use another kw removing your heat, that's a 12 cent cost to them, not 6. And if your usage curve isn't totally flat, it might be higher still.

    But if you're buying direct from the electric company in Phoenix, and using enough power to qualify for commercial rates, 15 cents is a rip off.

    I talk about Phoenix a lot because I host servers there and therefore know more about that market than some others. I'm in PNAP because it's the only reasonably priced DC I could find that had HE.net on-net without a cross connect fee, which makes it more cost effective than any other DC for me. There's also some other providers on net there that we plan to take on soon, which again, with no cross connect and no backhaul costs, is a big plus. Then of course, I have some business contacts in Phoenix, so as I grow to need it, there's opportunities to pick up employees, and the general cost of living there is quite cheap as well.

    Others in threads in here have said paying for backhaul makes sense once you've got a lot of racks, if you can save money on power, which is what got me to thinking about all this in the first place. They said sure $3k / mo for backhaul may sound expensive, but if you've got 20 racks that cost $2k each at one facility, vs $1k each at another, the backhaul looks really cheap. And then out of personal curiosity I looked into some other areas regarding electric rates in Phoenix, cost of space, labor, etc.

    I do appreciate all the information and perspective from everyone thus far.
    You really have no idea about electricity do you and costs? You do realize that your "rate" is based off a 'commit', electric companies don't oversubscribe your power allocations. your "rate" is based off of your commit + taxes + PENALTIES, for not utilizing your commit. Yes they "fine" you for not using the power you have going to your facility. So one facility might have a .06/kW rate and another .1/kW due to whatever reasons that you have no control over. And lets not forget PUE, Most facilities run a horrible PUE so it will COST you 50-100% of the power you use for your servers you will use the same amount of power to cool your equipment. Which is normally done as a % based on the power you consume, if buying from a facility, this known as a CFF or cooling factor on metered power. .06kw/H is a pipe dream for power rates in the "best" months. Power rates go up and down based on the time of the year, it is not a constant.

    Power is not a curve, its a pretty constant rate, its not like bandwidth you plug a server in its going to pretty much consume the same amount of power 24/7/365.

    a 100-300/month cross connect fee when your already paying 15-2k/month for 15-20 cabinets isn't going to make a difference to someone. The only time it would make a difference is if you have multiple/handful/dozens of xconnects. Is your goal to absolutely create/goto/deal with the cheapest thing you can find?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Spudstr View Post
    Is that the utility rate? In most states it is illegal to mark up utility power rates unless you are licensed to broker/deal with power. Now that kw/H rate might be utility + CFF? (common facility fee/cooling factor/add-on)
    Yeah this is how places get around this. You can't charge more "for power", but you can charge the utility rate plus a "facilities charge" that *just so happens* to be a percentage of the utility rate. 6 of one and half a dozen of the other.

    In any case, if you're talking the price of power charged by a facility, 15 cents is a good deal. A 20a circuit, run at 14a average usage, at 0.85 power factor, 120v, gets you 1428 watts / hour, or 1028KWH / 30 days. At $260 for a circuit, that puts you at 25 cents / KWH. 14a average is a pretty aggressive usage level for a 20a circuit all told.

    So *if* you assume that there are absolutely no associated costs with running your own datacenter (just power), and you assume you have a pretty crap PUE of 2.0, and 6 cents / kwh from the utility, your effective cost of power is 12 cents, or half the rate you'd pay at $260 per 20a circuit.

    Now of course, you do have to pay a colo facility for rackspace as well, so for an $1000 40a rack (just for arguments sake since most of the quotes I've seen have been at or slightly above that price), that comes out to 48 cents / KWH, if you assumed the only cost of running a datacenter was power, vs 12 cents if you got the power yourself from the utility at a PUE of 2.0.

    So yeah, totally unrealistic comparison, insofar as:

    1) obviously it costs money to run a facility other than power
    2) a PUE of 2.0 is pretty bad. As others have said in threads recently, they've easily gotten 1.6 using a rather ordinary configuration with a little planning.

    Now, the above comparison is useful insofar as, you can figure out how much you can save on the power side of things, so that if you know what your overhead costs are, you know how much power you need to be buying before it makes sense to consider it.

    If you can assume that a 40a rack costs $250 / mo in utility power at 2.0 PUE, 14a average 20a circuit utilization, 6 cents / kwh average utility pricing, and 0.85 power factor, then you see that the extra $750 goes towards paying all your associated costs.

    So if you know that all your associated costs would be $15k / mo (building, staff, backhaul, taxes, maintenance), and you know that you'd have to invest, just pulling a number out of thin air, $120k to get your space ready (racks, generators, ups, cooling, and installation), and you amortize that investment over 2 years (making that cost $6k / mo), then you'd have to be saving at least $21k / mo in rackspace / power costs before it even started to make sense to think about it.

    Now, knowing that $21k figure, and the $750 "savings" per rack, you're looking at needing 28 racks before you should even consider it. Obviously you'd have to get a more solid idea of the running / fixed costs, and a more solid idea of the installation costs, before you even did the math on it.

    From the above example, assuming those were real numbers and not made up ones, you'd be foolish to not at least try to negotiate a lower price if you were doing 20 racks, and it would start to look pretty compelling once you were doing 50 racks and looking to expand to 100 racks.

    On the other hand, if the cost of wholesale colo were 25% cheaper than the cost for single rack colo, then the numbers above start to inflate pretty greatly, as your "savings" that you can allocate to fixed DC operating costs drops by 1/3 to $500 / rack, requiring 1.5 times as many racks to make sense. And if somehow you managed to get a 50% cheaper price, then your "savings" per rack would be cut by 2/3 in the "run your own datacenter" model, making the necessary number of racks to even consider the thing 3 times as many.

    As you can see, the above calculations are kind of important. Saving $15k / mo on a 50 rack facility, or saving $45k / mo on a 100 rack facility, is something worth at least considering. Saving $15k / mo on a 200 rack facility, not so much.

    And sure, it all depends on the business case. If you are an engineering firm that needs a few racks of servers, you should focus on engineering, not servers. If your company runs a website that happens to need a few racks of servers, you should probably focus on your website, not your servers.

    On the other hand, if you're a hosting company whose whole business is servers, then it makes more sense to at least look at these kinds of concerns.
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  17. #17
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    That 15k/mo magic number only works because of their economy of scale, your costs per unit are going to increase significantly as you scale down.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Spudstr View Post
    You really have no idea about electricity do you and costs? You do realize that your "rate" is based off a 'commit', electric companies don't oversubscribe your power allocations. your "rate" is based off of your commit + taxes + PENALTIES, for not utilizing your commit. Yes they "fine" you for not using the power you have going to your facility. So one facility might have a .06/kW rate and another .1/kW due to whatever reasons that you have no control over. And lets not forget PUE, Most facilities run a horrible PUE so it will COST you 50-100% of the power you use for your servers you will use the same amount of power to cool your equipment. Which is normally done as a % based on the power you consume, if buying from a facility, this known as a CFF or cooling factor on metered power. .06kw/H is a pipe dream for power rates in the "best" months. Power rates go up and down based on the time of the year, it is not a constant.

    Power is not a curve, its a pretty constant rate, its not like bandwidth you plug a server in its going to pretty much consume the same amount of power 24/7/365.

    a 100-300/month cross connect fee when your already paying 15-2k/month for 15-20 cabinets isn't going to make a difference to someone. The only time it would make a difference is if you have multiple/handful/dozens of xconnects. Is your goal to absolutely create/goto/deal with the cheapest thing you can find?
    Yes I understand that. In my calculations, I assume a PUE of 2.0, which is terrible. I figure that makes up a bit for assuming your power use curve is flatter than it probably will be. If you get to a PUE 1.5, that cuts off 25% of your power use. If your power curve is such that it boosts your power costs by 25% vs the ideal, then you break even on my assumptions.

    A datacenter obviously won't have a totally flat curve because it obviously needs more power in the summer than winter, and more during the day than at night, and power is more expensive during those periods. But the power use curve will be flatter than for most other businesses, because the servers run 24/7. I've run all the numbers based on all the different fees and charges, and it comes out to roughly 6 cents in that area. The "demand charge" is a pretty small part of the total cost in Phoenix, though peak vs off peak prices are certainly worth considering.

    FWIW, 6 cents was the average utility price for a commercial provider if they do that power use 24/7/365. You said power isn't a curve like bandwidth, it's fixed. Great, proves my point. Off peak in Phoenix is well under 6 cents. And I wasn't assuming that was your effective cost. I was assuming double that price because of PUE.

    As to your larger question, why do I care? I just do. I enjoy optimizing for these kinds of things. One time I was at a concert and my girlfriend got really mad at me because I was writing down the costs of server parts on a napkin to figure out what configuration of parts would allow for the cheapest per gb cost on a file server. So what makes more sense for me to do as a job? Working out the best way to save costs on servers, bandwidth, and colo, something I do for fun in my spare time, or what I dunno, doing art, something I couldn't care less about?

    I feel compelled to find the most optimal solutions to problems like this. For example, just for fun, I'll work out which hard drive has the best combination of reliability, price, i/o/s in benchmarks, and storage space, when considered against the requirements of your application in terms of performance, storage space, and redundancy. The end result is building a server that better meets your needs at a lower price. Not because I'm cheap, but because I enjoy it.

    The same thing comes in with colo. What are all the associated costs and considerations? Given the necessary quality requirements of the facility, performance requirements of the bandwidth available at a given location, location preferences for labor, tax, performance, or other reasons, cost of power, space, cost of cross connects, available carriers at a given facility, cost of backhaul if applicable, and all of the other related considerations, yes, I do want to make the best decision possible, and to know what option is the best at 1 server, 1 rack, 10 racks, or 100 racks, or 100mbps, 10gbps, or 100gbps. To make the best decision, you need all of the relevant information.

    The best decision for me at a couple racks, with the b/w use I have, with the carriers I want to use, and all my other related requirements at my current size, is PNAP, hands down. The best decision for me at 10 racks or 50 racks, I don't have the information I need to know that answer, and hence my question in this thread "can you typically get better pricing with more than a few racks?"

    Hope that helps you understand my motivations here.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by funkywizard View Post
    Yeah this is how places get around this. You can't charge more "for power", but you can charge the utility rate plus a "facilities charge" that *just so happens* to be a percentage of the utility rate. 6 of one and half a dozen of the other.

    In any case, if you're talking the price of power charged by a facility, 15 cents is a good deal. A 20a circuit, run at 14a average usage, at 0.85 power factor, 120v, gets you 1428 watts / hour, or 1028KWH / 30 days. At $260 for a circuit, that puts you at 25 cents / KWH. 14a average is a pretty aggressive usage level for a 20a circuit all told.
    Lets do some basic math first? 14A @ 120v = 1680 or 1.68kW this is your critical load, not sure where you are getting .85 power factors? from if your drawing 14A on a 20A your drawing 14A.

    Quote Originally Posted by funkywizard View Post

    So *if* you assume that there are absolutely no associated costs with running your own datacenter (just power), and you assume you have a pretty crap PUE of 2.0, and 6 cents / kwh from the utility, your effective cost of power is 12 cents, or half the rate you'd pay at $260 per 20a circuit.
    please get off this .06/kW this will only happen for maybe? 1 month out of the year.

    Quote Originally Posted by funkywizard View Post

    Now of course, you do have to pay a colo facility for rackspace as well, so for an $1000 40a rack (just for arguments sake since most of the quotes I've seen have been at or slightly above that price), that comes out to 48 cents / KWH, if you assumed the only cost of running a datacenter was power, vs 12 cents if you got the power yourself from the utility at a PUE of 2.0.
    If you ever learn to go wholesale and pay for critical commit level, your price drops greatly. And then pay a metered power on top of that... and i'm sure the facility has a much better PUE than what you can shoe box together.

    Quote Originally Posted by funkywizard View Post
    So yeah, totally unrealistic comparison, insofar as:

    1) obviously it costs money to run a facility other than power
    2) a PUE of 2.0 is pretty bad. As others have said in threads recently, they've easily gotten 1.6 using a rather ordinary configuration with a little planning.
    Your not going to get a PUE better than 2.0 based on your budget below... good luck with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by funkywizard View Post

    Now, the above comparison is useful insofar as, you can figure out how much you can save on the power side of things, so that if you know what your overhead costs are, you know how much power you need to be buying before it makes sense to consider it.

    If you can assume that a 40a rack costs $250 / mo in utility power at 2.0 PUE, 14a average 20a circuit utilization, 6 cents / kwh average utility pricing, and 0.85 power factor, then you see that the extra $750 goes towards paying all your associated costs.

    So if you know that all your associated costs would be $15k / mo (building, staff, backhaul, taxes, maintenance), and you know that you'd have to invest, just pulling a number out of thin air, $120k to get your space ready (racks, generators, ups, cooling, and installation), and you amortize that investment over 2 years (making that cost $6k / mo), then you'd have to be saving at least $21k / mo in rackspace / power costs before it even started to make sense to think about it.
    15k/Month for maybe your shell/building. I don't see how you expect to pay a staff a salary based on 15k/month. Let alone building insurance and other operational costs.


    Quote Originally Posted by funkywizard View Post

    Now, knowing that $21k figure, and the $750 "savings" per rack, you're looking at needing 28 racks before you should even consider it. Obviously you'd have to get a more solid idea of the running / fixed costs, and a more solid idea of the installation costs, before you even did the math on it.

    From the above example, assuming those were real numbers and not made up ones, you'd be foolish to not at least try to negotiate a lower price if you were doing 20 racks, and it would start to look pretty compelling once you were doing 50 racks and looking to expand to 100 racks.

    On the other hand, if the cost of wholesale colo were 25% cheaper than the cost for single rack colo, then the numbers above start to inflate pretty greatly, as your "savings" that you can allocate to fixed DC operating costs drops by 1/3 to $500 / rack, requiring 1.5 times as many racks to make sense. And if somehow you managed to get a 50% cheaper price, then your "savings" per rack would be cut by 2/3 in the "run your own datacenter" model, making the necessary number of racks to even consider the thing 3 times as many.

    As you can see, the above calculations are kind of important. Saving $15k / mo on a 50 rack facility, or saving $45k / mo on a 100 rack facility, is something worth at least considering. Saving $15k / mo on a 200 rack facility, not so much.

    And sure, it all depends on the business case. If you are an engineering firm that needs a few racks of servers, you should focus on engineering, not servers. If your company runs a website that happens to need a few racks of servers, you should probably focus on your website, not your servers.

    On the other hand, if you're a hosting company whose whole business is servers, then it makes more sense to at least look at these kinds of concerns.
    Please go build this magical datacenter of yours. You will be bankrupt with in months based on your budget.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by funkywizard View Post
    Yes I understand that. In my calculations, I assume a PUE of 2.0, which is terrible. I figure that makes up a bit for assuming your power use curve is flatter than it probably will be. If you get to a PUE 1.5, that cuts off 25% of your power use. If your power curve is such that it boosts your power costs by 25% vs the ideal, then you break even on my assumptions.

    A datacenter obviously won't have a totally flat curve because it obviously needs more power in the summer than winter, and more during the day than at night, and power is more expensive during those periods. But the power use curve will be flatter than for most other businesses, because the servers run 24/7. I've run all the numbers based on all the different fees and charges, and it comes out to roughly 6 cents in that area. The "demand charge" is a pretty small part of the total cost in Phoenix, though peak vs off peak prices are certainly worth considering.

    FWIW, 6 cents was the average utility price for a commercial provider if they do that power use 24/7/365. You said power isn't a curve like bandwidth, it's fixed. Great, proves my point. Off peak in Phoenix is well under 6 cents. And I wasn't assuming that was your effective cost. I was assuming double that price because of PUE.

    As to your larger question, why do I care? I just do. I enjoy optimizing for these kinds of things. One time I was at a concert and my girlfriend got really mad at me because I was writing down the costs of server parts on a napkin to figure out what configuration of parts would allow for the cheapest per gb cost on a file server. So what makes more sense for me to do as a job? Working out the best way to save costs on servers, bandwidth, and colo, something I do for fun in my spare time, or what I dunno, doing art, something I couldn't care less about?

    I feel compelled to find the most optimal solutions to problems like this. For example, just for fun, I'll work out which hard drive has the best combination of reliability, price, i/o/s in benchmarks, and storage space, when considered against the requirements of your application in terms of performance, storage space, and redundancy. The end result is building a server that better meets your needs at a lower price. Not because I'm cheap, but because I enjoy it.

    The same thing comes in with colo. What are all the associated costs and considerations? Given the necessary quality requirements of the facility, performance requirements of the bandwidth available at a given location, location preferences for labor, tax, performance, or other reasons, cost of power, space, cost of cross connects, available carriers at a given facility, cost of backhaul if applicable, and all of the other related considerations, yes, I do want to make the best decision possible, and to know what option is the best at 1 server, 1 rack, 10 racks, or 100 racks, or 100mbps, 10gbps, or 100gbps. To make the best decision, you need all of the relevant information.

    The best decision for me at a couple racks, with the b/w use I have, with the carriers I want to use, and all my other related requirements at my current size, is PNAP, hands down. The best decision for me at 10 racks or 50 racks, I don't have the information I need to know that answer, and hence my question in this thread "can you typically get better pricing with more than a few racks?"

    Hope that helps you understand my motivations here.
    Listen, its pretty obvious you have no idea what you are doing or getting into, you seem to becoming a spreadsheet king that has nothing better to do than speculate and have not been around any sort of datacenter facility enough for any period of time to even remotely come close to figuring out what you need to make this thing operate. You are missing lots of pretty important costs in your calculations. Why don't you go get a job at a datacenter as a tech and learn operations and then see what really happens behind the scenes.

    While I have your attention, APS seems to be the local PHX power company? Here is a 400kW+ price sheet for a business.

    http://www.aps.com/main/services/bus...ePlans_13.html
    and here are the tarifs
    http://www.aps.com/_files/rates/e-32L.pdf

    There is NO WAY your power is .06/kW on average.


    Please for the love of god, someone who actually operates a facility in PHX please enlighten him on some actual facts.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Spudstr View Post
    Lets do some basic math first? 14A @ 120v = 1680 or 1.68kW this is your critical load, not sure where you are getting .85 power factors? from if your drawing 14A on a 20A your drawing 14A.
    I'm surprised you haven't heard of power factor.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_factor

    KW != KVA. The raritan PDU's I had in the UK can tell you watts, amps, volts, KVA, and power factor. The power factor on my gear was around 0.85, but of course this can vary depending what equipment you're using. Colo charges by the amp, the power company charges by the kilowatt hour.

    please get off this .06/kW this will only happen for maybe? 1 month out of the year.
    Have you looked up the power rates for the market I've mentioned, and the power company I've mentioned? No, you haven't. There's lots of cities in the US, they don't all charge the same for power. Phoenix is a great option because power is cheap, labor is cheap, and real estate is cheap; I'm not claiming Los Angeles or Atlanta or New York has 6 cent power, that would be ridiculous.

    http://www.srpnet.com/prices/pdfx/E-61plan0111.pdf

    Off peak winter is 4 cents, july / august in the middle of the day is 16 cents, with other times of day and year somewhere in between. I'd already done the math in another thread if you want to find it, but long story short, with a 100% flat power usage level, you're at 6-7 cents for power, if you use 300k KWH / month.

    If you ever learn to go wholesale and pay for critical commit level, your price drops greatly. And then pay a metered power on top of that... and i'm sure the facility has a much better PUE than what you can shoe box together.

    Your not going to get a PUE better than 2.0 based on your budget below... good luck with that.
    Finally some information I can use. My reason for this thread was not to say "gee I should build a datacenter". The point of this thread was "when you start using more rack space, does the price go down much?" If the answer is yes, then I don't have any reason to look into the actual costs of running a datacenter. If the answer is no, then it makes sense to at least explore the option.

    15k/Month for maybe your shell/building. I don't see how you expect to pay a staff a salary based on 15k/month. Let alone building insurance and other operational costs.

    Please go build this magical datacenter of yours. You will be bankrupt with in months based on your budget.
    Industrial / warehouse / office space in Phoenix is going for around 50 cents / sqft, with the first 2 months thrown in for free pretty often on a 2 year lease. It's a buyers market. If the breakeven point on running your own facility is 20 racks, then a building that can handle 100 racks won't be a lot of square footage.

    As to staffing, what staffing do I need other than the staff I would need anyway? If I have 100 racks of gear, one would think I would already need 24/7 support staff whether I own a datacenter or not. So I need someone maintaining the datacenter equipment, and I need security staff presumably.

    $15k was a number out of thin air anyway, my point as I said wasn't "help me compare the cost of a datacenter vs colocation", the point was "hey, does colo get cheaper if you use more of it?" If the answer is no, colo doesn't get cheaper if you use more of it, *then* I'll look and see what the real costs are for all these items. If "wholesale" rates kick in at 100 racks, and only drops 10%, then I should look into the other costs involved of running a DC to see if it makes sense at that level. If "wholesale" rates kick in at 20 racks and drop the price 25%, then why on earth would I bother running my own DC?

    Thats the question I'm trying to get answered. No point putting the cart before the horse.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by funkywizard View Post
    I'm surprised you haven't heard of power factor.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_factor

    KW != KVA. The raritan PDU's I had in the UK can tell you watts, amps, volts, KVA, and power factor. The power factor on my gear was around 0.85, but of course this can vary depending what equipment you're using. Colo charges by the amp, the power company charges by the kilowatt hour.



    Have you looked up the power rates for the market I've mentioned, and the power company I've mentioned? No, you haven't. There's lots of cities in the US, they don't all charge the same for power. Phoenix is a great option because power is cheap, labor is cheap, and real estate is cheap; I'm not claiming Los Angeles or Atlanta or New York has 6 cent power, that would be ridiculous.

    http://www.srpnet.com/prices/pdfx/E-61plan0111.pdf

    Off peak winter is 4 cents, july / august in the middle of the day is 16 cents, with other times of day and year somewhere in between. I'd already done the math in another thread if you want to find it, but long story short, with a 100% flat power usage level, you're at 6-7 cents for power, if you use 300k KWH / month.



    Finally some information I can use. My reason for this thread was not to say "gee I should build a datacenter". The point of this thread was "when you start using more rack space, does the price go down much?" If the answer is yes, then I don't have any reason to look into the actual costs of running a datacenter. If the answer is no, then it makes sense to at least explore the option.



    Industrial / warehouse / office space in Phoenix is going for around 50 cents / sqft, with the first 2 months thrown in for free pretty often on a 2 year lease. It's a buyers market. If the breakeven point on running your own facility is 20 racks, then a building that can handle 100 racks won't be a lot of square footage.

    As to staffing, what staffing do I need other than the staff I would need anyway? If I have 100 racks of gear, one would think I would already need 24/7 support staff whether I own a datacenter or not. So I need someone maintaining the datacenter equipment, and I need security staff presumably.

    $15k was a number out of thin air anyway, my point as I said wasn't "help me compare the cost of a datacenter vs colocation", the point was "hey, does colo get cheaper if you use more of it?" If the answer is no, colo doesn't get cheaper if you use more of it, *then* I'll look and see what the real costs are for all these items. If "wholesale" rates kick in at 100 racks, and only drops 10%, then I should look into the other costs involved of running a DC to see if it makes sense at that level. If "wholesale" rates kick in at 20 racks and drop the price 25%, then why on earth would I bother running my own DC?

    Thats the question I'm trying to get answered. No point putting the cart before the horse.
    I am going to ignore what you posted for the most part since you seem to have a thick skull. And go right to the point of your main question.

    When does it make sense to build something? When you have the business and experience sustain yourself and not spend time on WHT asking questions on how to build a datacenter. Thats when.



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  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Spudstr View Post
    I am going to ignore what you posted for the most part since you seem to have a thick skull. And go right to the point of your main question.

    When does it make sense to build something? When you have the business and experience sustain yourself and not spend time on WHT asking questions on how to build a datacenter. Thats when.



    Crawl... Walk.. Run. Not Crawl -> Ludicrous speed.
    If you read any of my posts you'd see my main question (which you would notice as "this is my main question" preceeding it), is "does colo get cheaper once you need 5, 10, or 20 racks? If the answer is yes, then no, I don't care about building anything, would be more than happy to keep buying colo. If the answer is no, it doesn't get cheaper in volume, then maybe I would want to look into it.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by funkywizard View Post
    If the answer is no, it doesn't get cheaper in volume, then maybe I would want to look into it.
    You forgot one important aspect, capital. Obviously investing capital in building your own datacenter will hurt investment on other aspects of your business. The true questions i would ask myself is:

    1.
    Would investing in my own datacenter save me enough, to compensate for the loss that i incurr by not investing that capital in my core business?

    2.
    Do i have enough knowledge and experience to run a datacenter?

    3.
    Is it worth the risk?
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by funkywizard View Post
    If you read any of my posts you'd see my main question (which you would notice as "this is my main question" preceeding it), is "does colo get cheaper once you need 5, 10, or 20 racks? If the answer is yes, then no, I don't care about building anything, would be more than happy to keep buying colo. If the answer is no, it doesn't get cheaper in volume, then maybe I would want to look into it.
    yes, colo gets cheaper at 5, 10, and 20 racks (per rack) however obviously your total costs go up.

    Without getting back into the power argument (which I kept trying to tell you in a nicer way than others on here you really don't know what you're talking about) there is only 1 data center in Phoenix metro on SRP (which is 365Main, which is the data center I was in). All the other facilities in Scottsdale and Phoenix are on APS.

    As I mentioned, unless you need something like 10,000 sq feet or more it makes no sense to think about your own building. Just hit up IO if you need large commits of space, they have tons of room.

  26. #26
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    I guess your question was answered by Karl Zimmerman:

    Compare apples-to-apples, of course if you're looking for a facility that is converted office space with thrown together used gear put together by a guy who has never done it before you're going to be less than $1k a cab, so why compare $1k a cab in a proper facility to what you can just throw together?
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  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by swiftnoc View Post
    You forgot one important aspect, capital. Obviously investing capital in building your own datacenter will hurt investment on other aspects of your business. The true questions i would ask myself is:

    1.
    Would investing in my own datacenter save me enough, to compensate for the loss that i incurr by not investing that capital in my core business?

    2.
    Do i have enough knowledge and experience to run a datacenter?

    3.
    Is it worth the risk?
    Very true. But at least I would know it's something to investigate, vs not bother with at all.

    Thanks everyone for their replies. I guess the answer to my original question is "maybe / probably" insofar as does the cost per rack go down as you rent more of them. Would have hoped for a more solid indication of the amount it goes down, but I'll take what I can get.
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  28. #28
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    PhoenixNAP is on SRP - in fact it was one of our design requirements. SRP is the unregulated non profit utility and great to work with.

    Lets talk a little math skip below if you don’t care about how I figured out the cost per cab:

    ***********START OF MATH********

    A smaller facility would be on the E-36 pricing plan. If you have your own dedicated feeds from the power station (notice the work dedicated) and use at least 300,000 KWH a month for 3 months you qualify for E-63 (what we are on).

    Let me pull an old E-36 bill and go through the charges there. (pricing comes from http://www.srpnet.com/prices/pdfx/BusE36May10.pdf)I am going to use summer charges (not summer peak which is MUCH more).

    As an example, lets assume a facility is using 200KW flat for the month.
    Monthly Service Charge: $25
    Demand (kW) Charge : ($4.21 * 250 = $1052) (its 250 because you will never flatline your power).
    Energy (kWh) Charge: (350kWh @ .0911 + 180kWh @ .0908 + 155kWh @ .0803 + 143315kWh @ .0589 = $8441.25
    Phoenix City Tax (2.7% * 9518.25 = 256.99)
    County and State Tax 7.3% 9518.25 = 694.83)
    Total = ~10470.07 for 200KW of power (total facility).

    PUE of 2.0 = utilized power of 100KW = 28cabs @ 3.5KW of utilized power (80% of 20x20 amp 120v circuits @ .9 PF) = $373 a cab for the base power bill.

    Moving on - assuming the same 28 cabinets @ 24sqft a cabinet doubled for M&E space - you need 1344sqft of just datacenter. You will need extra space for storage (extra filters etc) but lets say you just lay it on the datacenter floor instead of having special space for it.
    Floor space costs (leased) are about $16/sqft/year * 1344 = 1792$/month = 64$/rack.
    If we assume 350k (this is a low number for an N datacenter) in TI needed to turn it into a datacenter(even with used gear the install costs can be huge, one of our main distribution panels (we have 8 in the facility at build out) costs 425k to install it) spread over 7 years = $148.80/rack.

    So we have:
    $378 for power
    $64 for floor space
    $148.80 for equipment
    $590/month - however we still do not have: staff/maintenance/networking.

    The truth is you would already have some staff, however they are going to be needed to do additional work they would not already do. That time spent has a cost. Lets say you have a MINIMUM staff of 6 people who are each making $35k/year with a 1.3 multiplier for benefits etc. Your staffing would cost $273k/year, if 10% of their time was taken up by datacenter stuff you by not having your own datacenter you would effectively get a free .6 of an employee. Thus the cost of 10% of each of their time is 2.275k/month or $81/cabinet.

    As an aside here, people under estimate the amount of staff a datacenter takes to run. To give you an idea of what it takes to run a datacenter PNAP has: 5 full time facility people (4 electricians) and we are going to hire another here shortly; 3 Full time cabling staff (currently having to work OT); 4 full time janitors; 12 full time security people. That’s 24 people without the NOC staff responding to tickets.

    Networking - If you assume the building ALREADY has fiber to it (not that many do so this is a BIG assumption) 3k a month is a pretty good number for back-haul - / 28 cabinets = $107/cabinet.
    Cost of Money - if you made a $350k investment you could have made 5% just by putting it into an investment account, thus you have to take into consideration the cost of money. It works out to be about $50/rack. If you took a loan on the money, double that. Lets assume you have the cash though.

    Maintenance
    Remember you now need to replace batteries, filters, belts, condensate pumps, lights, breakers, compressors, and more. Let’s assume $2000 a month. Or $71/cabinet.

    So final totals are:
    $378 for power
    $64 for floor space
    $148.80 for equipment
    $81/staff
    $107/Networking
    $50/Cost of Money
    $71/cabinet.
    Total: $799/cabinet COSTS.

    ****************END OF MATH **************

    Now, let’s look at what you give up:
    You have to build a datacenter for a certain size, if you build it too small, you need to build a second facility to expand. If you build it too big, you spend significantly more capital/cost of capital/rent.
    You just spent $350k improving someone else’s building. When your contract is up, they are now leasing you datacenter space – not “gross office”.

    You are now responsible for every little hiccup. When you have to run the generators – you pay for the fuel. (to give you an idea, each one of the PNAP gens cost about $600/hour to run.)

    And the BIGGEST PROBLEM – You just moved out of a world class facility, to an N facility (not even N+1) all to save a whopping $100/month. If you only occupy 20 of the 28 cabinets, the only thing you save is the cost of the power. With just 8 cabinets empty, you are now paying almost $1000 per cabinet for an N facility which would work out to be MORE than you would pay to colo.

    Running your own datacenter will save you money, but not until you are at 1.5-2MW.
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  29. #29
    Thanks for all the details Jordan. My original idea was "would anyone potentially offer a substantial discount? If yes, don't bother doing the rest of the math as it's not worth the time". I'm certainly happy to look at it the other way around, i.e. "Here's the math, which shows you probably shouldn't even consider it even at your current pricing". Much appreciated.
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  30. #30
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    5,627
    Quote Originally Posted by funkywizard View Post
    Thanks for all the details Jordan. My original idea was "would anyone potentially offer a substantial discount? If yes, don't bother doing the rest of the math as it's not worth the time". I'm certainly happy to look at it the other way around, i.e. "Here's the math, which shows you probably shouldn't even consider it even at your current pricing". Much appreciated.
    The short answer is, no, you aren't going to get a substantial discount at that level. There will be some, but not substantial.

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by RyanD View Post
    The short answer is, no, you aren't going to get a substantial discount at that level. There will be some, but not substantial.
    Yeah, that's what I've surmised from all the posts here thus far. Thanks
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