Challenging the status quo for data centres

By Merri Mack
Monday, 01 March, 2010

Voice&Data interviewed Greg Boorer*, Founder and Managing Director of the state-of-the art data centre Canberra Data Centres, and found out that he is a passionate advocate of running a smart, green data centre for the benefit of his clients.

I was attracted to the data centre business because of the clear opportunity that exists to help customers overcome the traditional constraints and challenges they faced in their own or third-party data centres and to change the status quo.

Before CDC I had worked around the world and had seen some well-designed and well-run data centres and was shocked at the poor quality and poor efficiency of the facilities that I found in Australia.

The lack of quality and investment in facilities had provided customers with the wrong view that the high overall costs, inflexibility, technical and operational constraints, and gross power and cooling inefficiency were par for the course. I knew that this wasn’t the case so we built a next-generation data centre which actually delivers on the promise of modularity.

The just in time, or dynamic, delivery of power and cooling to meet each client’s requirements at any given time is the key ingredient to running an efficient data centre. This can only be achieved through true modularity whereby every client on the data centre floor has end-to-end dedicated power and cooling. Once that foundation stone is in place, high achieving trusted people combined with strict security, access, management and maintenance plans take care of the rest.

When designing the data centre, first and foremost the facility had to be not a little more efficient but a huge step forward in order for a new company, Canberra Data Centres, to attract blue-chip clients. For years, data centre capacity has been considered a mere commodity that was the same regardless of who provided it. In order to break this mindset, it was important to have a clear point of differentiation. CDC’s point of differentiation is the reduction of at least 50% in power consumption when compared with traditional data centre design.

First and foremost when selecting our infrastructure partners, we were searching for a standard solution, preferably end to end, from a single partner that could deliver an integrated solution incorporating UPS, power distribution, batteries, racks, cooling, installation, maintenance and local support. The end-to-end integrated model was important because I had seen too many examples of poor outcomes due to multiple vendors supplying different pieces of the puzzle with each piece not necessarily designed to work with the other pieces of the puzzle. Next, our infrastructure partner had to convince us of their commitment to ongoing excellence and next-generation design and their demonstrable investment in R&D. On all of the above, the clear winner was APC with its decentralised hot aisle containment pod solution that also incorporates the intelligence to provide monitoring and reporting capabilities on all environmental aspects of the data centre.

Our philosophy is simple, “If you always do what you have always done, then you will always get that you have always got!” Data centre customers have been unhappy for many years with the technical/operational constraints and gross inefficiencies of traditional data centres. I would encourage anyone interested in adding capacity to their data centre or server room deployments to think a little outside the box and consider new and innovative approaches to the most critical layer of infrastructure which underpins everything IT departments do - the data centre.

* After extensive experience working with IT companies globally while living in Germany for six years, Greg returned to live in Canberra. He recognised the business opportunity that a green, world-class data centre in Canberra might offer and after a six-month period of due diligence Greg, and a number of investors, founded Canberra Data Centres Pty Ltd where Greg has been the Managing Director since the company was founded. Today, Greg is considered a thought leader in next-generation data centre design and management.

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