The E-Factor

Ahead of a new report on the UK market, I was having a conversation with an analyst group very recently. They seemed keen to know about our data centre capacity and locations.

My response was factual as you might expect, but I also explained to them, that in the modern world of data centre procurement, it’s all about energy – the E-Factor. And that’s because in the data centre talent competition, the intelligent buyer looks beyond size and sale price in isolation.

Efficiency and energy are the biggest differentiators. That means efficiency, long-term sustainability, carbon reduction commitments, buying and managing energy (green, brown and blue) smartly. All of these things are critical because they have such a huge impact on the total cost of ownership (TCO).

And it’s TCO that should be the deciding factor when choosing a data centre campus and provider. Unfortunately, the TCO is not always easy for people to calculate, not least because some vendors are clouding the real issue with distracting and not always relevant detail.

The setup can also be complex. Perhaps a property manager owns the real estate asset and pays the business rates and rent. The IT manager worries about maintenance and security, and a facilities manager is managing the energy contract with the energy supplier(s). Oh, and someone else owns the telco routes. So who is responsible for efficiency?

While there is a lot of data centre capacity around, a lot of it is quite aged – particularly in the London market. And with in excess of 80MW available in London for example, it’s no surprise that this creates a pricing war.

As a result, it can be very difficult to understand which data centre option delivers the best value to you the customer. One thing is for sure – we will help you understand what your energy consumption and operating costs really are.

In terms of pounds, shillings and pence and also in carbon tons, we will provide the lowest TCO because our data centres are simply the most energy efficient. For most of our customers energy contributes 40-50% of their data centre operating cost, and that’s why we are focused on both the build and operation of extremely efficient and economical data centres and then procuring and managing the electricity smartly to ensure that the energy efficiencies are maximised and not lost in the energy supply contract.

So, when it comes to locations, capacity and pricing it’s important to remember that yes, you can probably find a cheaper rent elsewhere. But, when you take into account the total costs and sometimes ‘hidden’ add-ons including set up fees, power, carbon taxes, etc., our proposition gives you the lowest TCO by a long stretch.

Just compare one of our data centres with a legacy site. For every MW of IT demand we are saving on average 6,000 tons of carbon and over a £1 million in energy costs per year. That’s because they are modern, purpose-built from the ground up to be data centres and not IT infrastructure that’s been shoehorned into a busy piece of real estate. But this is not all, because we are committed to ongoing, defined and measurable energy efficiency improvements we have Climate Change Agreements (CCAs) for our data centre campuses.

The summer budget announced on 10/07/2015 removed the Climate Change Levy (CCL – a carbon tax) exemption from all green energy supply contracts from August 2015. This means that if you are contracted to buy green energy (we are committed to the green agenda) your bill will go up by 0.5p/kWh from next month, that is unless your data centre has a CCA. The CCA provides a 90% rebate on the CCL tax as well as a rebate from the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC – another carbon tax), together these rebates are worth more than 1.3p/kWh of electricity consumed, or more than 10% on your electricity bill.

The E- Factor is not just about efficiency, it is about energy too.

Steve Hall

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Crown Hosting Data Centres Limited is powered by Ark Data Centres, who design, construct, and operate the most efficient UK data centres. Our customers include UK publicly funded, mandated, regulated, and previously regulated organisations and charities.

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