Digital Realty Debuts POD Design Service

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Digital Realty Trust conducts heat load testing at one of its data centers. The company has launched a new service to design and build data centers for enterprise clients.

Digital Realty Trust conducts heat load testing at one of its data centers. The company has launched a new service to design and build data centers for enterprise clients.

Digital Realty Trust (DLR) today took the wraps off its service to design and build data centers for enterprise clients, called POD Architecture Services. This new offering will allow companies to license Digital Realty Trust’s data center designs and construction management expertise, and save money on procurement by leveraging DLR’s bulk purchasing power.

The new service, which we initially wrote about back in May, will be managed by Michael Manos, a former Microsoft data center executive who joined Digital Realty this spring. 

In moving beyond its historic role as a data center developer and landlord, Digital Realty will compete against tech titans like IBM and HP as well as many established data center design/build specialists. The company is entering the market at a time when many enterprises are focused on preserving capital, and have either postponed costly data center construction projects or opted to lease wholesale data center space. 

It remains to be seen whether the prospect of a faster, cheaper construction process will nudge these companies off the fence. Perhaps more importantly, Digital Realty is positioning itself to be a significant player in the design/build sector once the capital crunch eases and companies seek to meet pent-up demand for additional space.     

“These services fill a gap in the market between a pure do-it-yourself approach and leasing wholesale space from an outsourced provider such as Digital Realty Trust,” said Manos. “Many companies want to own their own data center, but they do not have the internal skill set and experience to successfully tackle a construction project with the scope and complexity of a major data center facility.”

Digital Realty has been a pioneer in building data centers faster and cheaper through the “industrialization” of data center design. The company, which operates 13 million square feet of data center space, has been able to reduce costs and streamline construction using standard components and repeatable design concepts and leveraging its buying power with suppliers. 

The company has refined its development process building more than 1.2 million square feet of space for its Turn-Key Datacenter program, which delivers finished raised-floor technical space for clients including Facebook, Savvis, IBM, EDS, CSC and Yahoo. 

“This is a natural extension of our business because it offers our expertise to a segment of the market that wants to own their datacenter but that needs an expert to help them build it,” said Chris Crosby, Senior Vice President at Digital Realty Trust. “They are looking for someone to take responsibility for the process of building and delivering the completed project.

“By using our POD Architecture Services, customers can utilize everything from our blueprints to our relationships with vendors – as well as the expertise that Mike Manos brings to the process,” Crosby added. “The savings in hard costs alone can total in the tens of millions of dollars.”

Features of Digital Realty Trust’s fee-based POD Architecture Services include:

  • The ability to license Digital Realty Trust’s Turn-Key Datacenter design package, including its proprietary Design Engineering Guidelines, schematics, one-lines, BOMs, project/site basis and airflow modeling.
  • Access to Digital Realty Trust’s supply chain for procuring data center components with “significant pricing advantages” and prompt delivery through Digital Realty Trust’s vendor partnerships.
  • Digital Realty Trust’s proprietary Gating Process that provides enterprises with a series of sign offs and checks that give them complete control of the program, with transparency at key stages of the project – “from scope and schematic through commissioning and completion.”
  • The ability to leverage Digital Realty Trust’s construction management process, including negotiation of contracts, coordination with contractors and oversight of commissioning procedures.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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