Compass Datacenters has completed construction and commissioning of its first data center facility in Franklin, Tennessee, rolling out a 21,000 square foot, 1.2 megawatt stand-alone data center facility. Groundbreaking to customer handover occurred in just six months using Compass’ patent-pending “Truly Modular Architecture.” The facility in suburban Nashville has been leased by a customer (previously identified as Windstream) that is taking possession of the data center this month.
“Completing a stand-alone, hardened, Tier III-certified data center facility in only six months is a fraction of the time it typically takes for this kind of facility, but that is the standard timeline with Compass’ methodology,” said Chris Crosby, CEO of Compass Datacenters. “It’s not uncommon for this kind of project to take more than a year or two with traditional design and construction practices for data centers. Compass was founded to make that a thing of the past, and our very first project is a successful demonstration of the advantages of our methodology,”
“There was 50 full days of rain in Nashville during the timeframe,” Crosby added. The company still hit its deadline. “For a greenfield build, it’s a big deal.”
The facility in Franklin was built using Compass’ modular architecture, which makes it possible for companies to locate their data centers where they need them—at an affordable cost—rather than where their provider happens to have a facility. The centerpiece of the design is the CompassPod, which provides 10,000 square feet of column-less raised floor space supported by 1.2 MW of electrical power with 2N power distribution. The facilities delivers a PUE of 1.2 – 1.5 or lower at loads as low as 25 percent. CompassPods are contained within, and protected by, the CompassStructure, a hardened, energy-efficient, highly-secure structure for the facility’s mission critical IT systems.
The CompassPowerCenter provides the UPS (2N) and switchgear (2N) equipment required to ensure uptime and reliability. Each facility includes a dedicated CompassSupport module that provides to meet the needs of operational staff and logistics for data center operations, including a security center, lobby, office space, loading dock, break area and restrooms.
“In terms of momentum, this is huge,” said Crosby. “Raleigh Durham is going through level 5 commissioning next week. Once again, it’s within the six month time frame. With only six months from groundbreaking to delivery, this brings the concept of just-in-time-delivery to data center facilities, enabling customers to take delivery of their new standalone facilities on a timeline that was never before possible.”
In short, Crosby believes the architecture has proven itself. In terms of giving the ability to expand, and time the capital, Compass’ model is attractive to customers. Compass customer Windstream, as one example, has been able to add space as they add revenue. It takes the guessing game out of the equation and allows a company to expand data center space in line with the business.
One of the big differences Crosby sees is the hardened nature of the facilities. “The level of hardening is unique for our space and will continue to set us apart,” said Crosby. “During construction, there was a tornado that touched down basically across the street. Those folks were happy they were inside that facility at the time.”
The company is seeing continued interest across the country. “The level of interest in the secondary markets are high. The next set of markets, Minneapolis and Columbus, also are seeing high interest,” said Crosby.“From an overall funnel perspective, we’ve been tracking 75-80MW of opportunity. We feel pretty good where things are at. We’re at the negotiation stage with a few clients.” The company’s goal is to be able to manage up to 10 projects at the same time in 2014.
“2012 was the year of the prototype, this year was the engine – we’ll probably work another six to 10 projects this year,” said Crosby. The company says that although it has improved the level of efficiency in builds, it has a continuous improvement program in effect. Crosby gives the example of a car model undergoing tweaks from year to year to become better and better. Compass believes it has the blueprint to do things right, but will not stop looking for ways to enhance at every step of the way.
The company’s prospects have prompted it to add Jay Forester, formerly of Digital Realty Trust, to the talent pool. “We are getting an unbelievable resource here,” said Crosby. “It’s really an opportunity for him to take industrialization and move it to productization. Jay will lead that charge.”
Forester was named Senior Vice President of Data Center Product Delivery, a new position at the company with responsibility for the construction and delivery of data center facilities across the United States.