While attending a panel discussion at a data center conference in Chicago last year, I experienced an amazing BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious) that has haunted me since. The panel of data center industry experts put forth a simple, old-school message that I am now compelled to share with you: “No matter what our customers ask of us, we need to be able to say ‘yes.’ ”
At the time, it seemed easy enough. After all, who wouldn’t want to do business with a data center that could accommodate nearly any request? And what multi-tenant data center (MTDC) wouldn’t want to be able to say “yes” to every tenant request? As I thought about it more, however, it became clear: In order for these providers to say “yes,” everyone in their partner ecosystem must also be able to say “yes” to them – every time – including me!
After some thought, I compiled a list of six ways that the right data center partner can help data center professionals in multi-tenant environments say “yes” to their tenants.
1. Customized Data Center Ready Units
Say “yes” when your customers ask: “Can you provide a cabinet that will meet our connectivity, thermal, power and equipment requirements as a single, repeatable SKU – and can we have it now?”
To decrease installation time and take the guesswork out of equipment design in multi-tenant environments, a world-class provider should be able to ship your order with copper, fiber and accessories pre-installed to meet your specific requirements. You define uptime and efficiency guidelines, as well as the active equipment that requires support; a trained engineer develops a personalized recommendation that includes component placement within each cabinet.
Once the design is approved, these cabinets – which should be unique to the requirements of the tenant – are manufactured. The designs are stored for future ordering or customization. Any future orders will require only one part number. The units are shipped in shock-protected packaging with a unique number indicating a specific position within the data center – just roll them out onto the floor and connect them to the network.
2. Airflow Management Solutions
Say “yes” when your customers ask: “Can you prove that you comply with thermal management SLAs?”
Simply put, data center airflow management consists of separating supply and return air, controlling air volume and controlling air temperature – and there are a variety of containment, thermal management and airflow solutions available to help.
Deploying an airflow management solution leads to lower energy costs, better cooling efficiency and protection against hotspots and equipment overheating. It can also help multi-tenant environments improve space utilization, especially when the solutions don’t compromise cage security to achieve airflow management.
Partners that offer a wide variety of containment, thermal management and airflow solutions may help you reduce operating costs, shorten payback periods and improve compliance with thermal management SLAs. Simulation software with 3D modeling and CFD (computational fluid dynamics) analysis can also be beneficial. This software demonstrates predictive modeling and what-if/capacity planning to help you determine the best way to design and operate data center space before equipment is moved or put in place. The models and analysis can also be shown to prospective and current tenants as proof of SLA compliance.
3. Just-in-Time Delivery and New Ways to Maintain Stock
Say “yes” when your customers ask: “Can we expand our space sometime this year – but we’re not exactly sure when?”
No one in a multi-tenant environment wants to carry capital with equipment sitting on shelves – and that’s where just-in-time delivery comes in. Say, for example, that you regularly purchase and deploy containment systems. A customized plan can be created for just-in-time delivery, which brings product refresh right to the door just before your current supply is depleted.
Consignment services should also be an option available from your data center provider: This service allows you to store products onsite without paying for them until they’re needed. The product is billed once it’s pulled from the shelf and put into service. If the product isn’t used, it isn’t paid for. If a product is pulled, but not used, it goes back on the shelf without a charge.
In some situations, real-time inventory management software is included as part of this service so you can track product status and location.
Say “yes” when your customers ask: “Can you guarantee that you’ll meet our deadlines and budget requirements?”
To keep multi-tenant environments on schedule and under budget, data center providers should offer products that work well the first time, simplify and speed up installation and termination, and can be deployed by technicians at all experience levels.
Seek out a data center provider that partners with contractors, integrators and consultants who have high levels of industry knowledge, offer best-in-class warranties and provide advisory services like audits, design and project management. These experts are ultimately part of a data center provider’s network; they should complete an extensive training program so they fully understand the design, installation and maintenance of products and systems used in multi-tenant environments.
Look for partners that comply with ISO 9001 requirements; this ensures that quality systems are adopted to improve business. It prevents organizations from implementing random sets of procedures that are difficult to manage (and ultimately lengthen service time). ISO compliance translates to improved performance and service, on-time delivery and fewer returned products for multi-tenant environments.
5. Faster Meantime to Deploy
Say “yes” when your customers ask: “Can you deploy this equipment any faster?”
Deployment is one of the most important factors in multi-tenant environments – which is why a data center partner should provide many ways to improve meantime to deploy.
Everything I’ve mentioned so far offer ways to ultimately support faster deployment. This makes tenants happier and brings in more revenue for you.
6. Embracing the Chaos
Say “yes” when your customers ask: “We don’t know how to meet this tenant request – can you help?”
It is possible to emerge from a challenging situation with new skill sets, more satisfied customers and higher revenue. No matter what you’re facing, your data center provider should be ready to face it with you.
Each situation is unique. Working with a partner that has depth of experience can save you time and energy as you search for answers. Why? Because these partners have likely encountered similar problems or situations, and can apply what they already know to your unique circumstances. True partners won’t run from a problem – and won’t let you face a problem alone.
How Belden Helps You Say “Yes”
In each of the scenarios played out above, you can count on Belden to say “yes” to you so you can confidently say “yes” to your tenants.
Belden can help you customize your tenants’ solutions, maximize airflow, ensure that tenants have what they need and when they need it, keep projects on schedule and under budget and deploy projects faster. Every step of the way, Belden will be there, helping you support your tenants and ensure their success.
Belden offers engineering support, knowledge and resources to make data center deployment a success. We follow a three-step process to truly understand what you need:
- Schedule a call with an MTDC expert (a Belden systems engineer)
- Conduct a listening session to hear about your challenges, needs and requirements
- Create a plan to ensure successful deployment
From our product solutions to our educated sales team and trained partners, we’re ready to help you say “yes” to your data center tenants – no matter what they need.
With 24 years of telecommunications and data center industry experience, Warren McCarty is a Lucent Technologies/Bell Laboratories training graduate and BICSI RCDD who is responsible for supervising Belden’s direct sales, partner management and marketing activity implementation for data centers.