Many customers I have been meeting with recently are looking to get their IT out of the data center business. Data Centers are viewed as expensive and difficult to maintain for many businesses. Many are leveraging the public cloud providers as a means to accomplish the goal of zero data center but are concerned about losing the advantages of having IT infrastructure architecture control. One of the best things about attending EMC World is the opportunity to connect with other leaders in the IT industry. As part of the EMC Elect community I had the opportunity to visit the Switch SUPERNAP data centers in Las Vegas.
Our visit included data center facility tours and presentation of the SUPERNAP capabilities. SUPERNAP's Missy Young, started the presentation with a review of SUPERNAP's history. In 2000, Rob Roy founded Switch in Las Vegas to offer advanced managed technology services for startups and large enterprise customers. In 2002 Rob was able to acquire a Nevada based former Enron facility with the largest fiber optic capability in the country which would offer customers unprecedented network capacity, performance, and redundancy. In 2006, Rob created the SUPERNAP data center business and ecosystem. SUPERNAP provides companies with the data center space to house the compute, and storage combined with the Switch network capacity, performance, and redundancy. Today SUPERNAP is operating data center services in northern and southern Nevada as well as internationally. In addition to providing customers with the world's only Gold Tier IV co-location data center facility and operations certified data center services, SUPERNAP is leveraging over 200 Rob Roy patented inventions to improve the cost effectiveness and environmental sustainability of data center services. The SUPERNAP data centers do not use traditional raised floor, or power designs. For data center cooling they are leveraging their patented SUPERNAP T-SCIF (Thermal Separate Compartment in Facility) system that is designed to keep 100% of the equipment heat separate from the data center air. The heat from each rack is captured, moved to the ceiling compartments using natural air pressure, and then vented outside while cool air is continually added to the building. This Switch T-SCIF heat containment cabinet platform not only cools the data center efficiently it also allows SUPERNAP customers to fully utilize their rack space without worrying about equipment cooling limitations. SUPERNAP can provide over 40 kW power capacity to each rack which is 30-50% more than many of the top enterprise data centers I have seen. This can result in big savings for customers paying for data center services by the rack.
When you arrive at the SUPERNAP facilities you are immediately impressed with the size and scale of the space. Once inside the exterior wall surrounding each of the buildings you continue to experience their commitment to the physical security as armed guards meet you at the entrance and escort you throughout the facility. The tour of facility helped create perspective on the size of their install base. Each building is divided into four modular sections built out as the space is sold. During the tour we were able to see the unique power distribution, cooling, and roofing design that supports the Gold Tier IV classification.
The other big advantage SUPERNAP offers their customers is aggregating network bandwidth purchasing power through their Core Cooperative. Customers running at SUPERNAP data centers can typically reduce their network costs by 30-60% and improve their redundancy by participating in the Core Cooperative. Due to tax agreements customers often have much lower taxes on data center services and equipment.
SUPERNAP is expanding their service to the eastern region of the United States with their announced plans to build a data center campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan (https://www.supernap.com/news/switch-confirms-plans-for-massive-michigan-data-center.html). This will provide a data center service alternative for east coast companies with similar benefits to those using the Nevada based services.
Data center hosting and co-location services have been offered for many years by many regional and national providers. Typically customers have used these services as an alternative to investing in their own data centers but usually at a higher cost. With the networking and the proprietary data center design technology that SUPERNAP uses their customers realize the benefits of world class data center services at a fraction of their current data center cost while maintaining IT system architectural and operational control. Based on the growth of the SUPERNAP capacity in both Nevada and in Michigan I think many more businesses will be considering this option for hosting their IT infrastructure in the future.