Are You Asking the Right Questions: Shared SpaceSure, your mother told you that it was nice to share, and learning to do so probably made you more popular with your pre-school buddies. Of course you also learned that sharing had its downsides, remember that kid who lost the Mattel handheld football game you let him take on his vacation, or the one that shot your flying Batman onto the neighbor’s roof? Of course you do. I don’t know about you, but I still want that Mattel football game back. Fortunately for those of us who are a little sensitive about the whole sharing thing, the continued evolution of data center design now offers us alternatives.

Traditionally, choosing to a wholesale data center provider meant taking space in what is termed a multi-tenant data center (MTDC). While sharing a designation that makes your multi-million dollar investment sound like you just rented a one- bedroom in an apartment complex isn’t particularly inspiring, it is appropriate. Just like an apartment dwelling, these facilities require you to share common areas with the other data center “tenants” within the location. So while you may not be grappling over a dryer on laundry day, you will be forced to work around everyone else’s schedule if you need access to the loading dock for example. This structure also requires you to use provider supplied operational and security personnel, and eliminates your ability to purchase your data center space “apartment”.

Due to their design, container-based data center solutions are an alternative if you want your site all to yourself. However, as we’ve discussed previously, since these solutions require you to either construct a building to house them in, or use a facility that you already have available, there is an additional premium that you’ll have to pay to satiate your desire for data center solitude.

Pre-fabricated solutions are another possible alternative for establishing a non-shared location. It is important to note, that pre-fabricated data centers are also available within MTDC structures so you have an alternative in case your desire to have your own facility suddenly makes you feel selfish or exclusionary. Like containers, a dedicated pre-fabricated data center requires a hardened shell to house it if it is to be a permanent solution. Thus, the “shell premium” is once again the additional cost that you will incur to guarantee your privacy.

The recent addition of standalone data center offerings to the marketplace offer the most comprehensive solution for companies seeking a non-shared solution. These products are specifically designed for a single user (which would include service providers). Since each data center is, in fact, a complete modular unit with its own MEP, customers are able to lease or purchase a permanent solution (these products are housed within their own hardened buildings on dedicated land with utilities) and add capacity when they need it by adding additional modules. The dedicated nature of standalone data centers also provides customers with complete control over the operation of the site. Unlike shared data center solutions, this heightened level of customer control extends all the way to utility bill. Due to their single occupant design, standalone facilities free customers from loading dock, storage and staging room scheduling and security concerns and facilitate and make moves, adds and changes easier by locating these areas adjacent to the data center floor. Since standalone data centers are dedicated solutions, customers also have the option of using their own security and operational personnel.

The data center industry continues to evolve into a more customer driven marketplace. As a result customers now have more alternatives than ever before. Obtaining your own dedicated site is a more viable alternative than ever before. Asking yourself the right questions upfront is the key to getting the dedicated facility that best meets your requirements.

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