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Data Center Envy

Data Center Envy - Compass DatacentersHave you noticed that just about every new data center announcement seems to fixate on its size? Not the innovations that characterize its design, or how it offers customers a unique alternative to competitors, just its square footage. It seems that we’ve become an industry based on the neurotic belief that bigger is better. A mass case of “data center envy” if you will. One can only wonder what Freud would say if he put the industry on his couch.

“Please come in and lay down and we can begin”.
“Thank you doctor”
“Now please tell me, what seems to be the problem?”
“Nothing seems to be big enough for me doctor”.
“I’m not sure that I understand. What do you mean, big enough?”
“I build data centers okay? And I just can’t seem to make them big enough.”
“Hmmm. Interesting. Please continue”.
“For example, I just built a new 200,000 square foot data center, but…I still feel…”
“Yeah that’s the word, inadequate. Like it just doesn’t measure up, you know”.
“I am not unfamiliar with this problem”.
“I mean, I build a 200,000 square foot facility and then my competitor builds one that is 500,000 square feet. I am almost ashamed to tell potential customers about my site. Its just,…so much smaller…”
“Have you experienced, complaints? Have your customers complained that your data center was not big enough?”
“Not in so many words doc. But you know. They give you that…look. Like, is that all there is?”
“Looks can mean many things. Have any of them expressed any feelings of dissatisfaction?”
“Well no, but you just know that they want more”.
“Maybe this lack of size is not the source of their disappointment”
“I feel that perhaps you are trying to compensate for shortcomings in other areas. Maybe your customers aren’t concerned with size but with the capabilities of the data center itself.”
“C’mon doc. When I build a data center the first thing we tell the press is how big it is. Prospective customers see that and say to themselves, ‘Wow. That’s big’”.
“I think you may be attempting to mask a lack of capability by only speaking about size. Maybe these prospects would like a data center that was much closer to them, built by a third party that they didn’t have to share, or even one that was actually certified. Size is not everything. In fact, your customers may be willing to look past the size of your building to find attributes that better align with their needs and not yours”.
“Oh doc, do you have a lot to learn about the data center business”.
“I believe our time is up. Unfortunately, we did not make a great deal of progress today. Will this same time next Tuesday work for you?”
“ Sorry doc. My new Porsche comes in that day, and then I’ve got a manicure with paraffin wax and a head message appointment. I’ll call you”.

Is the size of a data center a motivator for customers? If you did a quick survey of the industry you’d probably say yes. Personally. I doubt it. Like Freud said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”.