At some point, every owner or general contractor operating in the mission critical space has been asked about their dollars per megawatt ($/MW) for a particular construction build. Many of these owners and contractors love to boast about how cheaply and quickly they can build facilities thanks to low $/MW— and sometimes they are correct. Under the right circumstances and in the right environment, a low $/MW ratio can be the measuring stick for success. However, every data center is different, and it is important to remember that $/MW—also referred to as IT capacity—is not the only factor that determines the quality, efficiency and cost of a data center build. Numerous intertwined variables and end user criteria contribute to the cost of a data center build, and each should be considered when comparing your options. The following factors are the primary drivers of data center design, and each has a direct impact on cost:
- Data Hall Density
- Resiliency/Redundancy Requirements or “Tier” Make Up
- Scalable Attributes
- Ancillary Costs
While these primary drivers are common across all data centers, no two data centers are designed to be exactly alike. Not surprisingly, variations between these primary drivers lead to cost differences between data centers that are not always evident from $/MW alone.
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