7 Reasons We Love Plano for Data Center Colocation

“Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the top data center markets in the country.” That’s the Dallas Business Journal talking about some of the recent action in the regional data center market. Why is the Dallas area (which includes Plano) hot for colocation? Here are 7 reasons why we chose Plano for our newest data center, and you might consider it too.

The team at Aligned Data Centers has more than 300 years of combined experience designing, building, and running data centers for the most sophisticated IT organizations in the world. I know I can speak for my colleagues when I say that it has been really exciting opening the doors of the first Aligned Data Centers facility, in Plano, Texas.

The Dallas metro area, which includes Plano, is one of the top 18 global multitenant data center markets, and one of the top 5 in the U.S., according to 451 Research.

Why? Here are 7 reasons why we chose Plano, why experts like 451 Research and CBRE call it a top data center market, and you might want to consider it too.

#1: Organizations are doing world-changing technology work here

The ecosystem is one of the reasons that Silicon Valley is the home to so many hugely successful technology companies. There’s a strong ecosystem in the Dallas area, too. 21 Fortune 500 companies have headquarters in the area. And it is home to top educational institutions like University of North Texas, University of Texas, and Texas A&M University, among others.

As I wrote in a recent article, organizations like Baylor Health Care System, AT&T, and numerous oil and gas companies – to name just a few – are doing really innovative work in the areas of Big Data and IoT. They’re literally changing the world, and they need data center partners to help make it happen.

#2: It’s a great place to live, work, and play

Low taxes, low cost of living, and high quality of life are significant attractors, and business activity is flourishing in the Dallas area, according to CBRE. Texas’s $1.65 trillion economy is the second biggest in the U.S., behind only California. Texas ranks first in the country for current economic climate, according to Forbes, thanks to strong job and economic growth over the past five years.

#3: It’s a great place to do business

Texas was sixth on the 2015 Forbes Best States for Business list. That is in part because of its business friendly climate. The state helps reduce the costs of doing business with a suite of innovative incentive programs designed to encourage expansion, investment and job growth. And Texas is one of nine U.S. states with no income tax.

Furthermore, there’s a ready supply of talent to meet your workforce demands. The Dallas area has a well-educated workforce including 230,000 technology workers.

#4: The government wants you here, and shows it

Texas has incentivized data center colocation with a sales tax exemption on business personal property for data center users who meet the criteria.

#5: Power (the data center’s #1 input) is ample, stable, and relatively low-cost

Texas is the only state with its own self-contained power grid, which protects businesses from outages in other parts of the country. Called ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, it was formed in 1970 in the wake of a major blackout in the Northeast in 1965.

In addition, Texas has ample generation and a diversity of fuel sources. For example, Texas generates significantly more wind power than any other state in the U.S., according to data from the American Wind Energy Association.

Overall, energy costs are relatively low – substantially lower than in other Western states. For example, in August 2015 the average industrial electricity rate was 5.70 cents per kilowatt hour in Texas, compared to 13.87 cents per kWh in California, according to the U.S. Energy Information Association.

#6: Connectivity is strong

Texas’s Internet speed and mobile networks are among the country’s fastest, according to the Ookla Net Index. Plus, a high concentration of network providers engenders competition, and gives you options.

#7: Globally connected and centrally located

Customers at our data center in Plano will have access to both lit and dark fiber connecting to two Internet exchange hubs in Dallas – Infomart and 2323 Bryant Street. From those locations, data can flow to and from literally anywhere in the world. Plus, Aligned Data Centers is carrier neutral; carriers including Time Warner, Verizon, Zayo, UPN, and Level 3 provide robust fiber connectivity across the U.S.

These are just 7 of the reasons why we’re not surprised at all when we hear that 451 Research, JLL, CBRE, Forbes, or any other organization has named the Dallas area tops for data center colocation. We agree, and we’re excited to be offering organizations in the Dallas area and beyond data center colocation in Plano.

More information about the Plano data center

Aligned Data Centers Opens Ultra-Efficient Data Center in Plano

Aligned Data Centers, a division of Aligned Energy, announced today the grand opening of its inaugural, ultra-efficient data center in Plano, Texas during a ribbon-cutting ceremony with local elected officials, partners, and business leaders.

With the first phase complete, the Aligned Plano data center, situated on a 19-acre campus at 2800 Summit Avenue, offers 108,000-square feet of space and 12.5 megawatts of power. At full build, the site will provide 300,000-square-feet of space and 30 megawatts of power.

What makes the Aligned Plano data center unique is not how much space and power it offers, but rather how little water the data center uses. Similarly sized traditional data centers consume approximately 51 million gallons of water per year – enough to fill 77 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The Aligned Plano data center utilizes an advanced cooling system that consumes up to 85% less water – a significant savings and enough to support more than 460,000 households’ daily water use.

“Aligned Data Centers’ entry into Plano is yet another powerful example of an innovative and emerging company that chooses to call our City of Excellence home,” said Mayor Harry LaRosiliere. “The technology that Aligned has developed to ‘green’ a data center industry and reduce wasting huge amounts of water and energy cannot be understated. It is appropriate they chose Plano, a city known for leadership in sustainability efforts and we look forward to seeing them lead those same efforts in their industry.”

In addition to the water savings, the Aligned Plano data center employs the latest power infrastructure, which delivers unmatched reliability and agility. Capable of supporting dynamic power densities from 1-25kW per rack, customers can control the scale of their data center without having to add more space or reconfigure their existing racks.

Aligned Data Centers’ ultra-efficient infrastructure allows it to do something its competitors can’t – guarantee a PUE of 1.15. By comparison, most multi-tenant data center providers operate at a PUE of 1.3 or higher. A higher PUE translates into a higher monthly power bill for the customer.

“I am proud of the work our team has done to bring this data center online,” said Jakob Carnemark, CEO for Aligned Energy. “For years, the industry has been asking for a better way to deliver reliability, efficiency, and agility in the data center. I’m happy to announce that the day has come.”

Aligned Data Centers is the first to offer consumption-based pricing for colocation. The company claims that it can minimize the upfront commitment for power and space by up to 70% by not locking customers into a fixed ramp schedule and charging on a pay-for-use basis. “Our clients will now have the control and flexibility they have been asking for, while enjoying the peace of mind that their data center is operating at peak performance and efficiency,” said Carnemark.

While all eyes are on the Aligned Plano data center this week, construction is in full swing on the company’s massive 550,000 square foot, 69MW data center in Phoenix, Arizona. Site selection is also underway in California, Illinois, Virginia, and New Jersey to round out the company’s core North America data center portfolio.

Press and Analyst Inquiries

Jennifer Handshew

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Big Data, IoT – None of It Is Sustainable Unless the Data Center Evolves

November 18, 2015

U.S. data centers are on track to consume roughly 140 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually by 2020, according to a 2014 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). There’s good reason for that rise in energy consumption: data centers are doing more (think Big Data and IoT). But it’s unsustainable. To meet rising demand for data center capacity, the data center must evolve.

U.S. data centers are on track to consume roughly 140 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually by 2020, according to a 2014 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). That’s equivalent to the output of 50 large (500MW) power plants.

There’s good reason for rising energy consumption: data centers are doing more. From Big Data to IoT, demand for data center capacity is rising exponentially. (Literally – 90% of the data that exists in the world today was created in just the last two years, according to IBM.) These IT opportunities have the potential to make the world a cleaner, safer, better place.

Yet at the same time that demand for IT capacity is rising exponentially, data centers remain woefully underutilized. According to the NRDC, “Much of the energy consumed by U.S. data centers is used to power more than 12 million servers that do little or no work most of the time.”

How could it be that in a world of such rapidly rising demand, supply could be so misused? It’s the flaws of the traditional data center model. The traditional data center is not capable of agility or responsiveness. Power and cooling infrastructure is expensive and slow to build, so it’s typically fully built out when the data center is. That means the data center provider has a lot of sunk capital to recoup. So the provider requires tenants to sign 10- or 15-year contracts for a specified amount of power capacity.

That model forces IT leaders to try and forecast how much capacity they’ll need in 10 or 15 years – an impossible feat given how rapidly the digital world is evolving. Facing the choice of either risking capacity constraint or over-provisioning, most IT leaders over-provision. No fault of their own, they never end up using the capacity they nevertheless have to pay for every month. (The average data center power utilization is 56%, according to a 2015 enterprise data center survey by 451 Research.)

Furthermore, the traditional data center model delivers reliability by building two or more of everything. Consider, for example, Gartner’s perspective on data center cooling: “Gartner generally finds that most multi-tenant data center operators have an extremely diverse array of IT equipment operating within their facilities and generally take a ‘lowest common denominator’ approach to their environments operating them cooler than may be necessary – just to be safe.”

The data center must evolve

None of the opportunities presented by technologies like Big Data and the Internet of Things is sustainable unless the data center evolves. Fortunately, the data center can – and will – evolve. And that will yield tremendous gains in resource efficiency.

“If just half of the savings potential from adopting energy efficiency best practices were realized, America’s data centers could slash their electricity consumption by as much as 40%.”
Natural Resources Defense Council

Data center customers no longer have to choose between risking capacity constraints in the future and over-provisioning today. You no longer have to sacrifice efficiency for reliability. You can, as they say, have your cake and eat it, too. You can meet rising demand for IT capacity without an equal rise in energy and water consumption. When the data center is more fully utilized, it’s doing more with less.

How big an issue is it? Consider McKinsey’s perspective: “The portion of the IT budget consumed by infrastructure and facilities is significantly reshaping the economics of many businesses…data center costs are diverting capital from new product development, making some products and segments uneconomical and materially affecting margins. Without radical changes in operations, many companies with large data centers face reduced profitability.”

Aligned Data Centers’ role

If your organization is going to do more with less, it will require control over the data center, and a data center model set up to waste less. That’s where Aligned Data Centers comes in.

We’re give you back control of the data center, through:

  • Plug-and-play infrastructure deployable in right-sized increments – and analytics for capacity planning
  • Support for variable densities

And we enable you to waste less through:

  • Ultra-efficient power and cooling infrastructure
  • “The most reliable cooling system in the marketplace”

Successful IT Leaders Go Beyond “Just Keeping the Lights On” (Think: IoT) Do You?

Times, they are a-changin. The role of IT is evolving. Now, the business looks to IT to do more than “just keep the lights on” – to be agile and responsive, and to take the lead on strategic initiatives like IoT. But as Gartner points out, IT can only meet those expectations if the data center evolves, too.

Times, they are a-changin. The role of IT is evolving. Now, the business looks to IT to do more than “just keep the lights on” – to be agile and responsive, and to take the lead on strategic initiatives like IoT. But as Gartner points out, IT can only meet those expectations if the data center evolves, too.

Deliver value to the business (which means: be agile and responsive)

The cloud empowers lines of business to meet their own IT needs. They can provision servers. They can procure software. And they can cause all manner of problems for themselves, for the organization, and for you.

This is a story you’ve heard before, of course. But the cloud enables the kind of on-demand IT service that is, to be fair, essential for competing in the global marketplace. So the answer is not to fight back against the idea of responsive IT, but to enable it in a way that keeps you in the captain’s chair.

Yet doing that requires something most IT organizations don’t have: control of the data center. As Gartner analyst Rakesh Kumar wrote in a recent report, “The pressure is mounting quickly on IT executives to change the personality, structure and role of data centers. Without adapting and changing, many IT departments will be bypassed for new projects, because lines of business (LOBs) will simply need to move faster than their internal data center processes are set up for.”

Reallocate budget to more strategic IT initiatives (including IoT)

It’s no longer enough for IT to “just keep the lights on.” According to Gartner, “I&O groups will need to develop an approach that actually leads innovation rather than responds to it. They will, of course, have to ensure security and safety of their existing systems. Put simply, they will have to operate in a bimodal way.”

Imagine what you could do if you freed up some budget. You could dive into the truly strategic initiatives, including IoT, that will keep IT relevant and valuable to the business. If you can figure out how to harness it, IoT could be a source of tremendous competitive advantage. Your peers are: Out of 659 senior-level IT and business leaders surveyed by Vodafone, 83% reported that they have gained competitive advantage from M2M.

Yet, traditional data centers don’t free up budget – quite the opposite. And they’re not set up to do more than “keep the lights on.” Gartner analyst Rakesh Kumar again: “The data center – as the core engine delivering IT services – will need to become far more agile and responsive than it has ever been…Without adapting the mentality and approach of data centers away from continuous stability to managed change and innovation, data center managers will find it increasingly difficult to prove their value.”

Aligned Data Centers’ role

If you’re going to take on a more strategic, innovative role and embrace opportunities like IoT – to deliver value to the business – you need control over your data center. And, you need a data center that is more cost-effective and more energy-efficient (i.e., it wastes less).

We’re here to give you back control of the data center. We do that through:

  • Consumption-based, pay-for-use pricing
  • Plug-and-play infrastructure and analytics for capacity planning
  • Support for variable densities

And we enable you to waste less through:

  • Infrastructure that is deployable in right-sized increments
  • Ultra-efficient power and cooling infrastructure
  • “The most reliable cooling system in the marketplace”

The role of the IT leader is evolving. “Just keeping the lights on” is no longer enough. The business expects you to be responsive, and innovative. It might not feel entirely comfortable yet, but you have an incredible opportunity to lead the kind of initiatives that will define the winners and losers of the next decades.

Is your data center equipped for responsiveness and innovation? This three-page IT Leader’s Perspective can help you answer that question:

Download the IT Leader Perspective Sheet here.

Facilities Managers Are Satisfying the Demands of IT and the C-Suite – Are You?

November 4, 2015

It’s a challenging time to be responsible for mission critical facilities. On one hand, your IT team is asking you to deliver more capacity, more quickly – so they can meet the demands of the business. On the other, your C-suite bosses have tasked you to cut data center costs and boost efficiency (while maintaining reliability, of course).

The pressure’s on IT

Your IT team is under tremendous pressure to be agile and responsive to the needs of the business (in other words, be more cloud-like). Consider Gartner’s advice to IT: “The pressure is mounting quickly on IT executives to change the personality, structure and role of data centers. Without adapting and changing, many IT departments will be bypassed for new projects, because lines of business (LOBs) will simply need to move faster than their internal data center processes are set up for.”

That pressure rolls over to you, of course: your IT team is looking to you to deliver the data center capacity that makes IT agility and responsiveness possible.

The traditional data center model makes that a tough order to fill. Traditional data center providers are not set up to move fast. The only way to ensure responsiveness in the future is to over-provision today; the traditional data center can secure future capacity, but at the expense of current capital.

But what if the data center evolved? What if new power and cooling technology and a new data center model enabled you to scale capacity in right size increments, basically on-demand. To support variable densities. To pay only for what you use. Then you really could enable IT agility and responsiveness.

C-suite directive: Do more, but with less

Enabling IT agility and responsiveness is not the only demand you face, of course. After all, your C-suite bosses are facing tremendous pressure, too. Their ultimate responsibility is to deliver profit to shareholders. But rising data center costs are making that increasingly difficult to do. McKinsey paints the picture well: “The portion of the IT budget consumed by infrastructure and facilities is significantly reshaping the economics of many businesses. Without radical changes in operations, many companies with large data centers face reduced profitability.”

Again, that pressure rolls over to you: your C-suite bosses expect you to deliver agile, responsive data center capacity for less money, using less energy (while maintaining reliability, of course).

The problem is that the traditional data center is inherently wasteful. It delivers reliability, but at the expense of efficiency. Consider, for example, Gartner’s perspective on data center cooling: “Gartner generally finds that most multi-tenant data center operators have an extremely diverse array of IT equipment operating within their facilities and generally take a ‘lowest common denominator’ approach to their environments operating them cooler than may be necessary – just to be safe.”

It doesn’t need to be that way. Your C-suite bosses can have their cake and eat it, too, with a data center that delivers industry-leading efficiency and reliability.

Aligned Energy’s role

If you’re going to deliver the capacity your IT team needs, when they need it, you need control over your data center. If you’re going to meet those IT needs for less money, using less energy (while maintaining reliability, of course), then you need a data center that wastes less.

We’re give you back control of the data center, through:

  • Plug-and-play infrastructure and analytics for capacity planning
  • Pay-for-use pricing and a lower upfront contract commitment
  • Support for variable densities

And we enable you to waste less through:

  • Ultra-efficient power and cooling infrastructure
  • Infrastructure that is deployable in right-sized increments
  • “The most reliable cooling system in the marketplace”