2 Awards for Data Center Sustainability Make a Great End to 2016

As a sustainable technology company with a mission to innovate and optimize infrastructure within data centers to eliminate waste of materials, energy and water to dramatically reduce the environmental and economic impact of the digital world, it feels really good to be recognized for our innovation in data center sustainability. Sustainability is (clearly) one of our core principles and, for many of us, it’s a key reason why we do what we do.

First, our soon-to-open Phoenix data center was named the “2016 Data Center Energy Efficiency Project of the Year” by the Global Data Center Alliance. Jeffrey Dorf, President of the Global Data Center Alliance, had this to say about us: “With the entire state of Arizona focused on minimizing water and energy consumption, Aligned’s industry-changing technology allowed them to stand out as the clear winner in the Energy Efficiency category.”

Then, we received a Global Sustainability Leadership Award from the Business Intelligence Group. “Our judges made it clear that Aligned should be recognized for their sustainability efforts,” said Russ Fordyce, managing director, Business Intelligence Group. “Their innovation and leadership should serve as a model for organizations around the globe. Congratulations to the entire team.”

Data centers are one of the fastest-growing users of energy and water, and the kind of growth we foresee for the digital economy (welcome to the zettabyte era) simply isn’t possible without dramatic improvements in data center efficiency. As our CEO Jakob Carnemark explains it, “We are honored to receive these awards as it is our mission to continue to identify and implement solutions that dramatically reduce the environmental and economic impact of the rapidly expanding digital world. It serves as yet another testament to the hard work and innovation of our employees.”

Of course, what’s good for the environment is also good for business: when a data center uses less energy and water, that should mean less cost for its tenants, and at Aligned Data Centers, it does. For example, Energy Metrics software helped Lenovo save 60-80% in power costs. And the Inertech cooling system reduced energy cost by 79% in Plano. Software from Energy Metrics and cooling technology from Inertech (both Aligned companies) are fundamental elements of the Aligned Data Centers model.

So these two awards make a great end cap to a great year. And we look forward to more innovation in sustainability – including expansion of our partnership with Climeon to produce 100% clean power for the data center – in 2017.

Meet Jeanine Aliberti: From the Office to the Outdoors, She’s Always Ready for a Challenge

This blog post is part of our ongoing employee profile series showcasing the people that make Aligned a special place to work.

Each year, thousands of world-class rock climbers pack their gear and make a pilgrimage to The Gunks (short for Shawangunks), one of America’s best technical climbing locations just outside of New Paltz, N.Y. Aligned’s Jeanine Aliberti drove past there many times on the way to visit her parents, and her desire to tackle the challenge was piqued.

Now married to an avid climber, Jeanine gets out to climb as often as she can. Another favorite destination is Lake Placid, where Jeanine and her husband, Jason, and 9-year-old stepson, Aidan enjoy hiking and climbing around the former Olympic Village.

Jeanine, Jason, and Aidan snow tubing at Hunter Mountain

Always up for a challenge

One thing is clear from even a brief conversation with Jeanine: she loves a challenge. It’s an attitude that serves her well whether she is balancing on the side of a cliff looking for the next handhold or helping a young company grow.

Jeanine joined Aligned earlier this year as Marketing Director in Client Communications after nearly 10 years at a large, established company. “I wanted to join Aligned because I knew I would get to experience new kinds of challenges,” she says. “Since these challenges are very different from the challenges I experienced at my old company, I knew they would get me out of my comfort zone. And that’s the best way to learn, grow new skills, and improve old skills.”

Like most athletes, Jeanine focuses on the strength of the team. Her passion is passing along what she knows, developing talent and building a collaborative and supportive environment where a strong team can succeed.

What makes Aligned special, Jeanine says, is the company’s desire to impact the data center industry and the world in a positive way.

Giving back: Hike for Hunger

Jeanine shares that desire to make a positive difference in the world. Several years ago, she and her husband started a charity called Hike for Hunger, which raises money for a food pantry in Edison, N.J., called Hands of Hope.

Jason trains each year for one big adventure, an advanced technical or mountaineering climb, and the couple collects donations – 100% of which go toward Hike for Hunger. Jason has climbed Cathedral Peak in Yosemite National Park, Mt. Rainier, and Mount Whitney, among other summits. So far he and Jeanine have raised more than $15,000, which Hands of Hope has used to feed many thousands of people in need.

Holiday traditions

Jeanine grew up in a household dedicated to feeding people. Her parents sold gourmet foods through Italian specialty stores. A weekend at home these days will include Jeanine serving up piles of pasta with pancetta and vegetables with an oil-based sauce, garlic, and a little white wine. Somewhere in the background will be a 9-year-old boy on the floor playing with the family’s 1-year-old puppy, Oreo.

This holiday season, Jeanine is looking forward to feeding family and friends and putting up a new Christmas decoration – a wooden jumping jack doll of Mozart that the family picked up during a visit to Salzburg this year.

“I like collecting Christmas ornaments from places I travel. My tree is full of stories!” So is her life.

Aligned Awarded for Global Sustainability Leadership

NEW YORK, NY – December 16, 2016 – Aligned, a sustainable technology company with a mission to innovate and optimize infrastructure within data centers to eliminate waste of materials, energy and water, announced today that the company received the Global Sustainability Leadership Award at the Business Intelligence Group’s 2016 Sustainability Awards program. The Sustainability Awards honor premier people, teams and organizations that have made sustainability an integral part of their business practice or overall mission.

“Data centers continue to be one of the fastest-growing users of energy and water in today’s economy,” said Jakob Carnemark, founder and CEO of Aligned. “We are honored to receive this award as it is our mission to continue to identify and implement solutions that dramatically reduce the environmental and economic impact of the rapidly expanding digital world. It serves as yet another testament to the hard work and innovation of our employees.”

Aligned is recognized for the delivery of highly sustainable and cost-effective mechanical and electrical systems that adapt to changing needs of the digital world. The company has reinvented modern data center cooling systems to use fewer parts and run more efficiently. A patented and highly-optimized modular heat removal cycle has enabled the company to achieve reductions of up to 85% less water, 80-90% less energy and 40% less infrastructure in its ultra-efficient data centers, as compared to traditional mission critical facilities. Also, in collaboration with Swedish-based Climeon, they have developed a fully-integrated green platform that has the ability to power their next-generation data center in Phoenix with 100% clean electricity from waste heat.

“Our judges made it clear that Aligned should be recognized for their sustainability efforts,” said Russ Fordyce, managing director, Business Intelligence Group. “Their innovation and leadership should serve as a model for organizations around the globe. Congratulations to the entire team.”

Aligned continues to use its world-class talent and resources to develop innovative first-of-its-kind solutions to better build and operate data centers for large enterprises and cloud providers in a much more efficient and environmentally-friendly way. With their second “pay-for-use” data center in Phoenix, a 550,000SF, 62MW campus, scheduled to come online in early 2017, Aligned has charted a course to reach the 100% green carbon neutral data center by tackling the industry’s well-documented power, cooling and water consumption issues while dramatically lowering operating costs.

About Business Intelligence Group

The Business Intelligence Group was founded with the mission of recognizing true talent and superior performance in the business world. Unlike other industry award programs, business executives—those with experience and knowledge—judge the programs. The organization’s proprietary and unique scoring system selectively measures performance across multiple business domains and then rewards those companies whose achievements stand above those of their peers.

Press and Analyst Inquiries

Jennifer Handshew

[email protected]
Mobile: +1 (917) 359-8838

Data Center Outlook 2017: Tech Trends Driving Demand

Quick take

  • Accelerating cloud adoption will double the size of the data center industry by 2021 (JLL)
  • Enterprises continue migrating away from owning data center properties (CBRE)
  • A surge of demand for data center space has the Dallas area hitting record levels of leasing velocity (CBRE)
  • In Phoenix, “tenants are beginning to prioritize flexibility for expansion on reduction in square footage and power density” (JLL)

Last week here on the Aligned Data Centers blog we shared 2017 tech trend predictionsfrom Forrester, Gartner, and IDC. We talked about IoT, cybersecurity, the (disappearing?) data center, and digital disruption. How will data center providers respond to these trends? To help us answer that question we turned to real estate advisers JLL and CBRE and their 2016-17 data center market forecasts.

Overall, data center demand in 2017 will be driven by:

  • Accelerating cloud adoption, which will double the size of the data center industry by 2021 (JLL)
  • A move toward the edge, with companies “bringing data closer for greater reliability and speed” (JLL)
  • The “realities” of global climate change, which have “spurred increasingly effective energy efficiency solutions” (JLL)
  • Data center decision makers who are “using increasingly sophisticated criteria when they shop for location, space and power” (JLL)
  • Continued high demand for sale/leaseback, colocation, and managed services among enterprises who have over the past five years “migrated quickly from owning data center properties” (CBRE)

The 2017 Dallas data center market

“Demand in the Dallas area continues to come most robustly from financial services, insurance, healthcare, and technology,” writes JLL in its outlook report. “Continuing headquarter relocations and regional expansions are also driving demand.” For data center users, JLL predicts “aggressive pricing and ramp schedules” and “new options for powered shell facilities.”

A surge of demand for data center space in the Dallas area (which includes Plano) has the region hitting record levels of leasing velocity, but CBRE brokers say the biggest boom could still be yet to come. “We are predicting Dallas-Fort Worth to do another 40 megawatts this year, but next year could be stronger from the pipeline we’re seeing in the market,” Brant Bernet, senior vice president and leader of CBRE’s data center team, told the Dallas Business Journal. That’s not surprising, given that the Dallas area has long been a top data center market (read 7 reasons why).

The 2017 Phoenix data center market

Demand for Phoenix data center space comes in large part from West coast companies looking to move to a lower cost, less disaster-prone location without increasing latency significantly. The largest user base in Phoenix is the technology industry, though there is strong demand in the banking & financial services and retail & ecommerce industries as well. “Market trends demonstrate an increased absorption by cloud and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies,” writes JLL in its outlook report. “This trend has been a result of the migration by enterprises away from traditional data center build-outs as they transition their infrastructure and software needs toward a public or private cloud environment.”

JLL calls Phoenix a “user-favorable market” that “provides competitive pricing and flexibility as new supply is delivered.” The real estate firm called out Aligned Data Centers’ new facility specifically, saying that new contiguous space will be available in Phoenix when the first phase of our 550,000 square-foot, 62 MW data center opens. And a trend that aligns well with our offering, “tenants are beginning to prioritize flexibility for expansion or reduction in square footage and power density,” according to JLL.

Like Plano, Phoenix has long been a top data center market (learn more about why).

Bottom line

With the data-eats-the-world trends we described last week, demand for data centers will continue to rise. But as the pace of innovation continues to accelerate, prospective colocation tenants would be wise to look for data center providers who can innovate right alongside them, topping the data centers lists not only next year, but well beyond.

5 Colocation Pricing Questions to Ask Before You Sign

40% of enterprise IT managers are paying more for colocation contracts than they had initially planned or expected, according to the Uptime 2016 Survey. One important way to keep costs in check is to pay close attention to the deal terms when negotiating with a colocation provider, and to parse out the impacts of those terms over the entire life of the contract. Here are 5 questions to help you do exactly that.

Question #1: How does your pricing model help me align my data center with my business?

Business is unpredictable. Technology is unpredictable. Yet most data center colocation leases require a fixed commitment for five or even ten years. As a result, they’re likely subject to over-provisioning – and over-spending. According to Gartner analyst Bob Gill in A Concise Guide to Negotiating Colocation Renewals, “Colocation customers frequently pay for far more than they use. It is extremely common to find colocation contracts in which two or even three times the capacity that is required has been allocated and therefore paid for the duration of the contract.”

So as you’re shopping for a colocation provider, take Gill’s advice and look beyond the discussion of quantity of units and price per unit – to consider how a data center can allocate sufficient power for today’s needs and leave in place a mechanism to expand the footprint and power allocation if the enterprise’s needs grow. As Gill urges, seek a more transparent and usage-based pricing model.

Question #2: Do you charge me a fixed $ per kW infrastructure fee? What’s the ramp schedule?

In our recent post How Does Your Data Center Break Down Pricing? we explained how the Aligned Data Centers pricing model is designed to be exactly what Gill calls for – transparent and usage-based. It’s how we enable our customers to accommodate future growth without overpaying today.

The root of the difference between our pricing model and the traditional colocation model is the fact that we disaggregate infrastructure charges from a single static charge (traditional model) into a nominal fee for reserved space and cooling capacity and a competitive fee for allocated power, which makes our pricing model dynamic, just like your business. And, we’re completely transparent with prospective customers about what colocation with us will cost (talk with a sales engineer to see for yourself).

Beyond differences in the way we charge for data center infrastructure, there are also differences in the commitment we require our customers to make. A traditional model requires customers to commit to a certain amount of data center capacity, which they are beholden to “take or pay” (take down capacity or pay anyway) according to a fixed ramp schedule. After the ramp schedule has fully kicked in, say, after the third year, customers pay for 100% of the capacity they’ve committed to, regardless of how much they’ve actually provisioned for use.

In contrast, in a dynamic data center model that disaggregates the infrastructure fee into reserved capacity and allocated power, customers are only committing to the reserved capacity, and only charged the allocated power fee once the infrastructure is actually provisioned for use. That means you take down (and pay for) capacity only when you actuallyrequire it, not according to a pre-determined ramp schedule. And it dramatically reduces the upfront commitment, or minimum obligation, required. (By 50% in the example cited in How Does Your Data Center Break Down Pricing?)

Learn more about how upfront colocation commitments will affect your balance sheet in To Find the Silver Lining In New Lease Accounting Rules, Look to the Data Center.

Question #3: Is PUE used to determine my monthly energy costs? What is the PUE compared to industry average?

In the standard colocation pricing equation, monthly energy costs are represented as E where E is the power consumed (in kWh) multiplied by the cost of metered utility (in $ per kWh) multiplied by PUE.

Monthly energy cost = Power consumption * Utility rate * PUE

PUE, or Power Usage Effectiveness, is the ratio of all energy consumed by the data center to the energy actually consumed by the IT equipment. It tells you how much energy your IT is using and how much goes to data center overhead. When PUE is included in the cost equation, it has a significant impact on your total monthly energy cost.

At Aligned Data Centers, we use an annualized PUE of 1.15 in the equation above to calculate our clients’ monthly energy cost. Guaranteed. No fine print. That compares to an industry average annualized PUE of 1.8-1.9, according to the 2016 U.S. Data Center Energy Report.The difference between a PUE of 1.15 and a PUE of 1.8 or 1.9 can make a significant difference in costs over the term of a colocation contract – energy costs could easily be 50% higher in a data center with a PUE of 1.8 versus a PUE of 1.15.

In addition to our industry-leading PUE, we’re completely transparent about the energy performance of the data center. The Client Portal gives every client full visibility into the performance of their data center. The dashboard provides high-level and in-depth views of key performance indicators, in real time and historical. Energy KPIs that clients have transparency into include partial PUE (PUE for their data center footprint) in real-time and historical, cost per kWh, and peak power usage history per site or across multiple locations.

Question #4: What rent escalation and power escalation is built into the contract?

Costs go up over time, so sensibly colocation providers build an annual cost increase into the contract. Typically, the cost increase associated with the rent (“rent escalation”) is 2-3%. Providers also typically build in a metered power cost escalation (“power escalation”), typically 3-5%, to account for rising utility rates. (That is another reason why the cost savings associated with a low PUE add up over time; with a lower PUE, the added cost each year is lower.)

Question #5: What are the renewal terms at the end of the contract?

You won’t hear very many colocation providers (if any) say this, but the best time to negotiate renewal terms is before you’ve signed the contract – because that’s when you have the power. After all, while a customer might spend $1.8 million a year for a 1 MW data center footprint, the investment required to install IT infrastructure in a data center is easily 10 times that much. It is a much more expensive proposition to move once you’re already in than to do all your due diligence at the outset.

Renewal terms can vary widely depending on the customer and the provider. Most commonly the terms fit into one of two categories, with a wide range of variations on the two:

  1. “Back to market rate” such that at the end of the contract any renewal is negotiated based on market rates at the time. In this scenario, rising market rates advantage the provider, but falling market rates advantage the customer.
  2. “Fixed option” such that the customer has the option to renew based on the rate paid during the last year of the contract. In this case, rising market rates advantage the customer, and falling rates advantage the provider.

Bottom line

Colocation costs are so often higher than expected because of a lack of transparency around how costs are actually determined, and a lack of flexibility to tie the data center capacity a customer is paying for to the capacity they actually need. That lack of transparency and inflexibility constrain customers’ ability to move fast. Yet moving fast is exactly what today’s economy demands. So the right data center can help IT leaders thrive, responding to changes in the business and adjusting to changes in technology. You deserve a colocation provider that’s as dynamic as your business.