Winning Data Center customers, being an entrepreneur – Digital Realty Trust leading LEED certification

I was having a discussion with a data center manager and made the point that what is interesting is whether people are being data center managers or data center entrepreneurs.  Good leaders know how to do both and when it is appropriate.

A well written paper on entrepreneurship is Saras D. Sarasvathy.

So, what makes entrepreneurs entrepreneurial?

Entrepreneurs are entrepreneurial, as differentiated from managerial or strategic, because they think effectually; they believe in a yet-to-be-made future that can substantially be shaped by human action; and they realize that to the extent that this human action can control the future, they need not expend energies trying to predict it. In fact, to the extent that the future is shaped by human action, it is not much use trying to predict it – it is much more useful to understand and work with the people who are engaged in the decisions and actions that bring it into existence.

An example of entrepreneurial is Digital Realty Trust’s efforts to have the highest LEED ratings for its portfolio of data centers. I’ve sat in many discussions where the cost benefit analysis is done for LEED points.  I would imagine the conversations at Digital Realty Trust are different when they say “We will be Platinum.  Figure out how to make it cost effective.”

DataCenterKnowledge and others are helping to market LEED buildings.

In Santa Clara, ‘Green’ Speeds Toward Platinum

November 24th, 2009 : Rich Miller


1201 Comstock is one of the Digital Realty data centers in Santa Clara, Calif. that has received a LEED Platinum certification.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – An unassuming industrial park near San Jose Airport is hardly where you’d expect to find some the greenest acres in the data center industry. The Santa Clara, Calif., campus operated by Digital Realty Trust is home to three data centers with a Platinum or Gold rating under the LEED standard for energy efficient buildings.

What is the value of the Platinum and Gold ratings? Well Digital Realty has some big brand companies in the space.

Digital Realty, the largest data center operator in the U.S., has used its Santa Clara operation to refine an energy efficient design using fresh-air cooling, which has made the site a magnet for some of the fastest-growing companies in the digital economy.

Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo all have their servers housed here. NVIDIA, which is seeking to harness its GPU technology to power cloud and high performance computing, has leased an entire data center here as well.

And, makes Gold LEED a me too statement, and the new news is about platinum.

Where LEED certification was once seen as a difficult hurdle for mission-critical sites, companies like Digital Realty are demonstrating the ability to build data centers to the very highest levels of the specification, and do so with remarkable speed. The two LEED Platinum facilities at the Santa Clara campus were completed in less than eight months, far less than the 18 to 24 months typically required for an enterprise data center project.

As DataCenterDynamics quotes.

“Achieving LEED platinum certification means that attention has been paid to every aspect of the building's design and construction, including the operating energy efficiency of the finished datacenter as well as often overlooked, key issues such as building materials, materials re-use and construction practices," DRT CTO Jim Smith said in a statement. DRT announced the achievement on Monday.

Digital Realty Trust is able to market its capabilities above the rest and first to market.  That’s being an entrepreneur.

I wonder how much interest there is now in Digital Realty’s POD data centers.

Digital Realty employs a Turn-Key Datacenter design offering customer data center pods available in units of 1.125 megawatts.