Mike Manos Comments on Changing Data Center Construction

I wrote my post on the issues with change and the green the data center on Aug 16.

Aug 16, 2009

#1 Challenge to Green The Data Center, Resistance to Change

I’ve been slow blogging this week as I have been making some changes in my business relationships and it has required a lot of my time.  I guess I was in a mood for change as Olivier Sanche announced his big change going to Apple.  My change isn’t even close to being newsworthy, but it effects who I work with, and it was time to change.

I just read a blogger Hugh MacLeod post and have his book.


Turns out Mike Manos wrote his post on changing data center construction on Aug 14.

Changing An Industry of Cottage Industries

August 14, 2009 by mmanos

If you happen to be following the news around Digital Realty Trust you may have seen the recent announcement of our Pod Architecture Services (PAS) offering.   Although the response has been deafening  there seems to be a lot of questions and confusion around what it is, what it is not, and what this ultimately means for Digital Realty Trust and our place in the industry.

Mike starts with a good description of the state of data center construction industry.

First a simple observation – the Data Center Industry as it stands today is in actuality an industry of cottage industries.   Its an industry dominated by boutique firms in specialized niches all in support of the building out of these large technically complex facilities.  For the initiated its a world full of religious arguments like battery versus rotary, air-side economization versus water-side economization, raised floor versus no raised floor.  To the uninitiated its an industry categorized by mysterious wizards of calculus and fluid dynamics and magical electrical energies.  Its an illusion the wizards of the collective cottage industries are well paid and incented to keep up.   They ply their trade in ensuring that each facility’s creation is a one-off event, and likewise, so is the next one.  Its a world of competing General Contractors, architecture firms, competing electrical and mechanical firms, of specialists in all sizes, shapes and colors.   Ultimately – in my mind there is absolutely nothing wrong with this.  Everyone has the right to earn a buck no matter how inefficient the process.

And, Mike points to a key flaws in data center design methodology.

Many designs like to optimize around the technology, or around the upfront facility costs, or drive significant complexity in design to ensure that every possible corner case is covered in the facility.  But the fact is if you cut corners up front, you potentially  pay for it over the life of the asset, if you look for the most technologically advanced gear or provide for lots of levers, knobs, and buttons for the ultimate flexibility you open yourself up for more human error or drive more costs in the ongoing operation of the facility.   The owners perspective is incredibly important.    Many times companies allow these decisions to be made by their partner firms (the cottage industries) and this view gets clouded.  Given the complexity of these buildings and the fact that they are not built often by the customers in the first time its hard to maintain that owners perspective without dedicated and vigilant attention.  PAS changes all that as the designs have already been optimized and companies can simply purchase the product they most desire with the guarantee of what they receive on the other end of the process, is what they expected.

If you read Mike’s whole post he explains how Digital Realty Trust’s POD Architecture Services addresses the flaws.

Mike started his post concerned with the confusion from the industry.  The below from my post can help explain.

If your idea is so good that it changes your dynamic enough to where you need them less, or God forbid, THE MARKET needs them less, then they're going to resist your idea every chance they can.

Again, that's human nature.


Good ideas come with a heavy burden. Which is why so few people have them. So few people can handle it.

When I read the announcement of POD Architecture Services, it was clear to me what Digital Realty Trust was trying to do, but I am ready for a change.  The market confusion is caused be resistant to change.