Large coporations once devoted ample building space to computer systems and storage, but many are now entrusting their computing infrastructure to off-site, third-party companies with stand-alone data centers. This is the core business of industry-leading Carrollton, Texas-based CyrusOne, LLC, which opened its first data center in 2001 and now serves top businesses, including more than 140 of the Fortune 1000 and 9 of the Fortune 20.
John Hatem is responsible for managing the design and construction of CyrusOne’s important properties, each of which ultimately becomes the nucleus of a client’s operations. The data centers must be secure, reliable, and powerful, and Hatem is using his background in finance and IT to standardize the process for creating them modularly, decreasing their time to market, increasing efficiencies, and reducing costs.
Q&A with John Hatem
You ran data centers for large national banks and also have an IT background. How does this help your work at CyrusOne?
I was a data-center customer before I started designing and building them, so I know the customer’s requirements more than someone with a typical real estate background would. This helps us innovate our products and make them suitable for the IT groups of the enterprise companies we serve.
How does your standardization method work? Why is it important?
Years ago, companies had to wait up to 40 weeks for a generator or specialized electrical equipment. Our advanced supply-chain strategy for major equipment gets components to us faster, and since we work with a standard design, we can get this hardware to a site within just a few weeks. The key to an effective design in our business is repeatability and predictability. Our data-center design is constantly innovated based on lessons learned. We don’t spend three years building a data center, so we’re moving much faster than anyone else. Once the shell is built, it only takes us about 14 weeks to build out a data-center hall in one of our facilities.
Why is speed so essential?
We are building 30-year assets that must accommodate technologies that change every 12–18 months. If you’re a leading corporation and you run out of data-center space due to an acquisition or a new technology, the opportunity may be lost if you have to wait two years to keep moving forward.
CyrusOne’s Development Process
1. Site selection
Each data-center project at CyrusOne begins with location scouting, whether the company is buying land or using an existing shell. Hatem and his teams use a lengthy checklist to make sure things such as power and telecommunications are on-site and available, and they then engage a small team of design, architecture, and engineering professionals who analyze conditions to determine maximum capacity through a master-planning process.
2. Data-Hall Design
Next, CyrusOne plans a data hall with expandable, modular data shells capable of handling necessary capacity for the market demand. A CyrusOne facility in Dallas, for example, spans 670,000 square feet and can accommodate 7 data halls and 65 megawatts of critical capacity. Instead of building out a master plan all at once, the company scales its construction to match its customer’s existing needs, which further reduces its standard time to market.
CyrusOne has data centers in Asia, Europe, and the United States. When operating in a new market, the company networks and partners with city planners and permitting agencies to meet the several municipal requirements necessary for successful and on-time project delivery.
From there, a CyrusOne data-center project moves into a typical construction phase. Hatem sends drawings to general contractors for bids, his company awards the project, and the clock starts as construction professionals leverage best practices and lessons learned.
Once a project is compete, CyrusOne spends two weeks working with the members of the site’s operation staff to calibrate the facility’s systems and ensure that all components are optimized to current and future clients’ satisfaction.
THE CHANDLER, AZ, DATA CENTER CAMPUS
In 2012, CyrusOne started work on a 57-acre parcel in Chandler, Arizona, to create what will become one of the nation’s largest and most-efficient data-center campuses. Phase I, completed in 2014, comprised a building with two data halls of 38,000 square feet each, and its V-shaped roof, designed to reduce energy-usage, also funnels rain away from the facility in order to replenish the site’s groundwater. The center will use 200 watts per square foot, with a capacity of 1,000 watts per square foot.
The campus, as a whole, will be able to accommodate up to eight buildings, and CyrusOne recently signed a large customer to anchor its second building. Hatem has been hard at work coordinating contractors and subs for the project, and he credits his team with setting a new internal record. Together, he and they were able to get the 120,000-square-foot tilt-wall building up and fully commission 6 megawatts and 30,000 square feet of data-center space in just 107 days.
• A 100% uptime service-level agreement on power
• Multiple levels of redundancy
• Dual underground power that feeds to an on-site substation
• Efficient chillers and a hybrid cooling system of chilled water and evaporative technology
• A raised floor
• Digitally recorded video security
• Security guards
• Secure walls around the perimeter
• A fitness center