Supply chain constraints, growth in competition and increasing demand mean that data centre owners are under pressure to deliver new capacity. The need is urgent – every day of delay when constructing new centres can mean up to £800,000 in lost income.
With build costs for a data centre usually ranging from around £25 to £40 million, this delay in payback is serious. These high downtime costs are created in part because it is an extremely competitive sector.
Data centre owners prioritise projects in regions with low capacity but strong signals of demand. In the race to gain market share, even one day delay on a project can lead to another data centre business potentially gaining geographical data traffic, alongside the aforementioned loss of income.
With the growth in cloud-based computing and services, streaming and IoT-connected devices demanding more from data centres than ever before, keeping up with their construction is vital. The further the data centre from the user, the slower the download speed. New locations are essential if companies want to provide high-quality service, meet demand and maintain their competitive edge.
Supply chain woes
One of the main causes of delay for these projects is supply chain issues. Data centres have a limited number of high-quality suppliers for non-construction equipment, like HVAC equipment, power generators and servers. Despite many data centre businesses being household names, they still have up to a two-year lead time for these products. If the supplier pushes the deadline even by a small percentage of the overall time, this can have significant revenue implications.
As with many construction projects, another cause of delay is the limited availability of labour. Data centres require a large range of highly specialised workers when it comes to the fit-out, including specialist electricians, mechanical tradespeople and technicians. Aligning these people on the specific day they are needed can be a logistical challenge, especially with supply issues.
The AI solution
With every day so valuable, data centre owners are turning to technology to help them manage projects and remove risk so that they can have the confidence that their projects will meet deadlines.
One of these systems is ALICE Technologies. It is the world’s first Artificial Intelligence-powered construction simulation platform. It works by users uploading a 3D model or logic diagram for their project before adding information relating to labour, materials, equipment and construction methodology. In ALICE, this information is combined in what is called ‘Recipes’, and ALICE uses this information to create multiple scheduling options.
By adding various constraints, including specific challenges or potential delays, owners can test different scenarios to see how they will influence the project delivery date and costs. “ALICE allows data centre owners and their teams to proactively create a plan of action to address challenges before it is too late. By their nature, these projects often need intervention,” said Kushal Dagli at ALICE Technologies.
Owners can also use technology to help them forecast risks. If something goes wrong, general contractors commonly ask owners what course of action they would like to proceed with. In most situations, owners take the best guess and hope that the cost of that decision is minimal. Instead, owners can use technology like ALICE to understand the implications of decisions and make more informed choices.Click below to share this article