From the Lab

Three Data Center Power Trends

Data centers consume so much energy that they might as well be called power & data centers. That’s unlikely to happen, but interest in data center power is growing all the same, as customers want to ensure that their compute operations are driven by energy that is reliably and diversely sourced, flexibly delivered and fairly priced.

Sources, Metrics and Pricing

Energy is often seen as a commodity, with one kilowatt being the same as the next. Yet it can be differentiated. Customers of large cloud-computing companies, for instance, are taking a close interest in carbon-footprint reductions and renewable resources. Most data center customers, however, have one key attribute in mind: reliability. With bad weather and aging electrical systems having led to a doubling of total blackouts over the past dozen years, customers want to work with data centers whose power supplies can withstand blows that might otherwise impact the grid.

There is also growing interest in matching costs with services. As we noted in a previous blog, it makes sense to measure data center density in terms of kilowatts per server rack and allocate different levels of power to different workloads. The economics are simply becoming more granular. An article in Data Center Knowledge made that point upfront: “Today, it’s really about specific costs, and each type of service or application has different cost models.” Better metrics can help enable this shift.

More accurate pricing is a related development. Metered pricing, which aligns costs with actual usage, may have become standard in large wholesale deals, but flat-rate pricing remains common elsewhere. The result is that many customers continue to pay for energy they are not using. Even metered models that do not assume you are going to max out may still require a monthly minimum. Data centers rarely mark up prices on electricity; yet anything but a purely metered approach can lead you to overpay.

The Keystone NAP Approach

Keystone NAP addresses all of these concerns. With four separate, industrial-grade power sources (including landfill gas and trash-to-steam) within several miles, we sidestep electrical grid vulnerabilities and support an unprecedented level of power durability. We are also flexible. Recognizing that power capacity should reflect diverse workloads, we not only customize our modular KeyBlock powering (100kW – 400kW) but also support a range of per-rack power densities (4kW – 20kW). Finally, believing that customers typically overpay for power in a flat-rate model, we operate on this simple principle: you pay for what you use, and no more.

keystone power sources