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So You’re New to Data Centers… Here’s What You Need to Know

In today’s world, data centers are essential for many businesses. They store huge amounts of information, like the pictures on your phone, the YouTube videos you watch, and documents you access daily for work. As more and more information is created, and the Internet of Things takes over the most mundane aspects of life, we need even more data centers! However, data centers are very technical and complex, and are often not understood by the average person. This blog aims to help anyone understand the basic needs and cost drivers of building a data center!


Keeping the Lights On

Every data center needs a reliable source of electricity to power all the computers and equipment. Here are some things to consider when figuring out how much this will cost:

  • Where is the power coming from? Ideally, the data center should be close to a substation and have a backup plan in case of power outages or interruptions.
  • Being Green: Using renewable energy sources like solar or wind power can save money in the long run and help the environment.
  • Thinking Ahead: It can take a long time to get hooked up to the electricity grid, so planning ahead is important. In some cases, data centers might even generate their own power.


Finding the Right Spot

Location is another big factor in how much a data center costs. Here’s why:

  • Permissions and Rules: Every region has its own rules about building structures. Data centers might require special building permits due to their location and geographic features.
  • Close to Everything or Not: Being near internet hubs and transportation makes it easier and faster to move information. However, land close to these areas is often more expensive and harder to acquire.
  • Considering the Environment: Data centers can use a lot of water for cooling. Building in an area with water shortages could be a problem or limit available cooling solutions deployed.


The Big Investment

Building a data center requires a lot of money upfront to buy equipment and build the facilities. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The Cost of Everything: From the computers themselves to the capital equipment, everything adds to the total price tag. Careful planning is needed to make sure the budget is met in support of sales requirements.
  • Material Prices Change: The cost of raw materials like steel and concrete can fluctuate, so data center projects need to be flexible with their budget planning.
  • Long-Term Costs: It can take time to make back the money invested on building a data center. Understanding interest rates and the cost of money is important.
Water Worries

Water is essential for keeping data centers cool, but using too much can be a problem. Here’s why:

  • Using Less Water: Newer cooling systems use less water or even air instead. This can save money and help the environment.
  • Optimizing Water Use: Data centers can also use strategies like improved airflow and special cooling techniques to reduce their reliance on water.
  • The Rise of AI: With the growing adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which generates a lot of heat, data centers are increasingly turning to direct-to-chip or full immersion cooling methods. These advanced cooling technologies are highly effective but may require more water management planning depending on the chosen system.


The People Behind the Project

Building a data center requires a team of skilled workers, from engineers to construction crews. Here are some things to consider when it comes to labor costs:

  • Location, Location, Location: The cost of labor can vary depending on where the data center is being built and might have limited availability.
  • Specialized Skills: Building a data center requires expertise in many areas, such as electrical, mechanical cooling systems, plumbing and computer networks. Finding qualified workers can affect the cost.
  • Planning for the Future: The demand for data centers is rapidly growing, while the skilled workforce pool may not be keeping pace. This can lead to challenges in finding qualified workers and could potentially drive up labor costs.


Building a data center is a complex project with many financial considerations. Understanding the cost drivers is the first step toward a successful project. But navigating the intricacies of data center construction goes beyond basic knowledge.

That’s where Empirix Partners comes in. We take the complexity out of the equation, guiding you through every step of the process.  Our team of experts simplifies technical jargon, anticipates potential challenges, and helps you make informed decisions to optimize costs and achieve your data center goals.

Let’s get the conversation started.

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