As the need for cloud storage surges, JLL Data Center Solutions keep enterprises perfectly grounded
If M.C. Escher was alive today, he’d surely find a compelling subject in data centers: layers upon layers of repetitive complexity, tightly contained space that can seem endless, mathematics come to life. He’d find good company among the data center real estate specialists from Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (JLL), who find compatible properties that meet the needs of high-powered clientele.
The JLL Data Center Solutions Group (DCS) specializes in locating, developing, and maintaining mission-critical sites for data centers of every size, scope, and tier level. Whether creating a center from the ground up, retrofitting an existing facility, or assuming all aspects of facility management on a project, the JLL Data Centers team handles some of the most challenging projects in real estate.
Boom! Goes the Cloud
As digital media and data consumption become the norm, the need for cloud-based storage is exploding—and North American data center growth is increasing apace. At present, JLL Critical Environment Operations runs a little over 200 million square feet of critical space around the globe.
JLL’s heavy lifting in the data center industry is divided into three aspects: brokerage, project development, and engineering and operations services.
When it comes to brokerage services, a key component is matching the enterprise client with the ideal colocation partner. “Colo” providers operate crucial data center facilities that provide the critical cooling, power, and connectivity.
“We help our clients better negotiate their space needs as they go into a colocation provider, which allows them to be able to flex up or down on their commitments to power and space as they deploy into the cloud,” said Mark Bauer, JLL’s DCS West Region Managing Director.
Web Title: Focusing on Core Competencies
Bauer noted that some JLL Data Center clients choose to concentrate on their core competencies, preferring not to be involved in the day-to-day facility management, which has boosted the popularity of renting space.
For those on a build track, JLL’s Project Development Services (PDS) acts as an owner’s agent in developing or altering real estate assets.
“Often, our clients look like deer in headlights not knowing how to deliver mission critical projects because it is such a specialty building type,” explained John Walters, Director of the PDS team.
“They look to us to run the whole development project. We get involved with building the schedules, initial budgets, and business cases to secure the funding. Then, we go out to the market and procure the design, construction, and commissioning services and manage the whole process through delivery. After that, we hand off the keys to the client.”
Echoing Bauer, Walters also pointed out that some enterprises are shifting away from the corporate owner/operator data center model to outsourcing, in part to limit capital outlays. Whatever tack an enterprise chooses to take, JLL is there to connect them to the ideal circumstances for great performance.
Managing the Data Center Ecosystem
JLL’s engineering, operations, and facility management teams are often called upon to operate and maintain the physical plant and critical environment. That’s the province of Eric Adrian, who directs those activities as National Director of Critical Environments. He gave BOSS a glimpse of some of JLL’s analytical tools.
“We have a tech platform that we call Real Estate Data and Decision, or RED. RED is an analytical platform that resides in our integrated facility management platform that pulls together portfolio data—financial information, locations, square footage, the amount of raised floor—and we have a whole group that manages AI and BI so we can run analytics across all that data.”
Web Title: Software and Platforms
A Mission Critical Information Management platform, built on Salesforce, adds a management level.
“We have AI capabilities through Einstein that we use for problem management, change management, real time rounds—anything to do with connections from a site level to a system level.”
JLL also leverages the Corrigo computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) platform, and a reliability-centered maintenance system to optimize data center maintenance and operations.
“Condition-based maintenance saves clients costs,” Adrian added.
Getting a Grip on Size
While the physical area taken up by the entirety of a data center can be expansive, the centers’ white space—the area occupied by the servers and racks at the heart of every data center—is considerably less so. For some clients, the extra space is part of a risk mitigation strategy.
“Users like to have space around them so they have a defensible zone to keep vehicles and people and offsite hazards from interrupting their facility,” Walters affirmed. “We had a 16-acre site where we built a 167,000 square foot facility. Going into the building, that 167,000 feet only supported 25,000 square feet of the white space.”
The rest of the facility was devoted to the mechanical and electrical plants, with a small space designated for people.
“The intention is to keep the power cooling and the white space functioning,” he said. “This facility generated a 4-million watt critical load of data processing power, which is enough to support 6,500 homes.”
The cooling required to keep the servers running at peak performance in that space could run the air conditioning systems for 1,000 homes.
Depending on the business and its data processing requirements, data centers vary greatly in size.
“A large data center would be about half a million square feet of white space and the total facility generally around one million [...] A client may have a portfolio of centers like that,” Bauer estimated. “That’s about the size of a small town with a population of 250,000 people.”
The uptime requirements and resilience design needs are driven by the businesses JLL supports. “What changes the scale is the tolerance for downtime that a business has,” Bauer added. “If Facebook’s Texas data center goes down, they have multiple data centers around the world to pick up the load. A corporate user may or may not have multiple locations, making it even more important that the data center operations be very robust and operational 24x7.”
Whether locating a vast campus, a single data center, or a network of facilities around the globe, JLL’s data center specialists have mastered the science—and fine art—of data center real estate.
JLL’s global Data Center Solutions team has delivered customized data center services and strategies to many of the world’s largest corporations. With the expertise of having managed 1110 megawatts of critical facilities transactions, our team assists companies with total site selection, utilizing best-in-class due diligence, in-depth TCO analysis and comparisons, risk and infrastructure assessments, project development services, migration consulting, contract and SLA negotiations, and budget preparations.
Our Capital Markets group has deep experience in the data center industry from investment property sales to debt financing and our critical facilities management team oversees 200 million square feet of critical environments. We understand the technical elements that are crucial to your facility in terms of power, cooling, fiber, latency, utilities, redundancy, taxes, construction, public incentives, and security. JLL’s Data Center Solutions team will help you determine the best IT and data center strategy to meet your business objectives.
JLL Data Center Solutions HQ
200 East Randolph Drive
Chicago, IL 60601