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How A Real-Time Platform Is Optimizing Data Center Performance


When it comes to data centers, timing is important but data, and uninterrupted access to it, is everything.

Companies can lose tens of thousands of dollars every second a center is down, and even minor service incidents can result in major financial consequences

This is why businesses need access to fast, accurate data to allow engineers to tackle any issues before they spiral out of control, especially when it comes to electricity, the lifeblood of a data center.  

“Power is one of the costliest components of a data center,” said Sean Baillie, chief of staff at QTS, a leading data center provider with 26 data centers worldwide. “Companies need up-to-the-second data, and the ability to analyze and translate the data into reports to trend and forecast that cost, and the industry has not had the tools to deliver that information until now.”  

QTS has developed the industry’s first API-driven Service Delivery Platform that digitizes, correlates and automates clients’ data from across their company’s co-location deployments, so they can easily manage and optimize their data center environment in real time. The goal, Baillie said, is to allow companies to make informed decisions about key aspects of their co-location environment —  headlined by power usage — as quickly as possible.  

“QTS’ SDP goes far beyond conventional data center infrastructure management and there has never been a more pressing need for a tool like this,” Baillie said.

This is especially true since the steep price tag for power is only expected to grow. The Natural Resources Defense Council projects that U.S. data center power consumption will increase to 140 billion kilowatt-hours annually by 2020, the equivalent annual output of 50 power plants. Those high costs get passed along to end users — the NRDC estimates that increased power consumption will cost American data center users $13B annually, just to cover electricity bills.

To combat the financial and environmental impact of this consumption, the Environmental Protection Agency has encouraged companies and data centers to implement strategies to optimize their power usage, but that is easier said than done. 

“Companies hoping to optimize their power usually have to contact the data center provider and ask for a report on their usage, which can take weeks or months to get,” Baillie said. “If there’s a spike or a fluctuation, an engineer won’t know until long after the fact, when there’s nothing they can do about it.”  


With QTS’ proprietary SDP, companies can view real-time information on power consumption and trends from a laptop or mobile device without having to wait for a report.

Engineers can receive notifications when circuits and enclosures exceed 80% power draw, and identify circuits and cabinets that are underutilized or overutilized on the platform. That way, Baillie said, they can make the choice to redistribute power from one circuit to another rather than simply purchasing more.  

“Any time people can optimize their power, they’re going to save money. We can help them do that on a daily basis,” Baillie said. 

Along with power, QTS’ SDP analyzes thresholds for security and compliance, analyzes and optimizes key metrics for data center sustainability, creates virtual connections to public clouds, carrier hotels and QTS data centers and can manage day-to-day service desk and badging processes right from the customers’ phones.  

Baillie added that it was important to the QTS team to create a simple way for clients not only to view key data, but also understand it. This is why the SDP Dashboard displays information in data visuals that can drill down for very specific details.  

Baillie said that at QTS, their top goal is always to make data center users’ lives easier. This commitment is one of the reasons why the company has some of the lowest customer churn rates in the industry.  

“SDP marks the first time the data center industry has had everything — consolidated into one platform,” Baillie said. “It also provides a RESTful API access option, making it easy to export data into client systems and view in the broader context of BSS and OSS data. It’s one of the many ways we stake a claim to innovation while helping our clients save time and money.”  

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and QTS. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.