Example of Weighted Matrix for Evaluating Data Centers

In his book Business Continuity Planning for Data Centers and Systems: A Strategic Implementation Guide, Ronald H. Bowman provides a useful framework for methodically evaluating and selecting a data center location from a group of candidates by using a weighted matrix system. The table below is an example of a completed matrix. (Click here for a discussion on creating a useful matrix and generating appropriate scores for prospective sites.)

Site A Site B
Site Score: 39% 252 Site Score: 51% 328
Weighting Description Rating Score Description Rating Score
Available White Space 3 To be built; 20,000 data center space available, space in mountain. 12–24 months for delivery 4 12 9,000 sf white space 4 12
Price 2 $45 per sf per month per year 0 0 Pricing next week; est. $876 per ft per year including power 1 2
Existing Total Project Sq Footage 4 none; ROW’s established to surface of mountain 4 16 31,500 white space 1 4

Zoning (If rezoning is required what is the impact?)

4 As-of right 1 4 As-of right 4 16
Description 3 All land in mountain; horizontal, 34 feet to ceiling; multistory in mountain 3 9 Multistory; multitenant 0 0
Water and Water Storage Second Source (highlevel study of well and aquifers) 5 Surface storage 1 5 As-of right 4 20
Sewer to satisfy data center (and runoff) 4 In place; pumps and pumping required 0 0 As-of right 4 16
Security Setbacks: berming, etc. 4 In mountain, multiple tenants 0 0 Triple fail-safe, in place; multiple users 4 16
Accessible Public Transportation (access for vendors and home office, not daily commutation) 2 None 0 0 None 0 0
Soil Conditions (benefits and drawbacks of solid or rock foundations) 3 Dolomite mountain 1 3 In building 1 3
Human Resource Depth (other companies nearby, college/universities) 4 TBD 0 0 Atlanta 4 16
Proximity to Current Data Center Operations 5 301 miles 2 10 389 miles 2 10
Sales Tax(local/state) 5 7.23 1 5 0% 4 20
Installation Costs(local labor) 3 TBD 0 0 TBD 0 0
Power Plant/Rough Order of Magnitude Pricing 3 8 miles 1 3 None 4 12
Cost per kWh (peak/off peak) 5 4.9 0 0 Included 4 20
Tariffs (other) 3 TBD 0 0 Included 0 0
EDC Benefits(local) 4 TBD 0 0 Included 0 0
State (incentives) 4 TBD 0 0 Included 0 0
Telco Transmission Costs 5 Century Tel; Lycor, Empire State 0 0 Included 0 0
Power/Electricity: 150 watts/sf capability/scalability: 30 megawatts capability from each substation. Day 1 power of 5MW from each substation) 5 150 watts per sq ft plant in design 2 10 168 watts per sq foot 4 20
Diverse Electrical Feeds from Separate Substations (route distances for each—aerial or terrestrial; note highway, railroad, or other ROWs that create risks) 5 2 substations in place 4 20 2 feeds; 1 substation 3 15
Facilities Fiber and Telecom (3 facilities based providers, separate ROWs) 5 In place 1 5 TBD 0 0
Longitude/Latitude TBD 0 0 TBD 0 0
Generators (Department of Environmental Protection, Environmental Protection Agency) 3 TBD 0 0 6 generators; 2.5 megawatts 4 12
Fuel Storage (potential challenges of service storage or buried) 4 Surface 1 4 In place; days 3 12
Floodplain: 100/500 (portion or percentage of Acreage in flood zone as well as access roads in flood zone) 5 In mountain 4 20 500 year 4 20
Earthquake 4 In mountain, near fault 2 8 Nonseismic 4 16
Tornado/Hurricane(highlighting sensitiveness to disruption of OSP services: power poles, power towers, etc.) 4 In mountain 4 16 Some risk 2 8
Wildfires 3 In mountain 4 12 Some risk 2 6
Landslide Possibilities 3 In mountain 4 12 None 4 12
Drought 2 Water pumping may be issue 1 2 Currently 0 0
Snow/Ice (relevance to power lines, fiber optic lines, and road access/accidents) 4 Roads and power risk 1 4 Low risk 3 12
Lightning Activity 4 In mountain 4 16 Some risk 3 12
Composite Risk (overall) 4 Average 2 8 Moderate 2 8
Distance from Railroad Freight and Passenger (minimum of 3,000 linear feet) 4 In mountain 4 16 TBD 0 0
Regional Declared Disasters (within past 10 years) 3 TBD 0 0 TBD 0 0
Nuclear Power Plant Proximity (minimum of 18 Linear miles/shaded to 50 miles downwind of potential event) 3 In mountain 4 12 TBD 0 0
Highway Proximity (minimum of 3,000 feet 4-lane highway) 4 1 mile to Route 65 1 4 3 miles 1 4
Airport Proximity (minimum of 15 linear miles from FBO or commercial airfield) 4 TBD 0 0 15 miles 1 4
Hazardous Facilities (minimum of 5 linear miles of contaminated soil or water) 4 Other tenants 1 4 TBD 0 0
Natural Gas Lines: transmission and distribution (minimum of 3,000 linear feet from pressurized transmission lines) 4 TBD 0 0 TBD 0 0
Electronic Interference(minimum of 2 linear miles from point to point or panel system) 3 In mountain 4 12 TBD 0 0
Building Department Process Case 2 TBD 0 0 TBD 0 0
 

From Business Continuity Planning for Data Centers and Systems: A Strategic Implementation Guide by Ronald H. Bowman. Copyright 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.