IBM Business Partnership

Data center solutions from IBM and Data Specialties Inc.

Optimize your data center for improved flexibility and help reduce costs.


Dynamic market pressures require data center environments to rapidly adapt to business and technology growth. The explosive growth of new technologies, cloud computing and storage usage also puts new demands on the data centers. As your business adjusts to evolving regulatory environments, merger and acquisition activity or growth into new markets and new geographies, your IT must continue to support these changes and demands. However, data centers are complex and, often, static investments that are not as nimble as the business requires them to be. You must design and build your data center not only to help meet the existing requirements of availability but also to provide the flexibility to better respond to unknown future business requirements, technology and computing models. And you must do so with an eye on operational efficiency to more effectively manage costs.

IBM and Data Specialties Inc. (DSI) together can design and construct more flexible, cost-effective data centers as well as enterprise command center facilities that can help you to respond to change more effectively. Combining our superior strategy, planning, design, and engineering capabilities, IBM and DSI can provide robust data center solutions to help you meet your unique and complex requirements:

Data center strategy and planning services — help you rationalize your data center portfolio; determine and address capacity, availability and security requirements; mitigate operational risks; and better manage compliance with regulatory mandates and privacy laws.

Data center assessment, design and construction services — help you create stable, security-rich, future-ready data centers and enterprise command center facilities more cost effectively; allow you to pay as you grow by deferring significant capital and operating costs of a new data center.

The IBM and DSI synergy: Addressing a range of data center needs

IBM and DSI bring together a team with over two decades of professional collaboration and hundreds of successful data center projects behind them. Working on a nationwide platform, we provide turnkey, full-service data center design and build solutions, from the smallest regional site to nationwide rollouts. Our team is well equipped to handle projects of nearly all scales and across a broad range of industries. We also frequently fulfill more focused contracts for facility assessment; voice and data cabling; planning and installation of mechanical, electrical and fire protection systems; emergency recovery response; construction management; and ongoing maintenance services.

When our combined team meets with our client and conducts the site walk-through, we look for every opportunity to design a more flexible infrastructure that allows for future growth while providing backup systems to help optimize the overall availability of the IT infrastructure.

IBM and DSI together have implemented multiple projects, providing a single point of contact and building on our strengths and combined capabilities. We work closely together during the proposal phase of a solution when critical design decisions are made. Creating the right design, as demonstrated by our services professionals over and over again, is the key to the success of the IBM and DSI teaming.

Facilitating dexterity by aligning data center capacity to demand

Moving from large, monolithic designs to modular data center designs can help you adapt to change, provide improved flexibility to match short-term capacity requirements with long-term growth, and do so more quickly, and in a more cost-effective manner. Our modular data center design uses smaller increments of standardized components to help you match your business requirements to your IT requirements and add data center capacity when needed.

By building in smaller increments, or modules, you pay to build only what you need when you need it. This allows you to defer up-front capital expenditures by as much as 40 percent.1 This can also enable you to defer your operational expenses by as much as 50 percent.2 And you can nondisruptively scale as needed to deliver more capacity to address business demands. Closely matching capital and operating costs to changing business needs helps provide a higher level of fiscal precision in data center planning.

Supporting improved availability by assessing resiliency more accurately

Through more efficient design, IBM and DSI can help you achieve higher availability at up to 25 percent lower costs.3 We help you correctly gauge resiliency within your data center infrastructure and balance your availability objectives with the cost to achieve them, supporting you in addressing your space, power, cooling, fire protection and security needs.

Current metrics for understanding reliability typically focus on the capital costs and do not facilitate understanding the value of availability to ongoing business operations. Using your input on relative application values, recovery times, operational quality and other data, we can provide visibility into the trade-offs between the values of availability with the costs of reducing risk exposure. To balance your specific availability requirements, risk tolerance and cost objectives, we can:

  • Compare the cost of infrastructure resiliency with the business value that it protects
  • Prioritize requirements and determine the risks you are willing to accept
  • Eliminate strategy alternatives that cost more to implement than the business value they deliver

 Helping control capital and operating costs through energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is a critical metric for data center operational efficiency. Designing to optimize around the total space in the data center is no longer appropriate as the cost of the physical “shell” only makes up 10 percent of the total capital costs.4 By contrast, up to 60 percent of the capital costs to build a new data center and 50 percent of the operational costs are energy related.5 Because cumulative energy costs over the expected life — 10 to 20 years — of the data center can represent up to 75 percent of operational costs, designing to a more energy-efficient level can help you find the business value in your organization’s environmental initiatives.

Improved energy efficiency starts with accurate measurement of energy consumption. IBM and DSI data center solutions use market-leading service management software to help capture and analyze events and alerts from IT and facility assets. This analysis helps us make quicker, more insightful decisions that can reduce energy waste in the short term, and identify availability and efficiency improvements that can impact future growth.

Our approach helps you:

  • Detect and monitor near-real-time changes in power, cooling, and physical IT assets
  • Optimize utilization of power, cooling and rack capacities
  • Predict and avoid potential downtime due to energy events
  • Track historical usage information and subsequent power and cooling requirements
  • Gain visibility of enhanced building management controls for heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) in your data center

Providing a design approach that helps optimize operational efficiency

IBM and DSI’s design and build approach goes beyond merely reducing server and storage assets. We focus on right-sizing data center infrastructure and integrating IT into the heart of the business. A critical element in our approach is a single view of the data center environment, which can be achieved by consolidating complementary data center and building management components into a single energy management and measurement system.

DSI data center and facilities solutions integrate with IBM hardware and software to report on IT assets, data center infrastructure and building systems, including electrical, HVAC and security. We deploy an adaptable IT room architecture that can dramatically reduce time and complexity while providing a more resilient, dependable infrastructure. The pre-engineered, pre-configured and pre-tested power, cooling, racks, security and management architecture are integrated into the joint data center solution as part of a modular, integrated system that provides ease of management.

Standard components and simple design help reduce deployment time and the downtime from human error often associated with customization. Automated planning and design tools, open management and operations software, and a modular approach help to keep costs in check by enabling expansion as needed with a “pay-as-you-grow” approach.

About DSI

DSI is a general contractor and an IBM Business Partner dedicated to data center design and build. DSI has been an IBM Business Partner for nearly two decades and is engaged in the design, construction, installation, commissioning and maintenance of mission-critical data centers. Its services range from infrastructure analysis, site selection, master planning and conceptual engineering to project management, estimating and budgets, general construction, site relocation and moving, seismic support systems and disaster recovery reconstruction.

Why IBM?

IBM is a leading provider of data center design, construction, relocation and optimization services, with experience in building more than 30-million square feet of raised-floor data centers for organizations worldwide. Through services that encompass virtually every aspect of building and running data centers — from assessment and strategy to design and construction — IBM currently manages more than 8-million square feet in 400 IBM global data centers.

The experience gained from building and managing these vast and numerous data centers, combined with our infrastructure knowledge, structured methodology and intellectual capital, helps us to offer superior strategy, planning and design capabilities. We use this experience and expertise as well as our exceptional insights into technology and industry trends when building data centers for our clients. Using our strong partnership with DSI and strategic relationships with industry-leading power and cooling equipment vendors, we can address evolving data center energy and technology needs and deliver robust data center solutions for your organization.

For more information

To learn more about IBM and DSI solutions for data centers, contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website:

Additionally, IBM Global Financing can help you acquire the IT solutions that your business needs in the most cost-effective and strategic way possible. We’ll partner with credit-qualified clients to customize an IT financing solution to suit your business goals, enable effective cash management, and improve your total cost of ownership. IBM Global Financing is your smartest choice to fund critical IT investments and propel your business forward. For more information, visit:

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Produced in the United States of America
September 2013

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DSI is a trademark or registered trademark of Data Specialties Inc. in the United States, other countries or both.

This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates.

The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. It is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other products or programs with IBM products and programs.


1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 Based on IBM estimates and historical client data