Harnessing the Data Center Design Community Power!
Posted Wed, 09/01/2010 - 01:46 by geekism
The eBay modular Data Center RFP finalists are announced.
I'm stoked! Seven weeks ago, we released the Phoenix Modular Data Center RFP to the industry. The intent was to encourage companies to participate in the RFP, level the playing field and spark some real innovation. In the past we created a list of vendors that we believed were qualified to design and deliver a data center for us. We also told them how we want to build it. But this time, we just gave the parameters that we wanted to achieve. It was up to them to come back with the most creative, flexible and cost effective design they could. We truly leveleraged the talent and ingenuity of the vendors, engineerings, architects and others in the data center community.
The repsonse was even more than I had hoped for. We approved 37 company requests to participate in the RFP. That is almost 30 more than our original list. Regrettably, we had to turn away another 15 companies because they missed the window to participate. But not to worry, this is the beginning of future projects that they will be able to participate in.
The majority of the companies allowed us to share stats about them. They ranged in size from as few as 14 employees to over 320,000. Combined annual revenue was over $110B! They also had built almost 800 data centers and had 227 years worth of experience. 28 design firms, 9 manufacturers mixed with 6 partner submissions. All of them had modular experience and offerings and all of them committed to meeting their efficiency committments in the design. I don't know about you, but with that much brain power and experience, this data center project has the potential to change the game.
Now, our requirements were not easy. Multi-tier, modular, vendor agnostic, scalable, multi-temp air and liquid to each location, rack to container mixtures, 100% free cooling in Arizona year round, future-proof, extreme density, and more. But people really stepped up. In the end we received 17 official submissions. Each was ranked based on how they scored in the scoresheet which was published on the RFP status page early in the process. The companies knew what we needed, they knew how they were going to be scored and that they were competing with other very creative people in their field. There's nothing like a competition to bring out innovation. Last week, my team spent five solid days diving into the details of these submissions. And we made a conscious choice that each of the proposals had to stand on their own merit. We read what they submitted, analyzed their design based on the drawings and narratives they provided and scored accordingly. What we achieved here was a very fair process that gave us six solid finalists.
Today, I'm delighted to announce these finalists. Next week, each company will have two hours to present their solution and answer questions from our review board. In the meantime, we have also provided then with direct feedback on their proposals and how they scored. We expect each to fine tune their proposals from this feedback. It should prove to be a very interesting competition.
The Modularity Battle Continues
The eBay Modular Data Center RFP finalists are listed in alphabetical order.
I'm also sharing the additional companies that participated in the first round. 13 of them agreed to share their information, 18 requested to remain anonymous. But, each of these companies also received feedback on their proposals so they can adjust accordingly for future RFPs. We saw some very creative solutions and I believe they deserve direct feedback rather than a "sorry you were not selected, thank you for participating" answer.
As I said in my previous blog entry, I truly believe that if we openly share our challenge/problem/need with the industry, we will find incredible solutions. There's too much brainpower out there and we don't kid ourselves that we have all the answers. Along those lines, we also help our owner/operator community by pushing for innovation and sharing. While we will ultimately pick one winner to build our next eBay data center in Phoenix, we are looking for ways to give these innovative companies an opportunity to share their approaches with other DCP members. This blog entry is one of them. I also believe there is no silver bullet - i.e. a single answer for data center design. There are too many variables to consider. We will standardize on many things (containment, economizers, etc), but there will always be different approaches and that is healthy.
We created this video to announce the RFP finalists and give a bit more insight into the process we went through. It also has some great footage of the latest construction of the data center in Phoenix. Stay tuned for more updates on the datacenterpulse youtube channel.
I plan to continue sharing the details of this project with the industry as it happens. Stay tuned for more on my blog and on the Modular RFP Status Page: http://datacenterpulse.org/rfp/modular