Case Studies

Data Specialties Inc.

Specialists in Total Data Center Solutions

Data Specialties Inc. (DSI) has proven it takes more than a general contractor’s license to build a successful, efficient data center. Since its formation in 1990 the company has gone beyond simply recommending the right components and taken a holistic approach to the data center’s design, ensuring every client receives a data center that does exactly what it’s supposed to while it operates as efficiently as possible. From start to finish, DSI manages all aspects of the data center’s construction with an eye for anticipated improvements down the line.

“Our approach is to be totally honest with the clients so we can find them the best in equipment and energy-efficient design and they get exactly what they want,” asserts Steve Borley, vice president of sales and marketing at DSI. The Buena Park, Calif.-based company has also established outposts in Phoenix, Ariz.; Sacramento and San Diego, Calif.; and St. Louis, Mo. According to Borley, the company expects additional East Coast locations in the future. St. Louis quickly became an increasingly attractive location for DSI, as over 10 Fortune 500 companies and half of the top 10 data centers in North America call the city home.

In turn, the five locations provide home bases from which DSI works with clients across the country. The company maintains licensing in over 24 states, which Borley expects to continue growing. “We’re not the largest company, but we have experienced double-digit growth in the past three years,” says Borley. “So far, we are on track to exceed those numbers in fiscal 2012-2013.”

DSI understands that the data center is the lifeblood of its clients’ operations, as well as an extremely vital component of a global economy. Especially in the wake of the economic downturn, clients are looking to ensure the data center built today will be able to stand up to tomorrow’s data needs. The design-build contractor’s staff of professionals represents a mix of data center engineers, designers, electrical and construction experts, all of whom enable DSI to provide a concise and comprehensive data center assessment for every project.

A Scalable Data Center Design

Whether an existing data center needs an upgrade or the client wants to start from scratch, the DSI team will set conclusive parameters for the system in terms of budgeting, performance and longevity to design the optimal mission critical facility. “Designing a data center is truly an art, because there’s absolutely no system in a data center that is totally autonomous,” asserts Borley. “Every system affects every other system and even the placement of equipment and cabling can impact the air flow and make a data center incredibly inefficient; accurate planning from the beginning is the key to success.”

The DSI team understands that a modular/scalable data center design is more flexible and provides a better return on investment for the client. DSI works to ensure that components are as small as possible, that every center has safeguards for maximum reliability and redundancy, that equipment and cabling are placed for optimal air flow as well as that every data center design anticipates the inevitable upgrade.

In fact, DSI recently completed work on a modular and scalable data center for Dunn Edwards Paints’ Phoenix manufacturing headquarters in summer 2012. The timing was perfect for an upgrade as Dunn Edwards relocated its manufacturing operations from the Los Angeles area. DSI outfitted the new center with amazing amenities, which include web-based monitoring system, in-row cooling, a standby generator, fire and life safety systems, an APC uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system and a redundant chiller/pump system using modular units to expand and scale capacity as needed.

The benefit of operational energy efficiency is two-fold, as an efficient data center contributes to a healthier bottom line for the client and also reduces the client’s carbon footprint. To that end, DSI will help clients navigate the possibility of pursuing LEED certification for the data center. Even if LEED certification isn’t in the cards, DSI’s focus on system longevity minimizes waste further down the road, as systems could easily be updated and expanded upon before reaching the point of complete replacement.

For Today and Tomorrow

The diversity of DSI’s client base is testament to its success. DSI works with clients in every market, including entertainment, finance, telecommunications and national defense. A shortlist of DSI clients includes DreamWorks Studios, Universal Studios, Walt Disney Studios and Imagineering, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, IBM, HP, and a number of naval air stations across California and western Nevada. “We seem to always be able to solve our client’s problem because we have a really intelligent and connected workforce that we’re very proud of,” admits Borley.

In the next few years DSI will likely continue its eastward expansion and add a sixth outpost on the East Coast. Borley attests that DSI has also received its fair share of international inquiries, including clients as far away as Mongolia, South America, India and United Arab Emirates.

Though an international expansion isn’t on the table just yet, the DSI team would never turn a client down if a mutually beneficial international opportunity arose. “Looking ahead I think our biggest challenge will be finding enough skilled people to keep up with our growth, because it seems to be an industry with a shortage of talented and expertly skilled data center industry professionals,” opines Borley.

In the short term at least, DSI will focus its efforts on handling the manageable amount of work coming in, while also looking to increase the company’s visibility on the web. The company has already doubled its web traffic due to a stronger commitment to keen search engine optimization management, which has boosted the number of incoming inquiries substantially. Additional focus will be spent on continued nationwide expansion and market visibility, as well as the rollout of a one-day DSI professional data center design-build educational seminar. The seminar will begin in 2013, as DSI currently provides instructors for the CDCDP training program delivered by Cnet, a United Kingdom-based company.

By helping clients save money, recognize the benefits of the design-build model and its speed to market, while also reducing the company’s carbon footprint in the process, DSI has ascended to where it is in today’s market. With every completed data center, the company team reinforces Data Specialties Inc.’s reputation as a leader in efficient, cost-effective data center design and construction.

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Spring 2018



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