NTT: Build-to-suit data centres offer customised solutions

NTT: Build-to-suit data centres offer customised solutions

NTT Global Data Centers Americas spotlights their new Phoenix data centre in Arizona designed to deliver scalable power configurations for its clients

Rising from the heat of the Arizona desert is a vast campus which has been designed to be flexible and scalable for clients of NTT Global Data Centers Americas. The 102-acre campus is taking shape in the form of NTT Phoenix PH1 - the first of seven planned  data centres on the site.  

Historically, the Phoenix economy was known for its ‘Five C’s’ - cotton, cattle, citrus, climate, and copper, but with the arrival of these data centres, aptly located on the  Elliot Road Technology Corridor, 30 minutes from the city’s Sky Harbor International Airport, another C will be joining the list - connectivity.

NTT Global Data Centers Americas (NTT) was quick to seize the opportunity of creating their latest campus in the desert landscape, allowing them the luxury of space, which will benefit their clients seeking a scalable site - especially those on the west coast looking for a new location. 

“The new campus has substantial expansion capability which will enable us to build out and benefit our clients,” said Brittany Miller, VP Design, Construction and Supply Chain at NTT Global Data Centers Americas who lives 20 minutes from the campus and watched with interest as her first campus project with NTT rose from the desert dust.

“Our build-to-suit design responds to client specific requirements for data centre builds. It's not a one size fits all anymore - being able to adapt and  rapidly implement  is where I see NTT leading the pack,” said Miller who leads the construction and supply chain team for NTT Americas in all their infrastructure builds. 

Global neutral operator

The global company, which is a carrier neutral operator offering access to multiple cloud providers, enjoys a large footprint with locations in North America, Europe, Africa and India. Clients from Phoenix to Mumbai benefit from NTT’s tailored infrastructure and experience consistent best practices in design and operations across all their scalable and customisable data centres.

Global Data Centers Americas was originally founded in 2000 under the name RagingWire. “In (add year) NTT also incorporated DPA, e-shelter, Gyron, Netmagic, NTT Communications Nexcenter, to form the global data centres division.  In 2019, NTT began the process of integrating the companies into a single division globally.

Today, the company is the world’s third largest data centre provider by IDC in their Colocation and Interconnection Services MarketScape report. NTT extends to more than 20 countries with a total of 500,000 sqm of server space.

Build-to-suit data centre design

Miller is keen to focus on NTT’s first data centre on the Phoenix campus which is due to open in February 2022 which has been built with a capability to expand. 

She pointed out why NTT selected Phoenix as a safe site for the campus as the market offers reliable and affordable power, a low risk for natural disasters, a robust fibre network, connectivity to leading cloud providers, and comprehensive tax incentives. 

“The campus is phenomenal,” said Miller, who is also responsible for the global construction and supply chain standardisation.

 “I live in Arizona, so I've seen this project rise from the sand into a vast building in the desert - I think this shows why I love construction as I can see all the hard work of the teams showing in the bricks and mortar of a data centre building.

“We’re focusing on the build-to-suit concept as another channel for customers. NTT has  the ability to expand quickly with partners and build to their requirements which is becoming more important for larger customers. We are  leveraging our internal expertise to build and design exactly what they need,” said Miller, who pointed out her team has the “knowledge and capability” to understand what a client is looking for.

“In terms of sustainability in construction and engineering,  we’re always looking at ways to make our data centres more energy efficient, using renewables in certain regions and always looking at sustainable data centre standards like LEED.”

Miller leads a unique team of diverse talent

During the past year Miller and NTT have invested in a diverse engineering and construction team that is focused on the customer perspective and requirements. 

“My team has diverse talent from Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft and this allows us to understand the client perspective and  deliver to those requirements.”

Part of Miller’s team is Toby Stapleton, Director of Business Operations Construction, Critical Facilities Engineering & Design, who has 20 years of experience in the mission critical and data centre space. 

He pointed out why NTT’s build-to-suit approach is unique. “I think our most unique qualities that set us apart are our team’s speed, flexibility and agility to react to client needs in the way that they are used to within their own organisations. This goes a long way with the stakeholders as that level of trust is needed especially with the significance of the builds we are being entrusted to deliver,” said Stapleton.

“Having been on the owner's side as with many of my colleagues here at NTT, we know in depth what our client partners go through on a daily basis. Building off our experience is key in that initial engagement, the trust is achieved quickly, a hyperscale approach is assumed and communicated early on, and this allows our customers to get into eliminating risk day one with a sense of certainty on deliverables,” he said.  

Dylan Borvansky, Director of Preconstruction, previously worked for large hyperscale clients, and with this wealth of experience on a global stage, he was able to see first-hand the challenges these large companies have and worked directly with them to create cost effective solutions to enable data centre build portfolio success. 

“This exposure to a multitude of designs from globally recognised teams has encouraged me and my team to always present the options as there are multiple ways to deliver projects,” he said. 

Commenting on how that experience better positions NTT to deliver build-to-suit projects he said: “I understand, as do many in our industry, that it is hard to remove internal legacy design elements. By working with the NTT team with a focus on providing the best quality, cost optimised and on-schedule projects, our customers are able to tap into that arsenal of information and ways to do it better with the data to back it up.  

“Each company that is interested in a build-to-suit has their own unique challenges. Our approach is to provide the flexibility to partner with our clients to find a resolution in a timely manner. Our team is unique as is our approach, and our clients realise early on that the lasting relationships formed are reciprocally beneficial.”  

NTT Phoenix PH1 Data Centre

When the new build-to-suit data centre, Phoenix PH1, opens its clients will benefit from tailored infrastructure and experience consistent best practices in design and operations across all the scalable and customisable data centres. 

The features of the data centre includes:

  • Two-story data centre designed to LEED-certified specifications for minimum water usage and maximum energy conservation, and featuring a reinforced concrete slab floor design that increases floor loading and variable rack densities
  • 36MW of critical IT load, N+1 distributed redundancy for each 6MW vault, diverse power distribution to data hall, and dedicated on-site sub-station
  • Air-cooled chillers with airside economisers and fan coil wall cooling design with hot aisle containment
  • Three diverse fibre entry points and two Meet-Me-Rooms to provide access to multiple leading cloud providers, along with global and regional carriers and ISPs offering dark and lit services
  • 24x7 security and facility operations team 

Miller points out the new scalable campus will enable enterprises to meet strategic business objectives - by accelerating time to market, improving operating efficiency and avoiding costly downtime.

Overcoming supply chain challenges

Starting at the height of the pandemic brought many challenges for Miller - the main one being supply chain but partnering with suppliers has helped her overcome this major stumbling block.

“Supply chain is  one of the largest challenges in the past year, but by partnering with our suppliers we have done a really good job mitigating risks. Without the partnership of our suppliers and risk mitigation measures , we wouldn't have been able to deliver on our commitments  this year.”

Partnership with Kohler

Miller pointed out Kohler as being one of NTT’s most important partners.

“Globally they have been instrumental in helping with some of the supply chain issues we've had in the past. We're working through a lot of first-of-the-kind with them to shorten the lead times and ensure equipment for generators are delivered on time. This has been a longstanding relationship and Kohler is definitely one of our key suppliers, especially in the US.”

Expansion to benefit hyperscalers

During the past few years NTT has expanded its global footprint and will continue to do so over the next 18 months, when they'll increase by 20%. Miller commented on how this will benefit hyperscalers around the world.

“NTT has grown exponentially, this gives clients the convenience of coming to one provider. By having one NTT and the rapid expansion that we've seen in the last couple of years, we'll offer them the ability to have one provider and one service globally which will simplify their business model. We've expanded into places that are very desirable to some of our clients so I also think this interconnection will help.

“Our build-to-suit designs respond to what clients need from their data centre builds. It's not a one size fits all and being able to adapt and quickly implement  is where I see NTT leading the pack.”

Commenting on how NTT will continue to retain its leading market position, Miller said it was based on continuing to partner with their clients and expand further into the markets along with their focus on build-to-suit.