Sharks and Data Center Strategies

August 13, 2014

This week is none other than Shark Week, when the Discovery Channel celebrates these creatures of the deep with a full week of shows centered on sharks. As we get into the spirit, we noticed several parallels between our own data center strategy and the featured fishes of Shark Week, including these interesting similarities:

Our Chicago data center is the megalodon of computing facilities

Nearly every year, there’s at least one mention of the megalodon – or “the monster shark,” as Discovery likes to call it – during Shark Week. This shark is considered one of the largest shark species that ever existed, with fossils showing that it could grow more than 60 feet in length.

Within our data center strategy, we have our own megalodon – our Chicago facility on Cermak Road. This monster of a structure boasts more than 1 million square feet of space, making it not only one of the biggest data centers within our footprint, but also one of the largest in the world.

Besides the size of this Chicago facility, our data center strategy also includes being the largest real estate investment trust in the data center industry by revenues, square footage and market cap, as noted by Motley Fool.

Sharks don’t sleep, and neither do our data centers

Because sharks must continually have water moving across their gills in order to breathe, this largely makes stopping to curl up for a deep sleep out of the question. Without this moving water, the shark would be unable to receive the oxygen they need to live, making it impossible for many shark species to sleep.

Here’s another thing our data center strategy has in common with these giants of the ocean: Just as sharks don’t sleep, neither do our facilities. In fact, in May 2014, Digital Realty’s Turn-Key Flex® facilities again achieved the “five 9’s” of data center availability – for the sixth year in a row. This means that since 2007, our facilities have been operating at 99.999 percent availability – the highest in the industry. This also means our clients benefit from the highest availability possible and have the peace of mind that, no matter what, their services will be up and running.

“During this time, our Turn-Key Flex data centers have provided nearly 325 million operational minutes, or approximately 620 site-years, of uptime,” noted Dave Caron, senior vice president of portfolio management.

Predator sharks can swim fast, but not as fast as our data center services

According to Elasmo Research, many sharks swim fairly slowly, averaging speeds of around 1.5 miles per hour while traveling through the ocean. However, when chasing down their next meal, all bets are off. For example, the Shortfin Mako shark has been recorded to swim as fast as 46 miles per hour when in pursuit of its dinner. Even the fastest Olympic swimmers can only reach speeds of about 5 miles per hour.

Just as sharks are known for their speed, so too are our data center services. Clients in our facilities can leverage our partnerships with other providers to access their resources in a matter of seconds or less. We recently sped these abilities up even further through our recently announced partnership with ComputeNext for the Digital Realty Global Cloud Marketplace. This fast access means users don’t waste any time waiting to connect with the services they need, and can leverage content at the moment they need it.

Thanks to our size, uptime and speed, our data center strategy has more in common with the ocean’s top predator than you might think.

by Matt Miszewski, Chief Shark Scientist and Oceanographer
(also Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing)

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