Choosing a data centre is an important decision, but one that can be difficult to manage especially when you only have existing information available.

Pricing is a key part of this decision, but, unless you can predict the future, customers are often left with a choice of either overestimating their power use (and buying power they don’t need) or underestimating and paying an extra fee.

We believe pricing should be fair and transparent, and that you should only pay for the power you use, with the ability to increase or decrease your use as you need to.

We think there should be no hidden costs and you shouldn’t be charged multiple times for one-off services. Transparent billing and a clear understanding of what you’re getting are essential if you’re to get the most out of a move to a data centre.

How does it work?

Traditionally, customers are expected to know exactly how much infrastructure they will need for the duration of their contract. Customers may be also asked to pay ongoing monthly charges for services that don’t really have ongoing costs. Cross-connect fees (charges for the physical cables that connect your rack to different termination locations like telcos, network, or cloud providers), for example, will often see customers paying monthly for the installation of cables which don’t require any further work once they’re in place.

This model, known as the ’allocated power’ model, means your contract is fixed to an allocation of power, regardless of what you actually use. The idea is you might need the extra power, so you pay for it even if you don’t need it. Customers spend their time estimating the potential peak of their use and buy power to meet that level, often over-spending as a result.

If your rack uses 2.1 to 2.4kW (kilowatts), for example, you might request a 3kW rack to give you some clearance. That’s an extra allowance you might need, but equally, you might not.

Or, if you use 2.8 to 2.9kW you might opt for a 3kW rack as it gives you some clearance. But, if you consume 3.1kW, you will pay a penalty charge for the extra power, typically rounded up to the nearest kilowatt and charged at a 50 per cent premium.

And, of course, you have to plan ahead of time for every expected and unexpected situation you may face throughout the course of your contract – so if you decide to move some services into the cloud, for example, that’s just too bad. You keep paying the extra even if you’re not going to use it.

Consumption-based pricing

At Datacom, we don’t really think it’s fair to expect you to be able to determine your monthly power needs over the full-term of a contract and to charge you for any variation to that.

Instead, our pricing is based on a combination of fixed charges for things that don’t change, and variable charges for the things that do. We offer flexibility which allows you to even alter the number of racks you require as your needs change.

When you sign up with us, we ask for an estimate of demand but only to make sure we have the infrastructure in place to meet those needs; not to work out your bill. Your bill is based on what you actually use and if you use more or less than you initially guessed, then we adjust your bill accordingly.

We also don’t charge a monthly fee for things like cross-connects. Once they’re installed that’s it – no more charges.

Let’s take an example of a full rack of servers with a power rating of 8-10kW. It’s not likely you’ll run those at 100 per cent capacity, all day, every day – your daily usage is more likely to be around 4kW.

With allocated pricing, you would pay for 10kW to avoid penalty charges regardless of what you actually use.

At Datacom, with our consumption-based pricing, we would charge you for the rack space and exactly for the power you consume, whether it’s 4kW,5.7kW or 9.9kW. And if your usage drops, we reduce the price you pay. 

We also make it easier for you to manage your costs. By bundling together all those often hidden extras, like reporting, auditing, recycling, on-floor technical support, media services, and more into simple, fixed-monthly fees, you know exactly what you’re getting each month. Our customers can also change rack space requirements with just 30 days’ notice.

All this adds up and over the course of a three-year contract, customers save thousands of dollars per rack.

Talk to us about our fairer approach to billing and let’s see if we can help you better manage your data centre needs.

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