Predicting and measuring total cost of ownership (TCO) for the physical infrastructure for network rooms and data centers is required for return-on-investment (ROI) analysis and other business decision processes. In addition, an understanding of the cost drivers of TCO provides insight into opportunities to control costs. Many users are surprised when they consider that the TCO for physical infrastructure may be comparable to or larger than the TCO of the supported Information Technology equipment.

In this paper, a method for determining TCO of physical data center and network room infrastructure will be described. In this context, the physical infrastructure means all of the facility equipment needed to provide power, cooling, and physical protection of IT equipment, but not the IT equipment itself.

There are no recognized standards for measuring the TCO of the physical infrastructure of data centers. Simple methods of summing various capital and operating expense items do provide insight into total cash outlay, but they do not account for the utilization of the equipment.