The Future of Data Center Facilities

The Future of Data Center Facilities

How are trends changing how data center facilities are being planned and built?

Our data-driven world needs the appropriate infrastructures in place to continually support its exponential growth and development. Data center facilities and the technology used to create them have changed over the years as human and business relationships with analytics, apps, cloud services, the Internet of Things, and other major data-computing technologies have changed. More specifically, the improvements are geared towards supplying power and increasing energy efficiency while still meeting the needs of businesses and their customers. What’s in store for the future of constructing data center facilities?

Clean Power Supply

Geographical location will always influence where data center facilities are built. A core consideration in the past has been proximity or access to fiber networks. Now, the site prerequisites include the price of local (and ideally renewable) energy sources and the surrounding cold climate. Data centers seek nearby cost-efficient and clean power sources, like hydropower plants or wind farms, as an alternative to buying electricity from other utility companies.

Furthermore, building data centers in cold climates reduces the strain on cooling systems. The Nordic region in Europe is an ideal location for data centers. The chill year-round climate cools servers. The idea of naturally cooling data center facilities has made building near or on the ocean an appealing option. For example, Microsoft developed a data center submerged in the sea near the coast of Scotland. There, the center harnessed energy from on-shore wind and solar power and off-shore hydraulic turbines. The residual heat from the servers and power systems then dissipate into the ocean.

Proximity to Emerging Markets

Another locational factor that influences the site of data center construction is the rising internet traffic demand. An opportunity for this strategy includes speeding up service to the area by reducing internet traffic congestion. Thus, when the local services and businesses do well due to improved internet connectivity, they may consider integrating their operations with the local data center. This also provides another stream of revenue to the data giants.

Structural Size

The two most significant trends in the size of data center facilities are quite ironic. Expect future data centers to both break up into many smaller, distributed centers near where the data originates, and to consolidate into large hyperscale data centers. There are very sound arguments for both construction scales that aim to facilitate longevity and development potential.

Edge Data Centers

The key reason for developing multiple smaller, distributed facilities is to build the computing resources where companies will rely on it. This way, as businesses grow and the technology improves, companies can have more direct access and control to the infrastructure that supports their innovations. Additionally, local data centers reduce data transfer and computing time, which delivers faster service that consumers have come to expect. Adaptability is vital to sustaining the longevity of a data center.

Mega Data Centers

Conversely, technological innovations also make the operation of large mega centers possible. Consolidating the servers into one massive facility or campus — with at least 1 million square feet of space — can support thousands of companies from various industries at once. These large data farms are expensive to build but make cost-efficient returns per square feet of data center space. The largest tech companies, including Facebook and Apple, are developing these data centers to support their ever-growing data management and storage needs. Moreover, smaller companies can rent server space in the data centers to support their growing needs while they can save money on their infrastructure.


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This entry was posted on Monday, December 30th, 2019 at 12:17 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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