The demand for data centers hit new highs in 2020, and in 2021 it went even higher. According to JLL’s Year-End Data Center Outlook, the U.S. absorbed 885.7 megawatts across 14 domestic markets, which represented a 44.3% increase year-over-year from 2020.
While the U.S. data center market is skyrocketing, most decisions about data centers are made on a global level. That is why Bisnow recently spoke with Danielle Rossi, global director of mission-critical cooling for Trane, an internationally recognized brand in HVAC and building management systems, and Garay “Doc” Goglio, senior account executive at Boland, a holistic building services provider, commercial HVAC company — and the local factory-authorized service representative for Trane — to learn more about what's happening in the market.
“The partnership between Trane and Boland is so important because you have the equipment and support on a global level and the strength, speed and support of a large local team that is trained to service and maintain data centers,” Goglio said.
Bisnow: Where do you see the data center market heading in the next few years?
Rossi: The market will be heading toward the hyperscale — massive business-critical facilities — and colocation space. A lot of enterprise data centers are going to be moving into those markets and outsourcing their storage. Capacities are rising, and facilities are expanding from one-story buildings to two- or three-story spaces with more megawatts than ever before.
Goglio: We’re seeing much higher rack densities — more equipment is being put into data center racks and they are having higher chip capacities, and facilities have also needed to increase their physical footprints as well. With this increased capacity comes increased maintenance, cooling and other needs to keep facilities running smoothly.
Bisnow: What reliability/redundancy tools should owners be considering?
Goglio: Often, when people think of reliability, they think of equipment redundancy. They have two units and they can use one in case of a failure. But a lot of people don’t think about things from a service standpoint.
You need to make sure you have a service team in place to help ensure reliability — you need to have people who are trained properly and are equipped to handle the product you have.
You also need to have the right integration between maintenance partners and equipment suppliers, especially considering the major supply chain issues we are facing now. It’s not just about equipment reliability, it’s about personnel reliability as well.
Rossi: When it comes to redundancy, we’re seeing that some larger data center clients are working to eliminate risk by spreading their racks out over several different locations. This is key for disaster recovery: to have a complete, separate location at least 100 miles away from your first location so you always have a recovery option somewhere else. Some hyperscale centers have 10 or 12 different network feeds coming in so they are always supported on the network side as well.
Bisnow: What types of equipment should owners be investing in?
Rossi: If I were building a data center, I would be sourcing my long-lead-time items. With supply chain constraints and availability, chillers, generators, etc., should be planned well in advance. Investment in phase 1 of a project is key to ensuring the timing of installation.
Goglio: The way the supply chain is right now, any equipment investment and planning that owners can do ahead of time is key. Even in a normal market, chillers have the second-highest lead times next to generators, and we’re having people call us saying they want a chiller by tomorrow.
In reality, every vendor is going through the same thing right now. So if you can plan ahead of time and know what equipment you might need in 2024 and 2025 and share those forecasts with suppliers now, you will be much better prepared to get the equipment you need in the future.
Bisnow: What tips or tricks can data center owners start implementing immediately to improve their facilities?
Goglio: To me, it’s all about fundamentals. Owners need to engage in regular preventative maintenance, take care of their equipment and keep it clean. That’s what will win it for facility owners, not delaying or forgoing maintenance.
Rossi: The simplest things can make a big difference — cleaning your coils, using blanking panels — these basic steps can go a long way toward improving your power consumption. It’s not difficult to understand that when people forget to clean the lint out of the lint trap in the dryer, the dryer eventually stops working as well. This is the same idea, but on a much larger scale.
This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and Boland. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.