Cloud computing and IoT have increased the amount of data that is being generated and stored, thereby driving growth of the Data Centre construction market. Today, even small and medium-sized businesses are looking to have their own data centres. This rising demand for data centres has led to a scarcity of land available for building new data centres and poses a challenge for many firms to house their data centres with the right infrastructure.
As rental rates increase due to reduced supply, firms are exploring alternate options to counter the effects of land constraint.
Co-location data centres
High costs involved in establishing new data centers are encouraging firms to manage their business data through colocation hosting. Colocation data centre is a facility in which a business rents out a space for their servers and other hardware. These data centres provide the infrastructure in the form of shared and secure space (the building, cooling, bandwidth, power and security) to store hardware related to data and other equipment. Colocation offers enterprises the ability to meet business demands at significantly lower costs. With greater competition in this space, increasing number of service providers are offering diversified services to its clients, which include implementing several innovative technologies like hyper-converged infrastructure, hyper-scale storage, software-defined networks and big data analytics to enhance their service offering.
Underground Data centres: Computing Below the Ground
With limited land sites and increasing rentals, people are moving towards the concept of underground data centers or bunkers. More firms prefer ultra-secure underground hosting for their IT operations. Most of these locations are old limestone and military underground bunkers that are being used to build these underground data centres. For example Cavern Technologies Data Centres in Kansas that has its servers 125 feet under the ground, Iron Mountain, located 220 feet underground in a limestone cave outside Pittsburgh, the Bunkers, UK , Bahnof Piene, Sweden to name a few.
Underground data centres work in favour of the client as it helps in saving time and cost during the construction phase. For example, limestone mines are hollowed out and therefore do not need to be created, all one needs to do is frame the underground structure with the right infrastructure. In terms of cost, savings are in the form of cost incurred in disaster-proofing the facility as most natural disasters like earthquakes and tornadoes do not affect spaces that are underground. The challenge we see with these underground data centres is the cooling system. Underground spaces are naturally cool, but that doesn’t mean it remains the same when exposed to the kind of heat emitted from the equipment in a data centre. Thus cooling and ventilation is a cause of concern for underground data centres.
Brownfield Sites: Abandoned Structures
Brownfield sites, in agriculture terms, are referred to sites that were previously being used for industrial or commercial purposes but have been abandoned for a long time. For example, abandoned factories or gas stations that went out of business or empty malls. These Brownfield sites are effective because they already have access to basic infrastructure like roads, water and sanitation system. This helps save in terms of time and cost on the construction of these structures. However, what can be a cause of concern here is the suitability of the facility. If found suitable, the place needs to be decontaminated prior to modifying it to suit the current needs, making it a time-consuming process.
Microdata centres - The Next Frontier in Data centres
It is believed that Microdata centres are the next big thing in data centers. These are miniaturized data hubs that enable faster, easier and more cost effective way to build and deploy micro data centers. These data centres can be rapidly deployed indoors or outdoors, even in rugged terrains, are reliable and their modularity make them ideal for those wanting to scale up to larger data centers. Additionally, it provides an excellent level of resilience as the failure of one micro data center can be absorbed by others on the network taking up its load.
Apart from internet of things (IoT) and cloud computing, the bandwidth created by wearable technologies and data analytics is also expected to increase the need for data centers, which will add greater emphasis on evaluating alternate options for storing data. With demand not likely to recede, we will definitely need to look at alternate options. Probably even a nano data center in the future…Anyone?