Integrated Design Group Tracks the Data Center Boom

By: Peter Norris

Boston is a burgeoning data center market, having just been moved from Tier1 Research’s ’emerging market’ category onto their list of Top 10 Data Center Markets in the U.S. The new data center in Needham that Integrated Design Group designed for Digital Realty is an example of data center growth in the state.

Appropriately, Real Estate BisNow chose Boston as the city in which to host its Data Center Boom event. I participated in their panel along with other industry experts– Digital Realty’s Kevin Dalton, Goulston & Storrs’ Ray Kwasnick, BlackRock’s Barry Novick, NStar’s Patrick McDonnell, and Jones Lang LaSalle’s Greg Zais — to discuss major trends in Boston and in data center design in general.

Here are some major highlights discussed by the panel:

  1. The drivers for this growth are new streaming mobile applications.  These applications are used by handheld and tablet devices, massive storage units of information by social networks, corporate markets and the new generation of blade computers that require upgraded infrastructure.
  2. Fewer people are building their own data centers unless they are large, stand-alone facilities. Does this mean data centers are going away? Not at all. Growth will continue on the multi-tenant facilities as well as with large independent corporate facilities. .
  3. Clients demand flexible and scalable data center design. Integrated Design Group knows this to be true; almost all of the data center projects we design allow for future, incremental growth with focus on energy efficiency. Our design for the University of California at Santa Barbara’s North Hall data center is one example.
  4. Cost of electricity and tax incentives will drive new data center projects out of Massachusetts. EMC, Fidelity and TJX are three locally-headquartered companies that are known to be building data centers elsewhere. These factors could certainly be part of the reason.
  5. Data centers get a bad reputation as energy squanderers. Yes, data centers consume a lot of energy but it’s important to think about the resources that they’ve replaced, for instance; fuel and paper. Integrated Design Group has designed seven LEED-certified data centers and developed energy-efficient data center technologies that have led to lower PUE and costs for our clients.

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