Colocation: The success of the Atlanta Data Centre Market
The Atlanta Data Centre Market is quickly outgrowing its reputation as a secondary market, and is quickly emerging as one of the top markets throughout the United States. All of this means that it is becoming a vital hub within the data centre industry. But what makes this market different and so perfect for growth?
Atlanta currently boasts 47 data centres, according to Datacentres.com from some of the biggest colocation providers from around the world, such as Equinix, DataBank, QTS Data Centers, Digital Realty, Cyxtera and many more. Alongside these, the market is also home to privately owned hyperscale facilities.
Perks of the Atlanta market
Atlanta is quickly becoming one of the fastest developing data centre markets for a number of reasons.The city's low energy and utility prices, moderate climate with low risk of natural disasters, business activity and infrastructure all contribute to making it the perfect profile and area for investors, owners and operators.
When compared to other data centre markets around the US, Atlanta’s is ideally situated in the state of Georgia which has a low-risk profile for natural disasters, such as tornadoes, earthquakes, flooding and wildfires. This means its data centre infrastructure is less likely to be damaged from these naturally occurring disasters than other markets throughout the entire country.
Atlanta ranks incredibly high in numerous categories such as Metro Area for Business Climate, Metro Area for Corporate Headquarters and Metro Area Tech Hub just to name a few. Due to its continued and outrivaled growth, it has been coined ‘The Capital of the Southeast’ and is only set to continue innovating.
Seven of the fortune 100 companies, including Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines and AT&T Mobility, are headquartered in Atlantas metropolitan area and over 75% of them have some sort of presence in the city.
Energy costs in the state are also unrivaled, as they are approximately 50% lower than the national average, thus making it increasingly desirable in the data centre industry. Not only are energy and utility prices much lower, there is also a vast mix of energy sources within the state, including hydropower, coal and natural gas.
Finally, the state and city are extremely accessible to the rest of the world. The Hartsfield-Jackson airport has been ranked number one in the US as the busiest airport in the country and the city boasts the nation’s 9th largest public transport system.
All of these unique benefits have helped contribute to make the Atlanta Data Centre Market what it is today, and with further innovation and development the market is only believed to continue to grow.
NUS and NTU launch cooling project for tropical data centres
The National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), have announced a project in an attempt to source and develop new cooling solutions for data centres located in tropical areas. According to the companies, the programme costs S$23mn (US$17.1mn) and plans to research, build and test innovative and sustainable cooling solutions.
The Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT)
The NUS and NTU say that the Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT) will act as a research point and innovation hub for the project. Facebook, along with the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF), is also involved, providing funding for the programme. Further support from other partners includes the Infocomm Media Development Authority, Ascenix, CoolestDC Keppel Data Centres, Red Dot Analytics, and New Media Express.
Commenting on working with the companies, Facebook Vice President of Infrastructure, Alex Johnson, said: “We are excited about the opportunity to partner NUS, NTU, Keppel Data Centres and the CoolestSG community to develop innovative solutions that reduce the carbon footprint and energy consumption of the average data centre, particularly those located in tropical areas like Singapore”.
The NTU and NUS highlight that Singapore houses 60% of Southeast Asia’s total data centre market, and aims to supply 12% of the country’s total energy needs by 2030. This results in the need to reduce the carbon footprints and power consumption of data centres, meaning more innovative cooling solutions are required, the NTU and NUS said.
Professor Chen Thuan, Deputy President of Research & Technology at the NUS, said: “Data centres are a critical enabler of the digital economy, but the average data centre can exert a significant environmental burden. Aligned with RIE 2025, sustainability is a key research focus of NUS, and our researchers have deep expertise in developing integrated solutions for tropical, urban and Asian settings”.
How will the Sustainable Tropical Data Centre Testbed (STDCT) help to provide cooling solutions?
According to the NUS and NTU, the STDCT will be built using equipment such as a novel desiccant-coated heat exchanger and a StatePoint Liquid Cooling System (SPLC) designed by both Nortek Air Solutions and Facebook. The institutions also say they will adopt chip-level hybrid cooling to ensure servers remain cool.
Furthermore, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) will aim to manage the “smart operations” of the technologies so that the data centres are water and power efficient, as well as able to preserve equipment and servers.
The NTU and NSU said in a joint statement the combination of the cooling technologies could reduce energy consumption “significantly” and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25%, compared to traditional air-cooled data centres. If adopted industry-wide across the entire tropical region, the energy usage of the data centre industry could potentially be lowered by at least 40%”, the companies said.
The STDCT is expected to be operational by 1 October 2021.