Nautilus launches 7MW floating data centre in Stockton
Data centres took to the seas earlier this week with the launch of a new facility in California. Nautilus Data Technologies, the company behind the launch, has spun up a 7 MW data centre on a barge in the Port of Stockton.
Nautilus believes the project will serve as a proof of concept for the potential of water-borne data centres to solve a number of issues facing the industry, like real-estate shortages (and costs), cooling and water conservation.
“The rapidly growing data center sector is just as rapidly on the way to becoming utterly unsustainable,” said James Connaughton, CEO of Nautilus.
According to Connaughton, “Nautilus can reverse that” process. The company’s goal is to make the data centre sector “higher-performing, dramatically more sustainable, and more rapidly and equitably able to serve communities, government, and businesses globally.”
One of the main sustainability benefits that Nautilus’ design offers is ready access to water for use in cooling its 10,000 square foot data centre’s server racks, which Nautilus adds have been built to a density of 100 kW per rack, and operate at a PUE of 1.15 (well below the industry average.
By drawing water from the ocean on which it floats, Nautilus’ facility supposedly delivers “zero-impact cooling”, something that the industry as a whole, and specifically operators in drought-stricken California, should find appealing.
It’s estimated that traditional evaporative air-cooling annually consumes up to 8mn gallons of water per MW of energy needed to run the facility. Silicon Valley - just a few miles from the Port of Stockton - is home to approximately 411 MW of hyperscale data centre capacity. The region’s impact on the local water table is considerable, and finding ways to reduce, or even remove said impact would be a huge development for the world capital of tech.
Additionally, Nautilus’ data centre supposedly “operates at the highest level of energy efficiency, with no water consumption, no refrigerants, no water treatment chemicals, no wastewater, and no harm to wildlife.” As a result, the Stockton 1 data centre is 70% more efficient, cutting net power consumption by 30%, which cuts costs in turn.
“I’m very pleased that Nautilus has recognized the untapped potential and resources in our region and that they chose the Port of Stockton for the site of its new data center,” said Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09). “Nautilus’ sustainable digital infrastructure is yet another example of the innovation taking place right here in Stockton, and I hope more companies will see the benefits of investing in our community and region.”
Connaughton added: “We want to make this technology as widely available as possible to sustainably as possible help close the digital divide and enhance the lives of people around the world.”
Equinix: Digital leaders expect changes to working patterns
A global report released by Equinix has revealed that digital leaders expect long-term changes to the way people work.
As part of the report, the data infrastructure company surveyed 2,600 IT decision-makers from several different businesses spanning 26 countries in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and EMEA regions. The study also highlighted the biggest technology trends affecting global businesses and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted digital infrastructure plans.
Talking about companies’ expansion strategies, Claire Macland, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Equinix, said: “Many companies are now investing more in their digital infrastructure to enable them to embrace a hybrid working model and thrive in the new world of work we all find ourselves in.
“Despite headwinds in many sectors, many organizations are continuing to expand physically and virtually into new markets and regions around the world”, she said.
The report drew the following conclusions:
- 64% of the 2,600 digital leaders surveyed believed there will be “long-term changes to both how and where people will work in the future.
- 57% of global companies intend to expand into new regions despite the effects of the pandemic
- 51% of businesses worldwide say they have rearchitected their IT infrastructure so that it can meet the demands of remote and hybrid working. Digital transformation has also been accelerated due to an increase in businesses’ technology budgets.
How might digital transformation be affected post-pandemic?
COVID-19 has demanded that companies make several changes to the way that they operate, including digital transformation. According to the study, 47% of those surveyed reported that they have accelerated their digital transformation plans because of the Coronavirus pandemic. A further 42% of organisations said their budgets have increased to keep up with the growth of digital transformation.
Another change in adapting to the pandemic was to businesses’ IT strategies with six in 10 companies saying that it has been revised in response to the situation. 58% said they are looking to invest in technology to “improve agility’ post-COVID.
When asked about their priorities for their digital strategy, 80% of respondents said that digitising their infrastructure was of utmost importance, while 57% viewed interconnection as a ‘key facilitator’ of digital transformation.
"This increasing focus on digitization and expansion is one of the reasons why Equinix has continued to invest in its own growth. We completed 16 new expansions in 2020—our most active build year ever—and expect to continue to evolve Platform Equinix to support our customers as they continue on their digital transformation journey”, said Claire Macland.
Potential concerns disperse over expansion plans being halted by COVID-19
The study has also revealed that organisations’ previous concerns that the pandemic will negatively affect their business expansion plans have been lessened.
57% of businesses have said that they “still have plans” to expand into new regions and of that percentage, nearly two-thirds (63%) plan to do so virtually instead of investing in physical IT infrastructure.
The full Equinix report can be found here.