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What Will the Data Centers of the Future Look Like?

Oct. 16, 2022
Data centers have expanded across a variety of industries.

What will the data center of the future look like? According to Joseph Reele, vice president solution architects at Schneider Electric, “the data center of the future is every place you work.”

On the first day of NECA, Reele presented “Data Center of the Future: Powered by Electrical Contractors” to a packed audience of attendees in Austin, Texas. Reele began his presentation by thanking the electrical professionals in the audience because “data centers do not work without electricity. Nothing works without electricity.” Reele went on to stress how data centers have expanded from what we traditionally think of to now being needed across a variety of applications including factories, universities, hospitals, and more. However, with data centers being required for more and more industries, it creates a higher demand for power and, in turn, a need for sustainability. 

“That's really what's happening right now,” said Reele, “is the combination of electric plus digital equals sustainability.” The theme of sustainability was a major discussion point in the presentation. The data centers of the future must be sustainable, which led to a discussion on “prosumers.”

“A prosumer is someone that produces and consumes, and all of us are going to have an opportunity to actually do that. Here in the future." In his presentation, Reele used the example of a hospital data center with a massive generator that could be putting the excess power out into other applications, such as powering nearby homes. Reele went on to emphasize, “Sustainability is not just about green power. Sustainability is about people. It is always about business.”

To demonstrate the need for prosumers, Reele displayed a map from 2020 with the number of outages in the United States. According to the data presented, the number of outages in the country have increased and will continue to do so.

At the end of his presentation, Reele discussed what he believed will become a new unit of measurement known as “Power Consumption Effectiveness.” The idea being, in order for the data centers of the future to be sustainable, they must effectively utilize their power. For those interested in learning more, Reele directed attendees to check out the White Paper "Efficiency Analysis of Consolidated vs. Conventional Server Power Architectures.” 

In conclusion, Reele let the electrical professionals in the audience know they shouldn't fear IT or the future of data centers. “What you guys do on a day in and day out basis is absolutely core to the digital infrastructure industry. Everything that you do,” Reele said. So when somebody says to you hey, do you work in a data center? The answer is yes, you do.”

About the Author

Michael Morris

Michael Morris is Editor for EC&M. He is also Editor for EC&M's sister publications Electrical Wholesaling and Electrical Marketing. Email him at [email protected].

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