Empowering the future: the data centre revolution fuelled by Artificial Intelligence

The best data centre partners have always been agile, innovative

Written by Simon Ramsell, Senior Director Real Estate Expansion EMEA Published 2023-11-08 10:29:54

Whilst Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are not new we have begun an era of potentially huge growth in AI. Just one example is ChatGPT reaching 100 million active monthly users just two months after launch. The best data centre partners have always been agile, innovative and dedicated to working with their customers to create secure, resilient and flexible products to meet the unpredictable and rapidly changing needs of data and technology. 

The predicted growth in AI and ML, in addition to the continuing double-digit growth in Cloud and Enterprise, demands that data centre providers double down on their DNA to help their customers deliver the benefits of AI and ML to the world, at scale. Whilst data centre supply can continue to be driven by strategies based on proximity, power and schedule a truly successful model will be one where the data centre partner solves the customer’s challenges ahead of time, before they know it is a challenge, solving for power at scale, sympathetic design and operation; and most importantly with social, environmental and organisational values that benefit the population and the customer. Working with the customer as end user is a start, but to truly add value partnerships need to bridge not only the end user but their customers, the software developers, central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) manufacturers, utilities and those at the forefront of renewable energy innovation and carbon neutral construction. 

While some may consider access to power, water and connectivity traditional requirements from a customer's perspective that will remain unchanged, the industry needs to place an unprecedented emphasis on the benefits a data centre can bring to the community and the innovation of technologies such as developments in renewable energy generation and maximising the density of power use, reducing the built environment impact of a data centre. 

Partnership should not mean one party responding to the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) requirements of the other, but surpassing them and identifying and solving future challenges. Data centre customers and their customers are firmly committed to meeting their ESG goals and data centre partners must not only align with, but outperform these objectives. The entire industry faces the enormous challenge of achieving net zero emissions, especially with the anticipated multi-gigawatt surge in IT load demand driven by AI in the coming years.

With challenge, opportunity and innovation come to the fore. Waste heat distribution is an example of this but the opportunity is substantial. Differentiating ourselves as a partner of choice will not simply be by delivering the pre-set requirements of the customer’s ESG goals but by understanding their future needs and challenges as well as the opportunity this brings to innovate and provide the customer something that we can be proud of together. 

The digital future may be vast, but while its exact size and speed are still uncertain, history teaches us that it will likely be faster and bigger than expected. Data centre partners chosen by our cloud and AI customers must demonstrate true agility. What's right today will be wrong tomorrow as the technologies of cooling, power generation and distribution and fibre develop. Our customers require a data centre partner that is dedicated to innovation, flexible, and anticipates the needs of the customer in meeting future demands on their needs.

In this age of unprecedented technological advancement, data centres continue to be not just facilities; they remain the bedrock upon which the future is built. With AI driving the next wave of innovation, the role of data centre partners has never been more vital. Being dynamic, innovating collaborators is not only key to shaping a more intelligent and sustainable digital world but the investments made in developing new technologies to deliver ever greener and more productive facilities will benefit the world as a whole.