From High-Performance to Hyperscale

Rapid Evolution

Since the 1960s, data centers have experienced a rapid evolution that continues to shift every day. What began as an 1,800 square-foot, 30-ton machine is now a variety of compact computer servers in dedicated buildings known as data centers. Today, data is delivered through a variety of outlets, from small high-performance computers to mega-sized hyperscale data centers.

By 2021, Hyperscale Data Centers will Constitute/Support:

Data Center Types

What Does Hyperscale Computing Mean?

Hyperscale computing refers to the facilities and provisioning required in distributed computing environments to efficiently scale from a few servers to thousands of servers. Hyperscale computing is usually used in environments such as big data and cloud computing.

The structural design of hyperscale computing is often different from conventional computing. In the hyperscale design, high-grade computing constructs, such as those usually found in blade systems, are typically abandoned. Hyperscale favors stripped-down product design that is extremely cost effective. This minimal level of investment in hardware.

Cisco estimates that by 2021, traffic within hyperscale data centers will quadruple, and hyperscale data centers will account for 55% of all data center traffic by 2021. This growth will only continue as the hyperscale data center market is expected to reach $80.65 billion by 2022, according to Markets and Markets.

source: equinix blog

Overcoming Data Center Challenges

Safety

The construction of data centers requires an elevated level of safety compared to other projects. In addition to the typical hazards of construction, teams are often working around live systems as they construct and connect electrical building components. With such sensitive systems and potential electrical and chemical hazards, contractors and designers are trained to understand the “why” behind every design and activity in construction. Often times, designs are changed to better mitigate any safety risk.

Safety Risks Include:
Working on an operating campusDriving
Working in a critical environmentTrade stacking
Managing accelerated activities and overtimeInner trade electrical stacking
Ground disturbanceFlammable materials
Live electrical environmentsWorking from heights
Hazardous materialsLifting operations
Heavy equipmentConfined spaces

Mission Critical Focus

Though our safety program is instrumental on every project, we take an extra step in implementing project specific practices on data centers. These projects have sensitive systems and potential electrical and chemical hazards every team member is trained to understand and work around. We emphasize:

Additional Safety Obstacles

Because many data centers fall under strict NDA’s, preventable data center incidents are often not shared with the community.

The Data Center Incident Reporting Network

The Data Center Incident Reporting Network (DCIRN) is a site for industry professionals to anonymously record incidents, their cause, and note any preventative measures. Our team utilizes this network to create a better, more reliable design, and a strong safety plan.

source: www.dcirn.org

Energy Efficiency

An evergrowing concern for data centers is the cost of energy consumption. U.S. data centers use more than 90 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year. Global data centers used roughly 416 terawatts (4.16 x 1014 watts) (or about 3% of the total electricity) in 2016. And this consumption is projected to double every four years. (source: Forbes.com)

The rising energy costs and rapidly growing data usage have placed the onus of energy efficiency on data center clients. Our Clayco team utilizes green building practices to deliver energy efficient buildings that provide our clients with a more optimal power usage effectiveness (PUE) ratio.

Power Demands of Data Center Types

Building Community Craft

Most hyperscale data centers are located in rural areas, usually hours away from the larger workforces that would be available to a jobsite in an urban area. This presents the issue of labor on data center project construction. Finding good talent in remote locations takes a unique approach. Clayco’s commitment to the communities we work in allows us to build relationships with local contractors and subcontractors. Our company builds a project-based program to mentor new labor, taking time to teach the aspiring workforce the intricate details required to build safe and optimally functioning facilities. Because data centers are complex, technical facilities, these projects are opportunities for the local labor force to increase their expertise.

Craft retention is also of utmost importance, sometimes a challenge in rural areas on complex projects. Our safety program, procurement process and jobsite culture are all focused on attracting and retaining the strongest trade contractors onsite. Workers must have adequate access to clean and supplied wash room facilities, break areas, a clean and safe work place and an opportunity to communicate with our onsite staff, voicing any concerns or additional needs. Workers must feel they are an important part of the team.

These large data center projects should positively impact every community they touch.