How MTDCs can help address today's data centre power challenges

CommScope Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
Tuesday, 14 May, 2024

How MTDCs can help address today's data centre power challenges

CommScope has reported that for the first time in the history of the data centre industry, the ability to deliver power to the right place and at the right price can no longer be guaranteed. Three primary factors can challenge a data centre’s plans when it comes to power:

Power supply constraints

Sometimes, the forecasted demand for data centre power is enough to prompt governmental action, as when, following alerts from energy providers, the Office of the Mayor of London (UK) published a briefing paper describing a rapid influx of requests for new electricity connections throughout West London. Most new requests were from data centre operators seeking to co-locate adjacent to fibre-optic cables that pass through the region along London’s M4 corridor, home to many high-tech companies and one of the largest digital tech workforces in the country.

Politics at hand

Recently, Ireland has become a hotbed for data centre building activity, but this success is a double-edged sword. From 2015 to 2022, the power consumed by data centres in the Republic of Ireland increased by 400%, representing nearly 20% of all power generated in the country in 2022. Now, Ireland’s government must balance its leading position in the global data centre industry with its responsibility to supply energy to its citizens and protect the environment.

In Eastern Europe, the political decisions that have led to the conflict in Ukraine have had a huge impact on the region’s data centre industry.

Social demography impacts

The third external lever affecting power availability and affordability for data centres is a shift in the world’s population centres. For many years, investing in a select number of markets in the United States and Western Europe was the way to go. The US offered data centre operators the conveniences of a common language, regulatory system, supply chain routes and a history of delivering large-scale CapEx builds.

It can be difficult to truly grasp the challenges awaiting hyperscale and cloud providers looking to grow their footprint.

Based on findings from across the APAC region, it is clear that localised growth in data, population and 5G delivery demand is outpacing growth of data centre capacity. This suggests that aggressive build initiatives—at both the government and private levels—are needed if data centre capacity is to keep pace with the population and demand for more data.

The role of the MTDC: as reported by CommScope

Given the costs and uncertainties inherent in local power supplies, political instabilities and shifting demographics, data centre operators are rethinking their vertical integration strategies and the wisdom of building their own facilities. As a result, more cloud-based and hyperscale operators are opting instead to partner with multi-tenant data centres (MTDCs) that have existing capacity around the world.

MTDC operators are real estate savvy and are optimised to satisfy tenants’ evolving demands for world-class white space and reliable and affordable power. Perhaps more importantly, MTDC facilities are located in prime metro areas — perfect for cloud-based and hyperscale operators that need to support low-latency and ultralow-latency mobile edge compute instances for 5G, Industry 4.0 and IoT applications. Best of all, these facilities already exist, enabling larger data centres to roll out services quickly and easily with a high and faster return on investment.

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