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Data Centers Of The Future Are All About Control

Data center growth in core markets like Northern Virginia, Silicon Valley, Dallas and Chicago couldn't look better. The future of how a technology-based asset class will age remains a little unclear, but user control will be at the center of the conversation.

• John Sheputis, Infomart
• Rob Morris, Skybox Data Centers
• Stephen Johnston, QTS
• Chris Walsh, InterNap
Moderator: Jim Cober, Corgan

Increased efficiency and better utilization are all part of control, Infomart president John Sheputis said at Bisnow's annual Data Center Investment Expo last week.

Systems of the future will allow more user control, making the days of designing centers for only one capacity obsolete

Once users, especially cloud providers, get a taste of financial transparency, it will allow them greater certainty in how much they pay for various power, cooling and operating expenses, Skybox managing partner Rob Morris says. 

Price won't be the only thing users will be more informed about in the future. QTS director Stephen Johnston thinks tenants will become more educated on their own needs and demand more from data center operators. All types of users—cloud, retail, co-location, enterprise, etc.—will value flexibility to build, maintain and control their spaces as they choose, Stephen says. 

That flexibility (and the growth of the cloud) could lead to a greater diversification of buyers, InterNap director Chris Walsh says.

Here are Stephen, John, panel moderator Corgan principal Jim Cober, Rob and Chris.

• John Sheputis, Infomart
• Rob Morris, Skybox Data Centers
• Stephen Johnston, QTS
• Chris Walsh, InterNap
Moderator: Jim Cober, Corgan

Data centers live at the intersection of power and fiber, Chris says. Control, price certainty, flexibility and transparency share a common goal—to get data closer to the end user.

All that puts pressure on delivery timelines. But data center developers have the challenge of deploying as little capital as possible to shorten lead times without delivering too many phases of the project that aren't earning revenue, Stephen says. Delivering in phases gives developers, and investors, more options. 

Regardless of who the users are or what infrastructure they demand, security will only become more important. Data centers aren't secrets like they used to be, John says, but now they must be secured through active measures (much like John has done at Infomart in Dallas).

As for the future of the green movement and LEED certification in data centers, Stephen says it isn't that users don't demand it. The question comes down to what users are willing to pay for increased sustainability