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Cloud Players Drive Data Center Demand In Seattle

The internet is now in the zettabyte era, according to Cisco's Visual Networking Index. A zettabyte is 1 sextillion bytes, or enough zeroes to give anyone a headache. That is a lot of data, and it has to go somewhere.

Even with ever-increasing demand for data storage, the current data center market is highly competitive.

Data center

Recently we spoke with DPR Construction national advanced technology group leader Mark Thompson about the market for data centers in greater Seattle. DPR is one of the top data center contractors in the country. Since 1997, its volume of data center construction has totaled more than $6.3B, with an average project size of $17M.

Bisnow: What features does a data center need to be competitive in today's market?

Thompson: In the current market, data centers are incorporating more highly efficient mechanical systems, becoming far more scalable to expand with ever-growing computing needs, getting built faster and faster — and being built more efficiently — and, therefore are more cost-effective than ever before.

These trends are in spite of tight construction labor pools in popular markets like Seattle, which is why we’re focused on self-performance and modular construction, whenever it makes sense on a data center project.

Bisnow: Are all the low-hanging sustainable features for data centers done, or can more progress be made?

Thompson: Since 2006, we've built 46 LEED-certified data centers around the country. Beyond the standard green building efforts, great strides have been made recently on the cooling side of the equation. Air and water economization provide "free" cooling that 10 years ago wasn’t really even a consideration. 

Renewable power sources are becoming more prevalent as well. Look for further efficiency gains to come from the IT side of the equation as well. For example, computer processing power requirements continue to work on more efficient solutions.

Cloud Players Drive Data Center Demand In Seattle
DPR Construction national advanced technology group leader Mark Thompson

Bisnow: What's your outlook for supply and demand of data centers in the next few years in greater Seattle?

Thompson: The Pacific Northwest continues to attract cloud service providers and, increasingly, wholesale co-location facilities. Seattle and Portland are certainly significant hubs for data center development and that should continue into the foreseeable future. 

Also, there are four or five large cloud players in the country and two of them are located in Washington State. Each of them continues to build up their capacity at a breakneck pace. As a result, Seattle and eastern Washington are poised to continue growing for the next few years.

Thompson will be a speaker at our Seattle Data Center event, which will be at the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle on April 27.