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Technological Advancements Are Putting Additional Pressure On Silicon Valley, Nation's Data Center Resources

As computing power increases and puts pressure on existing data centers, operators will face challenges over how to make sure the centers stay up and running. As one of the top data center regions, Silicon Valley will be among the regions to face some difficult choices going forward on how to monitor and manage resources to support the needs of tech companies and data centers.

Mahmood Global Concierge CXO and United Security Bank board of directors member Nabeel Mahmood

“Real estate is an issue in Silicon Valley,” said Nabeel Mahmood, who owns a global management consultant firm. “There isn’t really real estate out there. There is only so much power that you can actually provide in the Valley. There is only so much water.”

Regulators and city councils will need to figure out what their priorities for real estate are and whether they want data centers, to be a tech hub or address the region’s other needs, said Mahmood, who will be speaking at Bisnow’s Data Center Investment Conference & Expo West in November. In addition to the impact of technology and data centers in Silicon Valley and beyond, panelists at the event will discuss mergers and acquisition activity, investment activity, the impact of the cloud, leasing trends and connectivity.

“It’s going to be a challenge to build more data centers in the existing environment,” said Mahmood, who is also a member of the board of directors at United Security Bank.

He said there are plenty of areas in the country with land and cheaper power, such as Nebraska, that can provide the resources data centers will need going forward.

Tech Innovations Create More Data Center Issues


New technology will densify data centers, allowing for more computing power in facilities that use less real estate, but more tech will be needed to to make sure these data centers are running smoothly.

Business intelligence and analytics will be increasingly important in the data center space to maximize real estate for data centers, Mahmood said. As data centers become smaller and denser and have more computing power, one of the biggest challenges will be meeting power and cooling needs. While he doesn’t think the industry will run out of power, analytics will be imperative to understanding the best way to use power.

One example of an area that needs to be measured but isn’t is batteries, he said.

“Nobody thinks about [batteries] until a catastrophic event happens, and the battery is not able to support the infrastructure,” he said. “We need to be able to look at every single element in that environment. Let’s start measuring batteries and performance life cycle.”

With more platforms moving into the cloud, increased use of blockchain technology and more computing power, companies will move away from having their own data centers into the wholesale environment, he said. Companies simply won’t have the real estate, power capacities and infrastructure to support their growing needs.

“Infrastructure as a service will exist for a lot of companies as they move forward,” Mahmood said.  

This will also create new challenges to keeping data secure and complying with privacy laws. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a local version of GDPR, the European Union’s data privacy act, in June that will put additional pressures on data centers. The California Consumer Privacy Act is intended to protect consumers from third parties selling their data, and they can request to have their information deleted.

“The next five to 10 years are really critical globally speaking as pertains to data centers as pertains to security and mining of data,” he said. “Where we are today we’ve been very fortunate. I believe we need to step back and regroup and evaluate what the future really holds. An information overload can be dangerous. How we can protect our resources and data … is really the core of any business.”

Find out more about the future of tech and data centers at Bisnow’s Data Center Investment Conference & Expo Nov. 29 in San Jose.