Growing interest in artificial intelligence is expected to bring more powerful servers into many data center environments. What will this trend look like for data center developers and operators?
For Aligned Data Centers, it looks a lot like QScale, an innovative Quebec-based colocation provider specializing in high-performance computing (HPC) and extreme-density AI workloads.
Aligned has made a strategic investment in QScale, which will accelerate the development of QScale's high-density data centers across Quebec, including the completion of its Q01 campus in Levis near Quebec City. The deal is Aligned's first investment in Canada, and provides a strategic partner in the growing cloud hub in Quebec, with its ample supply of renewable hydro power and cooling-friendly climate.
The investment also complements the focus on advanced cooling at Aligned, whose Delta3 technology enables densities of up to 50kW per rack and phased expansion.
Building Big, Sustainable Homes for AI and HPC
QScale has designed its HPC centers to support liquid-cooled enclosures supporting rack densities of 100 kW and beyond. It also prioritizes sustainability, another area where it is well aligned with its new investor. The Q01 campus is an ambitious project combining HPC hosting and office space, with plans for 8 data centers and up to 96 megawatts of capacity.
“Our investment in QScale is a perfect example of our future-proof approach to expansion, and we are excited to partner with the company to accelerate its growth strategy to build leading, sustainability-focused HPC ecosystems,” said Andrew Schaap, CEO of Aligned Data Centers. "Aligned is continuously innovating across every aspect of our business to ensure that the future demand for our global hyperscale and enterprise customers will be met in an innovative, sustainable, and adaptive manner."
Aligned is majority owned by funds managed by Macquarie Asset Management. The company recently expanded into Latin America with the acquisition of ODATA, one of the fastest growing hyperscale data center platforms in Latin America, with data centers across Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Chile.
HPC as a Vehicle for Waste Heat Reuse
The Aligned investment in QScale is supported its existing investors, which include the government of Québec through Investissement Québec and Desjardins Capital.
"We are delighted to welcome Aligned as a strategic partner and investor, supporting our mission to become a foremost sustainable digital infrastructure leader in Québec," said Martin Bouchard, CEO of QScale. "This financing will enable us to accelerate our growth strategy and broaden our world-class high-density computing centers throughout the province, fostering skilled job opportunities and spurring economic development in local communities."
Bouchard was previously CEO of 4Degrees Colocation, which was acquired by Vantage Data Centers in 2018.
QScale hopes to be among a handful of data centers in North America reusing its waste heat. The company has developed waste heat recovery systems that it hopes to use to support greenhouses on its Q01 campus in Levis, which is adjacent to 100 hectares of farm and industrial land. QScale is working with energy company Énergir Development and expects to begin reusing its waste heat in 2024.
Terms of Aligned's strategic investment were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2023 and is subject to regulatory approval.