JLL, Lumen, Schneider Electric Team To Speed Modular Data Center Delivery Across U.S.

Nov. 1, 2023
JLL will quickly identify and secure suitable sites for modular data centers, including approximately 5,000 along Lumen’s fiber broadband network. Schneider Electric will head up the collaborative initiative's design and construction teams.

JLL has announced a new collaboration with Schneider Electric and Lumen Technologies for providing turnkey delivery of ready-to-use modular data center platforms across the U.S. The partners said the new relationship prioritizes factors of quick deployment, adaptability and scalability for modular data centers.

Land constraints are a known challenge in today’s data center market. By virtue of its extensive market coverage, JLL’s role in the collaboration is to manage a comprehensive site selection process for modular data centers.

On the basis of its expertise as a global commercial real estate and investment management services firm, JLL will quickly identify and secure suitable sites for modular data centers, including approximately 5,000 along Lumen’s fiber-optic network.

Lumen's fiber broadband network furnishes metro connectivity along with long-haul data transport and edge cloud, security and managed services capabilities. Earlier this month, the company was seen completing the sale of most of its Content Delivery Network (CDN) service contracts to Akamai Technologies.

Lumen said monetization of its "non-core product lines," such as CDN contracts, will allow the company to focus on its strategic priorities in the areas of "cloudifying its network" and broadening its Quantum Fiber initiative for broadband network buildouts, which have fed the massive growth in data center demand related to AI, IoT, 5G and edge applications.

The surging demand has led to a supply-demand imbalance in some markets. Additionally, the growth is happening faster than the existing infrastructure to support it allows.

“Digital transformations and next-gen tech like AI require more than just speed-to-market,” remarked Vincent Provenzano, Head of Advanced Solutions, VAR Channel, Lumen. “Customers are also looking for edge compute, data accessibility, increased network security, application performance and control."

Of the new partnership for delivery of modular data centers in the U.S., Provenzano said, "This agreement draws on an innovative Lumen portfolio to deliver solutions that increase efficiency, speed and enable business growth. Working together we can bring results that exceed customer expectations.”

Schneider Electric Brings Key Modular Design and Construction Expertise

In the collaboration with JLL and Lumen, multinational digital automation and energy management specialist Schneider Electric will be providing the necessary design and construction expertise in modular data centers to render deployed facilities operational within six to nine months.

Notably this July, Schneider Electric announced it had formed a key supply chain integration partnership with Compass Datacenters. The partnership hinges on the construction and operation of a new Schneider Electric integration facility, currently being built adjacent to Compass Datacenters' campus in Red Oak, Texas.

Compass is building the plant, which will manufacture for all of Schneider's end customers. Scheduled to open by April of 2024, the 110,000 SF integration facility will scale up production capabilities to meet increasing demand for prefabricated modular data center platform technologies, dramatically reducing the time from ordering to deployment across the U.S.

“In today's digitally driven market, data centers and networks are essential for business transformation,” observed Michele Hix, Vice President Strategic Customers, North America Operations, Schneider Electric. “Our collaboration with JLL and Lumen Technologies provides our clients with options to handle the megatrends shaping business, cities and consumers everywhere with solutions that are digital, sustainable, efficient and built to scale."

Hix added, "We are excited to partner and help customers thrive in this evolving landscape, by responding to their needs faster through the accelerated deployment of edge data centers.”

Collaboration Shortens Wait for Operators' Modular Data Center Imperatives

JLL’s widely cited 1H 2023 North American Data Center Report saw the first half of 2023 post record absorption, with hyperscalers, financial services firms, healthcare organizations, and other major enterprises scrambling to secure data center space.

Modular data centers facilitate closer proximity to end users, thus reducing latency, while helping companies to solve challenges related to scalability and fast deployments.

JLL, Lumen and Schneider Electric contend their collaborative approach to modular construction stands to significantly reduce deployment times, compared to traditional data center builds.

The JLL team in the new U.S. modular data centers delivery partnership is being led by the firm's Executive Managing Director, Joe Smurdon and Executive Vice President, Mark To.

With most of the year’s remaining supply already preleased or under exclusivity, the firm contends that data center operators will be compelled to leverage creative solutions such as modular data centers, which are capable of being rapidly deployed and installed, on an accelerated timeline, and feature IoT adaptability.

“Most hyperscalers are struggling to keep up with GPU demand and are allocating their capacity to the larger corporates, which leaves middle-market companies in a lurch,” observed JLL's Smurdon. "Additionally, the time and capital required to bring additional computing capacity online takes several years, so these companies are forced to put band aids on their legacy facilities."

"However, our approach allows for a modular solution to be up and running in a fraction of the time and cost," he concluded. "JLL, Lumen and Schneider together provide the key speed-to-market solution that overcomes all these challenges associated with traditional data center builds.”

On Nov. 2, as part of our Data Center Summit virtual event, Data Center Frontier will present an executive roundtable discussion including experts from Schneider Electric and Compass Datacenters, entitled, "Modular Data Center Modernization for the Digital Infrastructure Horizon." 

Learn more about the Data Center Summit (Nov. 1-2) and register for the roundtable here.

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About the Author

Matt Vincent

A B2B technology journalist and editor with more than two decades of experience, Matt Vincent is Editor in Chief of Data Center Frontier.

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