The Data Center Frontier Executive Roundtable features insights from industry executives with lengthy experience in the data center industry. Here’s a look at the insights from Heather Dooley of Infrastructure Masons and HDCManagement.
Heather Dooley is a pioneer in building diversity into organizational strategy. She spearheaded the importance of reevaluating old practices within the data center industry and put diversity, inclusion and equity at the forefront of strategic conversations. As a former leader at both Microsoft and Google, she has helped both companies scale their data center presence globally. She is an expert in Business Operations and integrating new business capabilities. A founding member of WiMCO, Women in Mission Critical Operations and current Chairperson for the IMasons IMWomen committee. Heather is currently advising across the ecosystem of data center companies to build scalable and strategic, purpose driven cultures. She can be found at HDCManagement.
Here’s the full text of Heather Dooley’s insights from our Executive Roundtable:
Data Center Frontier: Several hyperscale operators have indicated they expect to boost capital investment in digital infrastructure in coming years. What’s the outlook for hyperscale computing in 2021, and what will this mean for data center developers and service providers?
Heather Dooley: The industry continues to forecast robust growth both with new market development and increased capacity at current locations globally. There is ever increasing pressure to deliver capacity faster than in previous years, which can indicate more opportunity across the ecosystem to use developers and service providers in closer collaboration, as companies look to build partnerships to create new delivery models.
This demand will also continue to put pressure on supply chains and talent acquisition across the industry.
Data Center Frontier: Enterprise IT spending appears to be rebounding after subdued spending in 2020. What are the most important trends you’re seeing in enterprise demand, and how might they impact the data center business in 2022?
Heather Dooley: As the world continues to struggle with the pandemic, companies are predicted to increase IT spending not only to digitize more of their business, but also manage a distributed workforce and automate tasks. The impact to the data center business could mean more distributed allocation of capacity to support Enterprise customers’ increased expectations. Those expectations will put more pressure on edge data center capacity and networks to support them.
“I expect to see more community engagement at local levels, increasing data center operator responsibility to be transparent on use and long-term sustainability goals.”
Heather Dooley, Infrastructure Masons
Data Center Frontier: Cooling is a hot topic, as data center operators seek to balance growing use of AI hardware with commitments on sustainability and water use. What do you expect will be the key themes in data center cooling in the next several years?
Heather Dooley: Power, water and materials efficiency and sustainability will be among the key themes in data center cooling. I expect more innovation and R/D spend to solve resource constraints across data center operators.
I also expect to see more community engagement at local levels, increasing DC Operator responsibility to be transparent on use and long-term sustainability goals. Scarcity can lead to self-interest. A more ideal outcome is that the industry finds better ways to partner on the best ideas that lead to innovative solutions.
Data Center Frontier: What might increased adoption of “metaverse” virtual worlds mean for digital infrastructure and the data center industry?
Heather Dooley: It’s a paradigm shift, so there is a lot of potential and risk to unpack in these early days. The potential is huge, with some estimates coming in at trillions of dollars in revenue. I think it will be about sector adoption. It’s not just gaming, but also medical practice, education, business and potential industrial applications.
What’s unclear is if it will be platform-based or an ecosystem of meta suppliers across those sectors, or maybe both? Regardless, the proliferation of data is enormous and will undoubtedly increase demand for distributed compute.