Data Center Insights: Ian Golter, Kohler Co.

March 26, 2024
Golter, Kohler Co.'s Engineered Solutions Manager for Datacenters, believes that new paradigms for data center design will be based on data center location.

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 Ian Golter, Engineered Solutions Manager - Datacenters, for Kohler Co.

Ian Golter started with Kohler in 2019 as an application engineer. Focusing on custom standby generators, Ian worked closely with customers and engineers to modify standard product to meet unique specifications. Experience in several data center opportunities and the increasing demand for data center power provided the opportunity to directly support data center sales. He has supported the design and delivery of several hundred megawatts of standby capacity. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University. 

Here's the full text of Ian Golter's insights from our Executive Roundtable:

Data Center Frontier:  What do you see as the most significant ways whereby the unprecedented growth in digital infrastructure for AI and the cloud, and attendant core concerns surrounding power and sustainability, are giving rise to new paradigms for data center design?

Ian Golter, Kohler Co.:  I believe new paradigms for data center design will be based on data center location. 

Broadly speaking, traditional data center markets no longer have available room, power, or water to support significant builds. 

The exploding demand is driving new sites further from historical hubs and to new locations, which all present environmental design challenges. 

Thermal management, water intensity, overall footprint, and emissions will all be challenges to address that will drive a paradigm shift in data center design. 

Data Center Frontier:  Is the data center industry approaching a similar inflection point for the expansion of edge and prefab modular facilities to meet hyperscale capacity and compute demands, as it did last year with the expansion of data center rack power densities in wholesale and colocation facilities, in response to the wave of heightened expectations for generative AI and liquid cooling stakes?

Ian Golter, Kohler Co.:  Keeping a longer-term view is essential rather than trying to parse too much from the current information.

We're still in the beginning stages of these next-generation technologies that will push higher megawatt data centers demanding turnkey solutions. We are still on the leading edge of a data center industry expansion that will continue for years.

Edge data centers and modular construction should be considered permanent fixtures in the industry that will continue to grow alongside the rest of the market. Still, an inflection point in market share is difficult to predict.

Data Center Frontier:  To what degree do you see larger projects and heightened demand exacerbating challenges with North American supply chains and delivery timelines for data centers in 2024, and to what degree do you see creative partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions potentially helping to alleviate such obstacles?

Ian Golter, Kohler, Co.:  The data center industry is experiencing tremendous growth with no sign of slowing down, and there’s no doubt that supplying materials to new builds has been and will continue to be one of the primary factors impacting the scope and speed of this growth.

At Kohler, we face a different challenge. We must ensure that we can source and manufacture enough products to keep pace with the immense standby power needs of new data centers coming online. 

To meet this challenge, we’ve taken steps to strengthen our supply base where possible, through exclusive partnerships to guarantee our supply of specialty components and by broadening our vendor network for non-specialty components.  

While creative partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions can help alleviate some supply chain obstacles, many constraints lie deep in multiple levels of the supply chain. Organizations that support data centers must continue constantly monitoring supply chain dynamics. 

Forecasting, investing in resilience, designing for component flexibility, and adopting agile sourcing strategies can help navigate supply uncertainties.


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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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