Data Center News | Issue 1

Alana Cumming

By Alana Cumming

21 Sep 2022

6 min read

Data Center News | Issue 1

Hello and welcome to the first edition of Harper Harrison’s Data Center News. We know how busy many of the industry leaders are in this thriving sector, so we thought we would highlight some of the months industry news into a bite size format. As this is our first edition, any feedback and suggestions for what you would like to see in the future are very welcome. 


1st Edition 


September has been another busy month for everyone involved with the Data Center industry. Businesses and leaders continue to maneuver through the challenges presented by the current pandemic, but it is safe to say the demand for the Development, Design and Construction of new facilities has remained consistent. It has been said the pandemic has dramatically increased demand from Data Center providers in the hotspot, Northern Virginia. Where many real estate sectors such as commercial, retail and hotels have seen a huge drop in demand, the increased use of virtual platforms and remote working has only benefited the Data Center industry. Northern Virginia has a total capacity of 1,276 MW with another 239 MW under construction which includes the addition of 120MW to Aligned Energy’s existing campus-based in Ashburn (Bisnow, 2020).​ 


Industry Insights.


CBRE released its bi-annual report that stated the North American Data Center market has continued to boom throughout 2020 despite its challenges. Across the key markets, 373MW of capacity is under construction with 64% of that coming from Northern Virginia. Construction this year has faced its logistical challenges but has mostly continued due to being considered essential infrastructure by the government and only a few projects were paused. The big cloud providers remained determined to continue their expansion, with Microsoft stating they would be adding significant capacity as well as Google investing $10bn in the Data Center portfolio (DCD, 2020). 


Although the industry has seen a reduction in acquisitions, there have been some exciting recent announcements from both Stack Infrastructure and Aligned Energy who both secured funding to expand their portfolios during September. Another developer that have secured large investment this year, Vantage Data Centers, have also announced further details of their global expansion plans this month. They are expanding their campuses in Ashburn, Virginia and Santa Clara, California to keep pace with customer demand. CEO and President Sureel Choksi stated ‘Because our customers want to grow with us across multiple markets, we continue to develop sustainable, state-of- the-art facilities across our portfolio, including in the world’s top data center markets.’ (Data Center Frontier, 2020).​


Stack Debt Funding. 


As stated by Stack Infrastructure’s press release on the 1st of September, Stack closed on $325m in debt financing. This takes Stack Infrastructure over $1.4bn in funds raised since its inception. According to Stack, “the global pandemic has enhanced the digital economy and is further driving investor interest in data centers, as data demands are increasing to support work-from-home initiatives, collaboration tools, and new technology platforms.” 


Renewable Investments.


This month has seen plenty of renewable energy investment from key players in the Data Center industry. Apple announced they would invest in two of the worlds largest wind turbines in Denmark and says its Danish Data Center is run entirely by local renewable energy sources (ZDNet, 2020). 


It was also announced that Digital Realty has signed with Pattern Energy for 105MW solar farm that will power their Dallas Data Centers. Facebook gets closer to its pledge to be fully renewable by the end of this year by announcing they will be funding 235MW of solar power in Utah which will help offset the energy used by the Eagle Mountain campus (DCD, 2020). 


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Microsoft Jedi Win.


Earlier this month Microsoft were awarded the lucrative JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure) DOD contract… again. 


In a short statement from the Pentagon which said it “has completed its comprehensive re-evaluation of the JEDI Cloud proposals and determined that Microsoft’s proposal continues to represent the best value to the Government.” 


Amazon argues that the contract was awarded to Microsoft due to President Donald Trump’s personal dislike of Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos. Amazon continues to battle the outcome in court which could lead to a further delay to the execution of the contract. 

Microsoft building


Sustainability Linked Finance.


Aligned Energy also released a press release this month, publicising its $1 billion credit facility which is the first data center sustainability linked financing. According to Aligned, this financing is tied to the company’s core environmental, social and governance objectives KPI’s. One of these being that Aligned has “a commitment to match 100% of Aligned’s annual energy consumption to zero-carbon renewable energy by 2024.” 


All this following being named 2020 Green Lease Leader by the Department of Energy Better Buildings Alliance. We believe it is safe to say they are certainly trying to do their “bit”. 


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Microsoft Underwater Data Center. 


Earlier this year Microsoft’s underwater data center experiment “Natick” was retrieved from the seafloor in the North Sea just of the coast of the Orkney Islands. The project was a success according to Microsoft which can be attributed to such things as, no oxygen corrosion, stable temperatures, and no human interaction with equipment. 


The servers were also run completely on renewable energy resource as this is the only option in this part of the world. 


Google plans $1.2bn Nevada Expansion. 

Google has been given more than $25 million in tax incentives in Nevada as they release plans for a new $600 million site in Tahoe Reno as well as a $600m data centre build on its southern Nevada campus. Tax incentives are not a new thing to Google and their data center program. They also received over $40 million in tax breaks back in 2018 for their New Albany, Ohio new build data center. 




It’s safe to say September has been another positive month for the industry, as leaders continue to steer the ship through a challenging year. Investment has not slowed down, the most notable announcements coming from Stack and Aligned as developers persevere with aggressive growth plans. The ever growing social pressure for firms to become more environmentally efficient has led to a number of investments from some of the world’s largest tech firms that can only be seen as a positive both environmentally and economically. 


We hope you have found this month’s wrap up insightful, any feedback is appreciated. We will be collaborating with more industry leaders in the coming months to bring you more fresh and thought-provoking content. 


VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 (September 2020) 


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