Architecture Engineering & ConstructionAugust 23, 2022

The need for (transformation) speed in next-gen data centers

To address the increasing global demand for next gen data centers, owner-operators must undergo digital transformation.
Avatar Akio Moriwaki

To address the increasing global demand for next gen data centers, owner-operators realize that existing fragmented and paper-based legacy industry methods no longer work.

The prefabrication method, for one, can marginally increase productivity by approximately only 10%. The rate is still far away from the 30% to 50% required to reduce stand-up times for new data centers and serve evolving data demands.

Every month of data center operation can signify 10s to 100s of millions’ worth in revenues for owner-operators, which is the incentive they need to reduce project stand-up time. Naturally, many owner-operators are already actively seeking ways to achieve this today.

A comprehensive transformation is necessary to increase revenue. Owner-operators must first digitally transform all phases and domains of a data center’s existence – from planning, design and construction to operation and maintenance. To do so, they can vertically integrate key pillars such as construction site and location, data center building design, service infrastructure equipment and computer systems at multiple scales. “This way, all data center supply chain stakeholders, including owner-operators, engineers, suppliers, integrators, general contractors and subcontractors, can stay optimally connected.”

At the heart of this required digital transformation is an efficiently collaborative system. In it, all supply chain actors in the data center ecosystem can work together by sharing common information as a trusted single source of truth.

Document-centric approaches presently capture information for specific contexts, but they do not always support seamless flows of knowledge and real-time insights between all stakeholders. In contrast, model-based approaches utilize a single, common referential to manage all technological and business-related information in ways that everyone can understand and use fully.

With model-based approaches, stakeholders can update information in real time and collaboratively use it in any acceptable context. Dynamically built graphs, dashboards and reports created around the shared information will allow 24/7 traceability while avoiding the redundancies typical of documents. In short, utilizing model-based approaches to manage data center creation and operation can massively simplify complex processes and reduce time-related pressure.

Meanwhile, continuous simulation and validation activities via model-based innovation enable stakeholders to leverage scientifically precise information. They can run what-if scenarios in early upstream phases and then apply results at every change. The benefits of doing this are faster construction time, better building quality, reduced waste and lower energy consumption.

“Stakeholders can identify potential issues, clashes or interferences during modules installation. Steps can be taken to resolve them in the design phase itself.”

Karun Chakravarthy
Expert Business Consultant, Architecture, Engineering and Construction, Dassault Systèmes

General contractors and owner-operators can also leverage simulation to ensure all installations are safely done. “By performing construction planning and predictive simulation studies early in the design phase, the construction sequence can be optimized. They can minimize any risks to safety and project delays more easily,” Chakravarthy added.

This article is excerpted from BUILDING THE BLOCKS OF NEXT GEN DATA CENTERS: Leverage virtual twins on an integrated platform to construct configurable, efficient and sustainable data centers with shortened stand-up time. This e-book maps the path to building a next gen data center and defines how all the stakeholders and the entire value chain can leverage virtual twins on a collaboration platform, master the complexities of next gen data centers and optimizing their agility and speed to meet market demands.

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