Henderson’s Key Insights from Spring 2024 Mission Critical Conference Season

Team Henderson recently returned from AFCOM Data Center World 2024 and Data Center Dynamics Connect 2024, two events focused on the mission critical technologies and concepts necessary to plan, manage, and optimize data centers. Earl Wilcox, vice president of mission critical, Dan Rakes, regional director of mission critical, and Leighton Peters, senior pre-construction manager, represented Henderson Building Solutions, and Charlotte Lamping, practice manager, represented Henderson Engineers at these conferences. The group returned with the following takeaways:

The increased impact of Artificial intelligence (AI) on our lives was a key theme. It’s undeniable that AI is poised to revolutionize our professional lives, offering optimization to workforce efficiencies and fundamentally transforming decision-making processes. However, perhaps most significantly, AI stands as the driving force behind innovation in the data center industry, compelling a reevaluation of current infrastructure and design paradigms to accommodate the burgeoning demands of AI technologies.

Key statistics underscore the magnitude of this transformation: the exponential growth in demand is projected to double power requirements from 30GW to 60GW, with high-density racks expected to reach up to 300KW per rack in the near future. Market projections also paint a vivid picture, with the AI market share estimated to skyrocket from $450 billion in 2022 to approximately $2 trillion by 2030.

With these opportunities come challenges, particularly in the realm of power management. While current power generation capabilities may suffice, power distribution infrastructure lags behind, often plagued by lengthy delivery windows spanning two to five years. This gap poses significant impacts on equipment availability, jurisdictional permitting processes, and public sentiment, necessitating innovative solutions such as micro-grid integration.

Micro-grids, comprising self-contained electrical networks, emerge as a promising avenue to address power challenges, offering reliability and resilience through a combination of backup generators, renewable energy sources, and storage systems. However, hurdles such as regulatory restrictions and public perception must be navigated to realize their full potential.

The evolution of AI chips, integrated circuits to handle AI tasks, necessitates advancements in cooling technologies, with liquid cooling emerging as a crucial requirement to support high-density racks. This shift presents both challenges and opportunities, from skilled labor shortages to the exploration of immersive cooling solutions.

In navigating these complexities, public perception remains a critical factor shaping the trajectory of AI and data center development. Positive perceptions foster trust and acceptance, driving increased adoption and investment, while negative sentiments can prompt regulatory scrutiny and hinder progress. Transparent communication and responsible data practices are essential in building public trust and building an environment conducive to AI innovation.

Amidst these challenges and opportunities, the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction) community stands poised to play a pivotal role. From infrastructure innovation to skilled resource provision, opportunities abound for collaboration and partnership to optimize design and delivery processes while ensuring functionality and quality control.

Henderson Knows Mission Critical

To us, creating environments that are essential to the survival of a business, organization, or community is gratifying work. We work on mission critical facilities such as data centers and public safety centers to keep their “always on” services running safely and efficiently. We work closely with each facility to ensure redundant power and cooling systems keep critical services running. Our purpose is to build a better world, and our mission critical facilities are often at the heart of safer, smarter, more productive communities. To learn more about Team Henderson’s mission critical expertise, visit us at Henderson Engineers and Henderson Building Solutions.

Written By

Senior Pre-Construction Manager

Written By

Mission Critical Regional Manager

Written By

Vice President of Mission Critical

Written By

Practice Manager


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