How to Build a Data Center Efficiently in a Late-Pandemic World


How To Build A Data Center

Data centers emerged as an essential, mission-critical service for many organizations in the past year and a half, as demand for data center capacity skyrocketed during the COVID-19 crisis.

The mass pivot to remote workplaces, coupled with a global shift to digitize work, school and online functions pushed existing data centers to capacity. As a result, data center owners are scrambling to build new facilities and expand existing ones to take advantage of the booming market. But unfortunately, keeping up with industry growth is proving to be easier said than done in our data-hungry late-pandemic environment.

How COVID-19 Continues to Impact the Data Center Construction Industry

Explosive growth in data generation and consumption is not the only way the data center industry has been affected by the pandemic. Both the increase in demand for capacity and new ways of accessing data are causing data center owners to rethink how and where they are deploying new facilities.

For example, although supply chain issues aren’t unique to the data center industry, it is being heavily disrupted due to the difficulty of procuring critical materials, such as semiconductors and construction supplies.

When data center owners are able to procure these materials and components for new construction, they are paying a premium for them. The cost of raw materials and equipment has spiked since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, significantly increasing the financial outlay for new facilities.

The labor shortage predated the pandemic, but with data center construction requiring both skilled construction labor and trained IT workers, industry expansion has hit a roadblock. With no one to build new facilities—and no one to staff them once they are built—data center construction in some regions has slowed.

To further complicate matters, many workers moved out of the urban core during the pandemic. With no office to go to, there was no longer any reason for employees to live near where they work. This shift of the workforce out of primary and hub markets has increased pressure for data centers to move to smaller secondary markets, to get closer to end users while reducing latency issues.

[Video] Discover how vendor neutrality and open-sourcing components can unlock  your supply chain and expedite your data center project’s timeline.

How Data Center Owners Are Overcoming Late-Pandemic Obstacles

In light of the current construction and skilled labor challenges, data center owners are seeking out alternatives to the traditional build process to increase efficiency, improve their time to deployment and reduce costs. These critical alternatives are modular construction and vendor agnosticism. 

1. Modular Construction

Modular data center construction is far from a new concept, but late-pandemic, it is becoming even more popular as an alternative to stick-built construction methods. Modular construction techniques provide a solution to almost all of the current obstacles data center owners have to overcome to stay ahead in the market.

There are many benefits to modular construction:


Modular construction allows owners to build for today’s requirements with the ability to expand future capacity. This prevents overprovisioning and the added expense of paying to cool and maintain unused space.


The rise of edge computing is creating capacity demand in remote and hard-to-reach regions. Modular data centers are designed for portability, which makes them ideally suited for deployment in hard-to-access areas. 


Modular data centers are a turnkey solution for a fast-paced world. With testing and quality assurance being conducted at the factory, throughout the manufacturing process, facilities are delivered ready to energize and deploy.


When building with traditional methods, it is almost impossible to make significant changes to the design once the plan is finalized. Modular construction allows owners to make design changes throughout the process as requirements change. And once deployed, it is easy to add units or components to a modular facility to future-proof your investment.

Reduced materials and operating costs

Modular units are built in a controlled factory setting, which means there is less waste and materials can be reused and recycled, further reducing the need to procure hard-to-find components. 

Modular data centers are also built in a manner that can significantly reduce long-term operating costs. For example, self-contained, skid-mounted cooling systems can be installed that integrate effortlessly within modular units and are easily scalable for right-sized cooling.

Affordable labor costs

Modular data centers are manufactured in an off-site factory setting, so there is less need for skilled on-site labor. Because the majority of the assembly is finished before delivery to the data center site, modules arrive prewired, pretested and ready to energize.

2. Vendor Agnosticism

The flexibility of modular construction enables vendor agnosticism and vice versa. Vendor agnosticism eliminates vendor lock-in, which simplifies and streamlines the data center build and deployment process in several key ways:

Decreases costs of materials and components

The reality is that the cost of materials and components is highly expensive right now. But when a modular data center manufacturer isn’t locked in to a single vendor, they can shop around for the best value and pass the savings on to the customer.

Circumvents supply chain issues

Not even vendor-agnostic data center manufacturers are immune to today’s supply chain issues. However, they have options that traditional construction companies don’t. For example, they can shop around for the fastest availability of components and provide the option for owner-supplied equipment if the customer has inventory on hand.

Accelerates time to value

Less time spent waiting for materials and components to become available means a quicker construction time. Accelerating the manufacturing of a new facility speeds up time to delivery and deployment, which results in revenue being generated sooner. 

Integrates more easily

Vendor agnosticism provides the flexibility to choose components that integrate well and operate efficiently with the modules and components currently in place.

COVID-19 drastically changed how users generate and consume data. As a result, the data center industry is experiencing historically high demand for capacity that is currently difficult to fulfill.

Supply chain issues and a shortage of skilled technology and construction industry workers are driving renewed interest in how to build a data center efficiently by way of vendor-agnostic modular data center options. Watch this on-demand webinar, “Vendor Neutrality & Open Source: Optimizing the Data Center Design Process,” to learn more ways to minimize late-pandemic pain points on your data center construction goals.

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