Our Insights

Data Center Dynamics

By Bart Stewart


Recently, I attended the Data Center Dynamics conference in Ashburn, VA. I hoped to learn about new trends and the direction of the industry. And I did. Here are my top three lessons learned:

  1. The data center industry goes through waves of popular cooling solutions. Within white space, the fan-wall design has solidified its position as the current best-in-industry air-cooling design (up to 20kW per rack), which has led to an increase in fan-wall manufacturers. Outside of buildings, the ideal heat rejection method would still be climate-zone-dependent.
  2. While air cooling is a popular solution right now, liquid cooling technology is the future. In critical facility spaces, liquid cooling applications will be popular as server power densities continue to increase and air cooling becomes incompatible with an energy efficient data center. This is a newer technology that will be more commonly used moving forward, especially where rack densities exceed 50 kW per rack.
  3. If temperatures are high enough, people will be able to radiate the heat directly into outer space. This type of technology would allow for water-free heat rejection without the high fan energy that is normally associated with dry systems. This idea for cutting edge heat rejection is still in pilot phases, but the proof of the concept exists. There are also no plans to make this a commercially viable option.

I enjoyed my time at the conference and am one of our team’s leading experts in critical facilities design. If you have questions about trends in the industry, please email me at bstewart@wbengineering or call at 301.279.6305.


If you are interested in the subject, we also have an interview where our Managing Director, Critical Facilities, Jimmy Sneed, and I discuss future trends as well as the current state of data centers and what excites us about being in this market.

Bart Stewart is the Managing Director, Washington, DC.