Data Center News Roundup: Thanksgiving Drama at OpenAI, New Facilities Unveiled

In this week's top data center news stories, Sam Altman returns as OpenAI CEO and new projects take shape around the world.

James Walker

November 24, 2023

5 Min Read
Data Center News Roundup: Top Data Center News
pichetw / Alamy Stock Photo

With data center news moving faster than ever, we want to make it easy for industry professionals to cut through the noise and find the most important stories of the week.

The Data Center Knowledge News Roundup brings you the latest news and developments across the data center industry – from investments and mergers to security threats and industry trends.

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Alt, Return

It’s something of an in-joke among tech journalists that there’s no such thing as a slow news week around Thanksgiving. This tradition continued in 2023 after OpenAI announced that ousted CEO Sam Altman would return to the helm of the startup following a dramatic few days.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Altman would return to lead OpenAI less than a week after he was pushed out of one of the world’s most valuable startups, setting off a shock back-and-forth drama that transfixed Silicon Valley and the global AI industry.

After a tumultuous weekend that kicked off with Altman being abruptly fired by the OpenAI board, Microsoft, which owns almost half of the startup, brought on Altman and fellow OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman to lead a new in-house AI research team.

Related:Sam Altman Returns as OpenAI CEO in Chaotic Win for Microsoft

This was quickly followed by the news that 600 OpenAI employees had threatened to resign and follow Altman to Microsoft unless he was reinstated.

Altman, who was fired after clashing with the OpenAI board over his plans for the business, will now return as CEO. A reworked board will be led by Bret Taylor, a former co-CEO of Salesforce. The other directors are Larry Summers, the former US Treasury Secretary, and existing member Adam D’Angelo, the co-founder and CEO of Quora.

Global Developments

In data center development news this week, city officials in El Paso, Texas, want to sell 1,039 acres of vacant land to pave the way for a hyperscale data center near the New Mexico border. 

The proposed project has an estimated cost of $800 million, including paying the city $8.5 million for the land, according to city information provided to the El Paso City Council, which Tuesday gave initial approval to selling the land.

Staying in Texas, H5 Data Centers has announced the expansion of its edge data center in downtown San Antonio. The Tier III expansion of the colocation space will enable up to an additional 340 cabinets and up to 1.5 MW of additional UPS capacity. 

In Europe, digital infrastructure firm nLighten has acquired Gyro Center, a high-performance data center in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Related:$800M Hyperscale Data Center Project Proposed for Northeast El Paso

The carrier-neutral data center is said to operate on 100% renewable energy, and nLighten said it would set about modernizing the facility’s cooling system in the near future.

Meanwhile, Colt Data Centre Services has commenced the construction of its third state-of-the-art data center in Frankfurt, Germany.

Located close to Colt’s existing facility in the historic city, the 32.4 MW data center is being designed to offer seamless connectivity to the Rine-Main region and convenient access to Frankfurt’s financial district.

Thai Investment

Thailand is set to receive a whopping $8.46 billion worth of investment from Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, and Microsoft, as the tech giants turn their attention to Southeast Asia.

Citing a government spokesperson, Reuters said the companies will invest around $2.8 billion each, while AWS is also planning to build a data center with a budget of $5 billion over 15 years.

"The prime minister is confident that AWS' investment will enhance the country's competitiveness," spokesperson Chai Wacharonke told Reuters, adding Microsoft and Google were also studying investment plans for large data centers in Thailand.



The World’s Most Unusual Data Centers

Finally, this week Data Center Knowledge writer Sandra MacGregor took a closer look at some of the world’s most unusual and unique data centers.

“When it comes to data centers, the features that tend to be prioritized are things like security and overall performance,” she said. “Rarely do we take time to consider their looks or their locations.”

Featured in our list of unique data centers is Green Mountain’s SVG1-Rennesøy in Norway, Google Hamina in Finland, and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Spain.

Check out the full article for more cutting-edge data center designs.

Other Great Reads on DCK This Week

Best in Class: 5 Essential Tips for Hiring Data Center Technicians. Data center technicians are the driving force behind your operation. Here's how to ensure you find and retain top data center staff.

India's Murugappa Group Unveils $790M Chip Venture. Conglomerate plans to develop a semiconductor assembly and test facility over the next five years.

Tech Pros Quitting Over Salary Stagnation, Stress. To retain top tech talent, organizations must look beyond financial compensation to provide growth opportunities and wellbeing.

Zero Trust: Countering Cyber Threats Stemming from Human Error. With human error still accounting for the majority of cyber-attacks, can a zero-trust approach remove this lingering vulnerability in an organization’s security framework?

Nvidia Rival Graphcore Pulls Out of China, Citing US Export Rules. British chip designer is laying off most of its staff and discontinuing sales in China.

About the Author(s)

James Walker

James Walker is the Senior Editor of Data Center Knowledge. He has more than 16 years of experience writing for business and technology publications, with a focus on translating technical issues to make them more accessible and engaging.

Before joining DCK, James was editor of The Daily Swig, an award-winning cybersecurity news website, and his work has been featured in The Times and BBC Online, among other publications. His first full-length book, HIT: Once Upon a Field, was published in 2023.

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