Data Center News Roundup: Industry Mobilizes for Brazilian Flood Recovery

In this week's top data center news, operators assist in Brazilian flood recovery operations, and commercial real estate optimism increases.

James Walker

May 10, 2024

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.

To keep up to date with all things data centers, subscribe to the Data Center Knowledge newsletter to get content straight to your inbox.

Brazil Floods 

Telcos and data center operators in Brazil have joined the efforts to assist those impacted by one of the worst floods in the country for 80 years. 

More than 100 people have died, and thousands have been left homeless since floods swept the south Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul on April 29 and continued through early May.

The disaster has severely impacted data and telecommunications services across the region. Amid ongoing safety concerns, Scala Data Centers said it took the difficult decision to temporarily suspend operations at its SPOAPA01 data center in Porto Alegre. 

In a LinkedIn post this week, the company said it would support the reconstruction of affected areas, providing drinking water and food baskets, and assist with actions to repair damaged infrastructure. 

Elea Digital Data Centers said its data center in Porto Alegre (POA1) remains “fully operational” and is supporting critical community services. 

“We are utilizing our data center infrastructure to aid organizations and relief services during this difficult time,” said Elea president and chairman Alessandro Lombardi. 

Elea’s second Porto Alegre data center site (POA2) was evacuated on Saturday, May 4, to ensure staff safety, the company said.

Amid the ongoing disaster, mobile operators have opened their networks to roaming, while some are understood to be offering free internet to customers in the region.

According to Latin American business information site BN Americas, where there is only one mobile network available, customers of any operator can access it for free

In addition to population centers in Rio Grande do Sul, the devastating floods impacted the adjacent Uruguayan cities of Treinta y Tres, Paysandú, Cerro Largo, and Salto. 

More heavy rain is expected to come over the weekend, CNN reports

Industry Optimism 

Data centers took center stage in the commercial real estate (CRE) industry’s market outlook for 2024, amid stabilized interest rates and growing investment opportunities.

DLA Piper’s annual Real Estate State of the Market Survey (PDF) highlights a notable shift in sentiment, with 37% of CRE leaders expressing bullish views – a stark contrast to the 86% bearish sentiment observed in 2023. 

Data centers emerged as the shining star in the real estate market, deemed the most attractive asset class according to 53% of respondents. This reflects a significant increase from the 32% favorability observed in the previous year. 

“As AI technologies scale, the demand for processing and computing capacity has exploded, creating a growing need for data centers,” said John Sullivan, US chair of DLA Piper’s Real Estate Practice. 

“Notably, we’re seeing data center development expand beyond traditional markets like Northern Virginia into both rural areas and central cities, with access to power as the single most important factor in location choices.” 

Future Hubs 

On the subject of real estate, several new data center developments have been announced over the past week. Meta Platforms is planning to open an $800 million facility in Montgomery, Alabama that will support 100 jobs and complement the company’s existing data center in Huntsville. 

“Each day, millions of people around the world use Meta’s products, and the next-generation Alabama data center in Montgomery will soon help keep the company’s popular platforms running smoothly,” said Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. 

Further north, T5 Data Centers said it will expand its footprint in Illinois with the development of a new data center campus in Grayslake. The 160-acre site will support up to 480 MW of critical IT capacity across multiple data center buildings.  

In Virginia, Tract has acquired 1,200 acres of land in Hanover County for the development of “hyperscale data center campuses.” At full build, Tract’s Hanover Technology Park will support up to 2.4 GW of power capacity with the company targeting site energization in 2028. 

Going, Going, Gone! 

And finally, the US General Services Administration has closed its auction for the decommissioned Cheyenne Supercomputer.  

As we reported last week, the 5.34-petaflop supercomputer in Cheyenne, Wyoming, ranked as the 20th most powerful in the world at the time of its installation in 2016.  

The auction included 28 racks comprising 8,064 Intel Xeon E5-2697 v4 processors, although the system was reported to be experiencing “maintenance limitations” due to faulty quick disconnects causing water spray.

Regardless, one anonymous bidder is now the proud owner of the Cheyenne Supercomputer following their winning bid of $480,085. 

Other Great Reads on DCK This Week 

Welcome to the Era of the Nuclear-Powered Data Center. As the data center industry evolves, so does the need for sustainable energy solutions. Bill Kleyman singles out nuclear power as a potential game-changer that's gaining favor. 

Harnessing Waste Heat is the Latest Frontier in Data Center Efficiency. Data centers have been on an energy efficiency drive for two decades. They continue to find ways to lower energy usage, cool more effectively, and reduce operational costs. The latest frontier in this endless quest is the capture and reuse of waste heat. 

Red Hat Strengthens AI and Hybrid Cloud Push with Latest Software. At Red Hat Summit, the company showcased edge-focused updates to its OpenShift AI software, ‘policy-as-code’ tech to put AI guardrails in place, and several other improvements. 

Cybersecurity Acronyms Cheat Sheet. This reference guide details essential cybersecurity acronyms and terminology to help you speak like a seasoned security expert. 

What Stands in the Way of the Net-Zero Data Center? Data center operators and industry insiders explore the challenges and opportunities on the path to a net-zero data center.

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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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