Insight and analysis on the data center space from industry thought leaders.

Data Center World in Austin: What to Watch

Five editor’s picks for the upcoming data center conference.

Max Smolaks, Senior Editor

February 11, 2022

4 Min Read
Bill Kleiman at Data Center World

In late March, data center professionals will once again meet at Data Center World in Austin, Texas, to network, check out new products and services, and learn about the trends that are set to affect their business.

The conference and exhibition at the Austin Convention Center will consist of more than 70 sessions over four days, including panel discussions, case studies, workshops, presentations, and demos.

This will be the first DCW to host Omdia Research Forum – a day-long event offering insights from analysts that specialize in subjects like networking, compute, and storage hardware, rack systems, power distribution, and thermal management.

In keeping with tradition, the conference will include an off-site data center tour of two colocation facilities, culminating in a ‘discussion’ held at a local brewery.

And of course, Data Center Knowledge will be on location to report on the news, learn from the experts, and to eat some of that famous Austin barbecue.

As we look forward to the end of March, I have chosen five sessions that I think best illustrate the changes happening in the industry, along with a short rationale for why they should be particularly interesting to our readers.

Full disclosure: Data Center World is organized by AFCOM, the data center industry association owned by Informa, which makes it our sister organization.

What to watch

What: Transitioning from on-prem to MTDC space

When: Monday, March 28, 9:15am – 12:00pm

Why: Last month, Data Center Knowledge covered a survey of 1,600 IT professionals in which half said they were planning to close all of their on-premises data centers in the next two years. Of course, survey results are to be taken with a pinch of salt, but industry experts are in agreement that the pandemic, and the associated shift to remote working, is accelerating the death of on-prem.

All that corporate IT still needs a home, and there are two options remaining: colocation and public cloud, likely a combination of both. In this workshop, representatives of Equinix, Schneider Electric, and Global Data Center Solutions will tell the audience how to move their IT into a colocation environment.


What: The cooling conundrum: Water sustainability and data density

When: Tuesday, March 29, 10:00am – 10:50am

Why: Data center water consumption is often overlooked in sustainability discussions. For most data centers, water is as essential as electricity, and their huge requirements will become more of a talking point going forward. For example, water is one of the arguments used by local campaigners who oppose Facebook’s giant data center in Holland.

In this session, Phill Lawson-Shanks from Aligned will tell the audience about WUE – like PUE, but for water efficiency.


What: Deploying and financing SMRs for the data center sector

When: Monday, March 28, 1:00pm – 4:00pm

Why: What are SMRs, I hear you say? Small modular reactors – nuclear fission reactors that are much smaller, and much cheaper than conventional counterparts, and represent one of the best opportunities for generating low-carbon electricity in the near term. The Russians built a prototype floating SMR in 2020, and the construction of the first commercial land-based SMR kicked off in China in 2021.

Expect to hear a lot more about such projects in the next few years, as the energy debate evolves.


What: Can I use that battery technology? Energy storage codes and standards

When: Tuesday, March 29, 11:00am – 11:50am

Why: ZincFive makes rechargeable batteries for data centers based on an alternative nickel-zinc chemistry. It is new, at least in data centers, and it sounds promising, but the technology is largely unproven.

In this session, the company's senior product manager Daniel Lambert will look at the relationship between energy storage and fire codes: I wonder how nickel-zinc fits into the equation?


What: Data Center World conference party

Where: Clive Bar

When: Wednesday, March 30, from 7:30pm

Why: Parties are an essential part of the conference experience. And yet, Data Center World has never had an official closing party. AFCOM is fixing this oversight in 2022 – with live country music, tequila tasting, and Tex-Mex fare at the newly renovated Clive Bar.

You will be tired after three days of networking and knowledge acquisition – why not share a cold beverage with all the new friends you made in Austin?

See you at the bar.

About the Author(s)

Max Smolaks

Senior Editor, Informa

Max Smolaks is senior editor at Data Center Knowledge, a leading online publication dedicated to the data center industry. A passionate technology journalist, Max has been writing about IT for a decade, covering startups, hardware, and regulation – across B2B titles including Silicon, DatacenterDynamics, The Register, and AI Business.

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