The data center construction market is currently at the forefront of several innovations that aim to enhance operational efficiencies, reduce power consumption, and decrease carbon emissions.
The U.S. is one of the largest markets in North America due to the presence of high investments from providers, hyperscale operators, and government agencies in support of data centers. It’s also the most mature market in terms of data center development and operations.
In the process of finding the best locations for data centers, experts might analyze factors like the risk of natural disaster and cost of energy. Ideal locations are often rural areas.
Unfortunately, though, data centers usually aren’t that popular in the areas where they’re built. There’s a whole host of reasons for this, but the top five are discussed in detail below.
They Don’t Create Jobs
A big data center can only really create a handful of jobs due to its nature — and all of these jobs are for highly educated, skilled professionals who will invariably move to the area of the data center. This means local people won’t be employed in them, and they don’t create a lot of new jobs like other investments in towns do.
“This is because data centers rely heavily on automation to take care of the repetitive low-skilled jobs,” says Emelie Vincent, a data analyst at Write My X and Next Coursework. “These days, automation is taking many manual labor jobs, and data centers are no different.”
Once the data center is built and collects the power contracts for the location, it’s no longer available to entice other potential operations that would provide more jobs and revenue for the area. So, data centers limit the ability of other industries to come in seeking low-prices and market-rate power. In this respect, the area is trading the prospect of no new jobs for a guarantee of not being able to create other jobs — it’s a lose-lose situation for the locals in the area.
Fear of Change
Cities and areas often want the pre-agriculturally orientated factories back — and the 500 or so jobs they create. Although the economic climate that made this possible is long gone, many people don’t understand this. Instead, they want to bring back to factories and make their civilians happy. It’s hard for people in power to face up to the fact that a new era is dawning, and that full employment and the growth of the city by 1000-plus families is just not realistic anymore.
Fear of Transient Work Forces
Another thing that comes with the construction of data centers is a giant influx of workers moving from project to project from outside the town. These new, out-of-town workers need places to live, they cause more traffic, and casue public places to become overcrowded.
“Data centers and the transient workforce they entail are often unpopular in small, rural communities.” Says Adam Weir, a data operator at Britstudent and 1day2write.
Data centers are coming under attack for their energy consumption and costly operations. According to a 2011 study, U.S. data center power consumption increased by 36% from 2005-2010. Therefore, many see data centers as energy hogs. The industry as a whole is working toward greener inititives and reducing energy consumption, but there’s still a long way to go.