Photo by Alex Powell from Pexels

This week, we take a look at a pair of stories from the Windy City, including one that indicates Chicago data capacity is third in the nation and another that repurposes an old power station as a data center. Read this and other news stories from around the industry here.

Data Center News Roundup for Friday, Feb. 1, 2019

Windy City’s Fortunes Rise and Fall

Chicago has a fascinating history. From its underworld connections to its grandiose architecture and, of course hot dogs and deep dish pizza, this city has captured the world’s attention over and over throughout the years. In 2019, however, the Windy City may be gaining note for its data center boom. A new report shows that Chicago is third in the nation for data center capacity behind Northern Virginia and Dallas-Fort Worth, but it’s not all good news. The report, according to the Chicago Tribune, also warns that the city is in danger of losing this coveted podium spot if it doesn’t offer enough tax incentives to lure new business. With more than 10,000 residents already working in the data center sector, the industry has brought $2.4 billion in labor income and $7.1 in economic output, according to the piece. The report from Magnum Economics says the area needs to attract nearly 32,000 new jobs to keep pace with its competitors. Read it here (note: paywall goes into effect after three free articles).

An Old Power Station Gets a New Purpose

Speaking of Chicago, the town’s old Fisk Generating Station, a former coal-based power plant may be home to a million square foot data center, Data Center Dynamics reports. Hillco Redevelopment Partners has put in a request with local officials to build out the site, located right next to Lake Michigan. It would include two buildings of 300,000 square feet and 730,000 square feet, respectively, totalling a million square feet. Of course, much of the space will be used for offices and fiber networking, but that’s still a pretty impressive facility. Read more here.

Oh, Deer!

Bucking the trend of humans only being allowed in data centers, a deer recently broke into a data center (location unspecified) during a decommission. The group, DEFCON Furs, posted videos of the incident, which can be seen on Data Center Dynamics. Apparently, the deer was eventually spooked when it broke a glass window, but animal control ensures the original posters of the video that the deer is just fine. Watch it here.

Ready or Not, Here Comes Machine Learning

As 2019 kicks off, the big question on many data center operators’ minds is whether they’re fully equipped for the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning revolution. Nvidia is here to pour a bucket of cold water on everyone’s collective heads, saying most data centers are ill-prepared, according to a new article in Data Center Knowledge this week. The biggest hitch? The power draw. Most standard data center simply can’t handle it. The answer is larger-scale models and an increased investment in hardware as well as intensive staff training. Ultimately, higher density will be needed before we truly welcome our robot overlords. More here.