Data consumption is surging at an unprecedented pace. With more than 100 million users on ChatGPT, 8.5 billion daily Google searches, and 82% of global internet traffic devoted to streaming video, the magnitude of data processing and analysis happening behind the scenes is massive.

To keep pace with the demand, the industry is rapidly embracing the concept of edge data centers — smaller, locally situated data centers that can mitigate latency, conquer intermittent connections, and facilitate data storage and computation in close proximity to end users.

Edge facilities drive data processing closer to the source, dramatically reducing the time it takes data to reach its endpoint. With minimal latency, edge caching — using servers to store content closer to the end users — provides quick delivery of this data to Internet of Things (IoT) devices, big data, and cloud and streaming services. The edge is transforming latency into a competitive advantage.

Gartner forecasts that by 2025, 75% of data generation and processing will occur in edge facilities. Devices from smartphones and personal gadgets to doorbells, smart cars and query programs are increasingly dependent on the reliability of edge data centers.

Amid this data revolution, the market for edge data centers is expected to triple in the next year. In this dynamic landscape, PCL Construction offers clients the technological expertise and innovative solutions needed to build world-class edge data center facilities.

“Edge facilities are designed to meet unique demands, so traditional construction isn’t always the answer,” says Mike Clark, director, mission critical for PCL Construction. “We must embrace more strategic and innovative solutions that streamline construction processes and implement more sustainable practices.”

Clark outlines five key strategies PCL leverages in edge data center construction:

  1. Modular construction: Embracing modular construction methods for building data center facilities in smaller and repeatable units reduces construction timelines and enables incremental scale-up capacity in response to market demands.
  2. Prefabrication and off-site assembly: Prefabrication of key components and off-site assembly can expedite the construction process. Collaborating with facilities to produce standardized high-quality building components allows for quick assembly on-site.
  3. Design flexibility: Designing with flexibility in mind is crucial. Creating adaptable layouts to accommodate different rack configurations and cooling systems allows for efficient use of space and easier capacity expansion without major structural modifications.
  4. Efficiency and sustainability: Incorporating energy-efficient and sustainable design can also reduce operational costs. Using technologies like free cooling and renewable energy sources can enhance long-term viability of the edge facility.
  5. Predictive analytics and demand forecasting: Working closely with data center owners and operators to gather insights from predictive analytics and demand forecasting provides a data-driven approach that informs decisions about expansion capacity, overbuilding and underestimating.

Meeting capacity needs in the rapidly expanding edge data center market is a significant challenge, but PCL helps clients build capacity by adopting innovative strategies and approaches.

“PCL’s ability to adapt to market demands, streamline construction processes, and maintain a focus on quality and sustainability will be key in this rapidly evolving industry,” Clark says.