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What Happens to Old Data Centres?

22 July, 2015

Old Data CentreWe live in an increasingly digital world and data centres lie at the heart of the electronic revolution. From banking and business to communication and shopping, both individuals and businesses rely on the technological hubs to power everyday tasks and operations. Often, companies find themselves needing to move to bigger spaces in order to cope with increased demand. So what happens to the data centres that get left behind? Read on as we explore the fates of data centres that are no longer in demand.

Recycling old servers

Data centres are powered by a plethora of equipment however as time goes by the performance of servers begins to deteriorate. When the time comes to replace equipment data centre operators should comply with responsible IT asset disposal techniques. Working with used machine vendors is a lucrative option, as is selling used servers to secondary markets. Donating equipment to charity is an altruistic solution while recycling servers as scrap metal is an eco-friendly choice.

Site wide demolition

Data centres have enormous footprints which means the land itself is often worth millions. In fact, Google recently forked out over US$52 million for its latest Finland site. When owners decide to cease operations they’ll generally sell the site on to a new buyer. Depending on how the new owner intends to use the land the bricks and mortar of the data centre will generally be demolished. This sees the site take on a fresh new purpose, be it manufacturing, housing or environmental.   

Breathing new life into old premises

As the age old saying goes, one person’s trash is another’s treasure. When data centres are abandoned by rapidly expanding companies, smaller enterprises will often step in and take over operations. Refurbishments, retrofits and redesigns will likely be on the cards in order to meet the exact needs of the new owner. This is a great option as it minimises waste, eases the burden on landfill and provides up and coming businesses with cheaper alternatives to building brand new centres. In general, refurbished data centres are also far more eco-friendly than their predecessors. New owners are able to custom design the hubs to include energy efficient layouts, adiabatic cooling systems, strategically positioned floor grilles and power factor correction.

When data centres are no longer needed they don’t simply lie dormant. From retrofits and recycling equipment to reselling the premises, the site simply enters the next stage of its journey. 

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