Article
The commercial building sector has taken a hit the last few years, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, in ways that could last for at least a few years to come. Many office workers have become comfortable with work-from-home arrangements and their employers might be looking to downsize their office space.

The Biggest Trend in Data Center Construction Is Edge-y Design

Chuck Ross
The commercial building sector has taken a hit the last few years, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, in ways that could last for at least a few years to come. Many office workers have become comfortable with work-from-home arrangements and their employers might be looking to downsize their office space. And consumers have gotten even more used to online shopping options, which hits the retail market, as well. However, the one construction sector benefiting from both of these trends – data centers – is experiencing a boom, in large part due to data center customers wanting to bring their computing power closer to their own operations.

Called “edge computing,” this practice is fostering growth in multi-tenant data centers that are sprouting in former farmlands, suburban corporate campuses and even repurposed downtown buildings. It’s meant to reduce today’s microsecond-scale lag time in computer operations even further and to support high-bandwidth video transmission in high-population areas. The growing adoption of 5G network technology is also becoming a big contributor to data center growth.

Of course, more data means more cabling – if the back of your TV/Wi-Fi router set up looks anything like mine, you know what I mean. This fact is making cable tray specification an even more important element in data center design than it already was. For installation contractors, several key cable tray attributes can make a big difference in how easy it is to install and how well it performs over time:

  • Modularity. Systems that are manufactured with standard straight lengths, Ts, turns and crosses speed installation because workers don’t have to fabricate transitions at the jobsite.
  • Strength. While designers are increasingly turning to fiber over heavier copper, but the growth in the total number of cables means strong support is still critical.
  • Adaptability. Having a system that can be added onto – with cameras and sensors, or even additional tray layers – without the need for new brackets or other make-do approaches will make for happier clients as their needs change.
  • Clean lines. Multi-tenant data center operators need to make sure their facilities are fit to impress prospective tenants who might be brought in for a tour. Cable management that’s clearly organized and maintained helps create a strong first impression.

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