Data Center POST interview with Andrew Schaap, CEO, Aligned Energy
By Contributing Editor Michael Egan
Andrew Schaap is CEO of Aligned Energy, a Dallas-based infrastructure technology company that is committed to solving the world’s toughest sustainability challenges associated with data center infrastructure, energy consumption and water usage. As a data center, IT, private equity and real estate executive with more than two decades of experience, Andrew is responsible for driving the company’s business growth, cultivating an ecosystem of innovation, and effectively advancing the company’s success with reducing both the economic and environmental impacts of data centers. Prior to joining Aligned Energy, he held numerous leadership positions over an 11-year period with Digital Realty Trust (NYSE: DLR), most recently serving as Senior Vice President.
As Andrew and the Aligned Energy team look forward to attending ITW 2019, taking place June 23-26 in Atlanta, Data Center POST had an opportunity to sit with him and learn more about Aligned’s adaptive data center model.
Data Center POST, Michael Egan (DCP-ME) Question: What does Aligned Energydo and what problems are you solving?
Aligned Energy, Andrew Schaap (AE-AS) Answer: Aligned Energy offers sustainable and adaptable colocation and build-to-scale solutions that allow us to deliver data centers like a utility: accessible and consumable as needed. By reducing the energy, water and space needed to operate, Aligned’s data center solutions, combined with our patented cooling technology, provide businesses with a competitive advantage, improving both their reliability and their bottom line.
DCP-ME Q: What do you attribute to Aligned’s success?
AE-AS A: Speed-to-market, flexibility and scalability have become business-critical for hyperscalers, cloud and platform providers. For this reason, Aligned has developed a standardized supply chain that provides customers with a simple and repeatable model for expansion in new or existing markets. Additionally, Aligned’s award-winning, patented cooling technology allows customers to deploy infrastructure where and when they need it — and reconfigure quickly and seamlessly, and usually within the same footprint — as their requirements change.
DCP-ME Q: That sounds like a great way to ensure clients are able to seamlessly keep pace with whatever technologies or demands are coming down the pipeline. Speaking of shifting requirements — what milestones did you achieve in the past year and how will these developments help Aligned Energy keep up with the demands of the quickly growing and ever-changing telecommunications industry?
AE-AS A: To meet the growing need for high-density, highly efficient and scalable colocation solutions in Ashburn, we’re developing a new 26-acre, 180-Megawatt master-planned data center campus. Aligned’s Ashburn data center campus will offer approximately 880,000 square feet of expandable space and will draw redundant, critical power from two on-site substations to service the IT operations of hyperscale and cloud service provider customers.
Aligned’s Ashburn data center campus addresses the needs of hyperscalers, cloud and platform providers that demand a highly dynamic, flexible and future-proof data center solution. Both the initial 370,000-square-foot, 80 MW facility and the 510,000-square-foot, 100 MW development that will follow shortly thereafter sit atop major fiber and conduit routes, providing access to more than 50 carriers in the immediate area.
DCP-ME Q: What do you think is the greatest challenge in the industry and how are you working to overcome it?
AE-AS A: Hyperscalers, cloud and SaaS platform providers, and even enterprises with high-density computing requirements, often over-provision in order to mitigate the risk of lacking the IT capacity needed to facilitate business growth. Another challenge these organizations face is that compute loads are becoming more dynamic, as capacity demand can vary quarterly, from project-to-project or even day-to-day.
Aligned Energy’s future-proof design delivers the adaptability to scale on demand and in place with fluctuating capacity requirements, even during high-traffic points. Leveraging our standard delivery model, we can provision initial deployments of 2 to 20+ MWs of capacity and scale beyond in as little as 12 weeks. New data center builds can be delivered in as few as seven to nine months. When capacity can be delivered incrementally and on demand, then future-proofing doesn’t require overprovisioning.
DCP-ME Q: What new developments are on the horizon for Aligned Energy?
AE-AS A: Cisco estimates that in two years, hyperscalers will account for 55 percent of all data center traffic and 65 percent of data stored in all data centers. At Aligned, we believe our ability to provide adaptable and efficient data centers composed of build-to-scale infrastructure that supports varying IT densities, is flexible to changing customer demands, and eliminates overprovisioning, will become essential to serving the explosive growth of this particular market sector.
With the coming proliferation of IoT-enabled devices, AI, autonomous vehicles, and smart city systems and applications, we cannot reduce the amount of data these technologies will generate, but we can strive to develop data center infrastructure that will mitigate their environmental impact.
Aligned Energy is committed to solving the world’s toughest sustainability challenges associated with data center infrastructure. For example, our cooling technology utilizes up to 80 percent less energy and 85 percent less water. Moreover, our cooling systems deliver efficiency at any load, in any climate, and regardless of location to support firms’ sustainability goals. Now, and into the future, Aligned will continue to pursue innovative solutions that reduce the environmental and economic impact of data centers.
DCP-ME Q: Thanks so much for allowing our readers this glimpse into Aligned Energy’s work and future in the industry, Andrew. Andrew and the Aligned Energy team will be attending ITW 2019 in Atlanta from June 23-26, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency and Marriott Marquis hotels. For more information about Aligned Energy, please visit www.alignedenergy.com.