Infrastructure Masons Meet in Dallas to Tackle Challenges to Data Centers

Data centers form the backbone to the modern economy, especially as many traditional services and businesses are increasingly moving online. However, maintaining and powering data centers can be quite costly. To discuss these challenges, Infrastructure Masons, or iMasons, met in Dallas last week at South Methodist University.

iMasons was founded by Mark Monroe, President of Energetic Consulting Inc, and Dean Nelson, Head of Uber Compute in 2016. Given the evolving challenges facing data centers and modern infrastructure, iMason was formed to allow industry professionals to meet and discuss potential solutions. The association has since grown to over 1,000 members worldwide.

Data centers are important to any economy. After all, internet giants like Facebook, YouTube, Google, Netflix, and others depend on digital clouds based in data centers. Yet, maintenance of data centers’ equipment is difficult; it needs to be replaced every three to five years and cloud applications that run on the equipment lasts only a few months. Perhaps more significant are the electrical power grids and utilities that allow these data centers and virtually everything else to function. As Monroe said, “If your social media site goes down, nobody dies. If your autonomous vehicle goes down and you’re connected to the grid on the foundation that the masons have built, then you’ve got something serious.”

In response to these challenges, the iMason members recognized that further investment in sustainable energy sources like wind and solar power energy is needed to meet the power demands of data centers. There is already hope that the data industry is influencing infrastructure changes, particularly towards renewable energy sources. Google, for instance, is known for pushing towards clean energy and the tech behemoth is now the largest renewable energy customer in the world. Utilities and infrastructure are responding to the demand.

In addition to the question of sustainability, the iMasons discussed other problems within the infrastructure industry, especially the aging work force and lack of diversity. Eddie Schutter, Head of Global Foundation Services at eBay, said, “It’s also an aging team in this industry. How do we bring in younger talent and how do we bring in the next generation?” New young and diverse talent are integral to leading new ideas in development. The importance of innovation in infrastructure cannot be overstated. In fact, innovation was a key factor in pushing for increasing the structural resiliency of data centers in Texas. This initiative allowed Texas data centers to continue to function despite Hurricane Harvey, in stark contrast to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

If you’re conducting R&D to innovate new ways to power data centers or improve infrastructure, you could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and can receive up to 14% back on your experiment expenses. To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today.

Swanson Reed regularly hosts free webinars and provides free IRS CE credits as well as CPE credits for CPA’s.  For more information please visit us at or contact your usual Swanson Reed representative.

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