TL; DR: Aligned Data Centers prides itself on promoting sustainability and innovation throughout its offerings and development processes. The company also found other ways to improve its supply chain management. Aligned raised more than $1.725 billion in funding to help expand its operations and to further develop its sustainability programs. The deal will allow them to operate with more agility. Aligned continues to elevate its innovations. The company has improved its Delta cube cooling technology to integrate seamlessly with waterless systems, and its vendor-managed inventory has helped customers avoid the chaos of the pandemic-induced supply chain crisis.
The logistics of supply chain management has for years remained a distant or even nonexistent thought for most consumers. People could order online, go to the store, and never worry about their favorite item being out of stock. But this story has since changed.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the ebb and flow of the global supply chain, leaving empty grocery shelves, car chip shortages, and massive online shipping delays in its wake. For many people, the past two years were the first time they considered the impact of the supply chain on their daily lives. Today most consumers can say they have experienced the reality of an unbalanced supply system.
But the team at Aligned has been thinking ahead. By changing its methodology years before, the company tackled the supply chain crisis before it began. Through the pandemic, the company was able to source the modular equipment needed for its data center builds on-cycle to customers thanks to a pre-purchased 50 MW Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI).
Reimagining traditional processes is nothing new for Aligned. The company continuously innovates its products and datacenters to meet the market’s changing standards and futureproof its operations. Aligned’s commitment to innovation and sustainability is even more evident in its goal to be carbon-neutral.
Aligned provides a wide range of datacenter solutions, including Scale Data Centers (wholesale colocation), Powered Shell, and Build-to-Scale (build-to-suit) optionality for cloud, enterprise, and managed service providers. Its top-of-the-line datacenters promote sustainability and all of the company’s new builds are designed with a waterless standard in mind. Aligned products are built-to-scale and adapt to changing growth patterns, allowing businesses to have freedom with their demand.
“We found the gaps, and we addressed them. So in terms of our manufacturing and operations, we’re going to continue to hone that down. But now, we’re looking further down to our supply chain and actively working on those elements as well. Having a holistic view is important,” said Phill Lawson-Shanks, Chief Innovation Officer of Aligned.
Tackling the Global Supply Chain Crisis
The global supply chain crisis has wreaked havoc on company operations worldwide. The need for supply chain optimization is at an all-time high. Fortunately for Aligned, the infrastructure provider had redesigned its supply management system a few years prior, setting it up for the long haul. The company calls it vendor-managed inventory or VMI.
“Where we differ is we pre-purchased a huge amount of capacity from all of our supply chains, whereas others draw it down as they need it, and the supply holds it for them. But we own it,” said Phill.
Aligned assessed its competitors and realized they would order inventory from suppliers and have the suppliers hold the entire batch for them.
Instead of holding, Aligned has its suppliers build components and then assemble its finished goods within cycle time. That way, its supply of finished goods and components, which the company also uses for spare parts, can stay steady and auto-replenished. Aligned generates a constant fulfillment cycle to maintain its product delivery with this model.
The company also found other ways to improve its supply chain management. Aligned raised more than $1 billion in funding to help expand its operations and to further develop its sustainability programs. The deal will allow them to operate with more agility.
“This patient capital will be instrumental when it comes to Aligned’s further expansion and strategic land acquisition, as well as supply chain. It makes us much more nimble,” said Phill.
Aligned Survives — and Thrives — Without Water
Aligned has applied its sharp focus on sustainability throughout the company. And that is apparent in its initiatives and product innovations. The company’s philosophy doesn’t just hold to its offerings but has also spread to the work culture and the materials it offers in-house.
“We’ve made environmentally-conscious changes across all aspects of our business, from the way we design and construct our data centers, to how we operate them. From sustainable construction material, to eco-friendly soap, paper towels, and bathroom tissue,” said Phill.
Its primary investor, Macquarie Asset Management (MAM), also shares this ideal and has set its eyes on achieving an ambitious green goal in the near future.
Aligned’s cutting-edge datacenters also highlight its ecological advancements. Its Delta Cube infrastructure allows customers to grow sustainably without the risk of capacity planning and over-provisioning. Phill said the company constantly analyzes it to ensure it’s the best on the market. So, Aligned took the patented cooling technology a step forward.
“Waterless is now our design standard moving forward. This aligns with and supports many regions water conservation programs, particularly Phoenix and Chicago,” said Phill.
Aligned’s Delta Cube cooling technology allows the company’s datacenters to operate effectively on waterless chillers while saving energy and money. The cooling system adapts to a company’s IT workload and supports various rack densities.
“We can continue to enable hyperscalers and large enterprises to Expand on Demand with mixed capacity and industry-leading PUEs without the use of water. So, we’re now rolling that out across new builds,” said Phill.
Aligned is now building these datacenters in Salt Lake City, Chicago, and Virginia, among other locations. Phill said Aligned doesn’t overbuild its infrastructure and only puts it into play when the company needs it. This way, it helps clients save money on infrastructure costs.
Intelligent Energy and Land Use For An Ideal Ecological Future
Aligned customers are a big part of its culture and development process. Phill said the company has a customer satisfaction committee that handles customer feedback and implementation. The team works with clients and meets with senior leadership every quarter to assess the market and customer requests.
“At Aligned, we work with very sophisticated customers that are particular about how they operate their infrastructure – because they have to be. When it comes to density, sustainability, and scale, they have expectations that most legacy colo and wholesale providers don’t adhere to. As an adaptive data center builder and operator with speed, scale and sustainability in mind, Aligned can address those needs for our customers,” said Phill.
Aligned looks to add more locations on the map to meet customer needs and growing demand. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed it to ramp up its buy-and-build process. Phill said the Aligned team anticipates more absorption as the competition within the hyperscale market heats up.
Aligned also continues to improve its security and acquire new technology.
“We set out to monitor every single endpoint for intrusion detection. We monitor all inbound (and) outbound traffic from our infrastructure and lock it down in an instant. That is so important nowadays,” said Phill.
Aligned also continues to innovate in the area of sustainability. It has recently enhanced its Delta Cube cooling technology to have 25% greater cooling capacity. Additionally, the organization has teamed up with Ledger8760 for more effective, real-time carbon tracking. It has also embarked on a partnership with an organization that has developed an open standard to support traceability of product and structure, which it plans to roll out across its data centers and supply chain.