There was a time, not too long ago, when the overwhelming perception of the data center was that every facility was unique. The snowflake phase of data center design coincided with the height of the enterprise data center era, when virtually every company felt the need to own and operate its own facility. That may seem like a lifetime ago, but this remained the norm until the cloud matured and the gradual bifurcation of the data center space produced the hyperscale and edge-dominated landscape we know today.

Of course, the enterprise data center is far from extinct. Hyperscale and edge are growing at faster rates, but the pressures driving change across the enterprise segment — the desire to streamline and simplify operations and reduce costs and carbon footprint — also are spurring changes in data center solutions and design. The purpose-built enterprise data center is fading from view, replaced instead with standardized designs featuring prefabricated, modular buildings and components.