Sears gets into data center business

Posted by Nick Farrell

Sears has decided that one of the best things to do with all those stores it had to close after the US ran out of money was to convert them into data centers.

According to Datacentre Knowledge, Sears has created a Ubiquity Critical Environments unit which will convert a Sears retail store in Chicago into data centre space.

The cunning plan is to market space from former Sears and Kmart retail stores as a home for data centers, disaster recovery space and wireless towers.

This way the company will convert the shells of the 20th century retail industry into tools for the 21st century digital economy.

Sean Farney, the Chief Operating Officer of Ubiquity, said that the goal was to reposition Sears' assets.

The big idea is that you have a technology platform laid atop a retail footprint, creating the possibility for a product with a different look to it, he said.

So what does Sears know about data centers? Well Farney does know a thing or two as he previously managed Microsoft's huge Chicago data centre, and then ran a network of low-latency services for the financial services firm Interactive Data.

Sears aims to use the property of both closed stores and some that are still operating. Each building is being evaluated to see if they can become a data center.

The first Ubiquity project will be a Sears store on the south side of Chicago. The 127,000 square foot store is closing at the end of June, and will be retrofitted as a multi-tenant data centre. Farney says he already has a commitment for the first tenant at the site on East 79th Street, which has five megawatts of existing power capacity and the potential to expand.