Sears Turning Shuttered Stores into Data Centers as Ubiquity Critical Environments

Posted on May 26, 2013 in Economic News, Science & Technology

Kevin Hayden –

Source: Data Center Knowledge

Will blinking blue lights of servers soon fill the aisles that previously offered the Blue Light Special? Sears Holdings has formed a new unit to market space from former Sears and Kmart retail stores as a home for data centers, disaster recovery space and wireless towers.

With the creation of Ubiquity Critical Environments, Sears hopes to convert the retail icons of the 20th century into the Internet infrastructure to power the 21st century digital economy. Sears Holdings has one of the largest real estate portfolios in the country, with 3,200 properties spanning 25 million square feet of space. That includes dozens of Sears and Kmart stores that have been closed over the years.

Business Continuity, Complete With Starbucks

“There are compelling reasons why this is a great model,” said Sean Farney, the Chief Operating Officer of Ubiquity. “It used to be the business continuity centers were located in an industrial park. The customer has evolved to the point where they want a sexier location, where they can have access to a Starbucks and other retail, because it’s possible they may be there for weeks or months. Sears and Kmart stores are located in just such retail locations in major malls.”

Farney believes customers may be ready for a more distributed approach to business continuity. “In the past, customers had a single monolithic recovery center,” he said. “Now, after Sandy, there’s a need for multiple locations, because you don’t be tied to one location in a regional disaster. There’s a desire to have multiple locations spread costs across multiple areas. The Sears footprint really fits that.”

Major Opportunity in Wireless

Then there’s wireless, which is where Farney sees perhaps the most promising opportunity. Seventy percent of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Sears or Kmart store, he said.

“Sears and Kmart never deployed wireless on the rooftops, so there’s no rooftop usage at present,” he added. “There’s tons of interest. I will put as many of the rooftops in play as I can.”

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