The robot-maintained data center
Data centers have two big problems:
- clearances have to be allowed for humans to move about, and
- they have to be filled with air for the humans to breathe.
If you design the data center to be built out, maintained, and upgraded by robots, then the dimensions of packs, crates, racks, aisles, pods, floors, etc. can be done with an eye towards maximizing efficiency rather than designing for human access. Of course, this requires robotics compatible designs for cooling, power distribution, cabling, equipment mounting, etc. as well as servers and networking gear.
It may be possible to fill the data center with a liquid coolant instead of air. The advantages of doing so may be greater at the high densities of equipment enabled by using robots for all physical operations.
The design of the robots and the design of the data center would be done together to jointly optimize efficiency.