The Environmental Perks of Using Modular Data Centers

IBM Modular Data Center

In recent years, modular data centers have become a more flexible, energy efficient, and environmentally-friendly alternative to their traditional brick and mortar counterparts.  Let’s learn something about them.

 

Characteristics

Modular data systems are comprised of pre-engineered modules and components which are scaled down to fit into the data center capacity together with an array of power and cooling options. These modules can be packed and shipped to any location in the world where they are integrated into an existing data center or combined into a new system of modules. Being modular, these components are standardized, which simplifies their manufacture and installation.

 

Types of Modular Data Centers

There are two basic types, considering their form. The more popular type is the portable data center container, which houses data equipment like servers, storage and networking equipment into a regular shipping container. An advantage of this concept is that you can take it anywhere, and deploy where you need. Shipping containers are relatively easy to obtain, they are durable and easy to modify, ban most importantly a sustainable building resource. Containerized data centers are usually delivered with integrated cooling systems.

An alternative concept is called pre-fabricated modular data center. In this case, equipment is fitted into a facility composed of prefabricated components that can be built on-the-spot, and expanded as the capacity needs increase.

One example is Flexible Data Center, made by HP. It is constructed of sheet metal component’s that are arranged to form four data center halls connected by a central operating building.

HP Modular Data Center

 

Uses

Modular data centers have characteristics that allow them to be deployed rapidly, provide high-density computing and data capacity, combined with higher rgyrgy efficiency and reduced construction costs, As a form of increasingly popular converged infrastructure, modular data centers are built on terms that enable scaling the whole operation down, cutting the building costs, and follow more effective energy usage strategies, as well as considering the other environmental issues.

In addition, manufacturing techniques employed in their fabrication, can reduce costs per unit.  The modular designs avoids the need for field maintenance and spare parts management.

 

Advantages

Modular data center projects have influenced the strategies that designers use for installing cooling systems, power supplies and the arrangement of components. Besides the lower construction costs, the construction process of a single unit can be finished within months.

These facilities show smaller environmental footprint and feature increased flexibility. The prefabricated parts are easy to assemble or disassemble, every operation can be extended by adding more space or moving the unit to a new site. New units can be fully customizable and tailored to the customer needs.

 

Justification

Before you start planning to shift from traditional data centers to modular data units, you have to consider a few things that will make it easier to decide which option is right for you. First, you have to take your business priorities into account.

  • Is there a need for portable data facility? Then you need to consider possible locations.
  • Do you own a space or you share it with another organization? The distance of the possible location is also a factor.
  • Is it remote or local? Eventually, what kind of equipment do you need to purchase for equipping the data center.

Finally, does your business plans for expansion justify the move towards the mobile solutions?

 

Staffing and Resources

Two important factors behind modular or pre-fabricated data units is the allocation and availability of staff and money. When thinking about buying or building a portable data center, you need to have these question answered.