Economics of Modular Data Centers19 Feb 2014, Prerna Sharma, DATAQUEST
There are many factors responsible for assessing the cost to deploy a data center. This holds true for both modular and traditional data centers.
However, two key factors contributing to lower cost in building a modular DC are attributable to the lesser complexity on installation & commissioning and the enhanced energy efficiency. Modular data centers continue to grow in popularity, as evident by growing investment in modular technologies for computing within the DC.
The trend started with achieving greater consolidation within DC component such as servers, storage, etc, under a unified network protocol across the enterprise. Modular DC complements the overall roadmap for consolidation by offering on-premise out-of-the-box environment that can be deployed at any place within the facility.
Modular data centers are packaged in standard forms that include server racks, power and cooling units, redundant power supply hooks and networking gear that can help companies build out private clouds while keeping capital and operational costs low.
Some companies require a quick build-out of a data center in situation like natural disasters or other emergencies. A modular data center can be fully functional in a pod-like form, and can be setup in a week's time.
A modular data center can be built to cater to specific requirements through multiple vendors and technologies within the same rack. The DC solution is highly scalable to meet future requirements with headroom for growth.
Why Modular Data Center?
- On-premise modular data centers can give much better control on management and security compared to co-location DC. The deployment and commissioning services are also standardized to meet the needs of an average customer.
- Modular DC certainly provides lower power consumption compared to traditional DC. It is a clear advantage is for the customer who can deploy more computing without additional power capacity augmentation.
- Certain modular DC providers have the capability to design data centers on tier-3 standards to ensure near 100% uptime.
- Like traditional DC, the modular data center can also scale out to the ever growing compute demand in future and also support 24x7 business operations.
- Last but not the least, a clear advantage that can be defined for a modular data center is to have a central management solution for a single console management of the entire infrastructure with regard to deployment, periodic monitoring and maintenance, upgradations, and third party component integration.
Power supply to traditional data center has been through the primary source of power to the facility. Redundancies were built through large complex external power source such as industrial-grade UPS. This resulted in high cost and higher depreciation of IT equipments due to excess heat generation. The cooling architecture was also built externally for each rack component separately to manage the required temperature within the DC.
In case of modular data center, the power and cooling is built within the rack solution making it more portable than its traditional counterparts, and it results in reduced power outage and efficient cooling at much lower cost.
Though the acceptability for modular data centers is higher in countries like Russia, France, UK, and Brazil, the market is nascent in India but holds the potential to emerge as a fast growing geography in the future. Since the overall solutions meet the demand for a converged and secure DC facility, customers are choosing modular data centers as the preferred option for infrastructure expansion as well as business continuity.