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Changing face of Modular Data Centres

Date: 19th March 2013
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Modular data centres are evolving to address a wider range of business and operational requirements according to Rob Elder, Director of Keysource. Speaking at Data Centre World 2013 he explained that traditionally modular solutions had been developed to overcome construction and deployment challenges, but now there is an overwhelming demand for scalable facilities that also deliver high levels of performance, resilience and efficiency.

“The modular data centre is not a new concept, but the containerised and bespoke in a box type solutions we have seen in recent years tend to be for a very niche market and not particularly relevant for the wider data centre industry,” suggested Elder. “What we are now seeing is the introduction of standardised product-based solutions which are limited in how tailored they can be as well as solutions based on blue print designs that not only possess the simplicity of the modular approach but also the flexibility to be tailored to meet precise needs.”

Elder went on to explain that data centre owners and operators are looking to lower capital expenditure and minimise ongoing operating overheads in order to achieve a competitive total cost of ownership. He felt that a scalable solution enabled a data centre to deliver the right capacity only when needed keeping ongoing investment to a minimum. However, any facility still had to deliver in terms of performance, efficiency security, and management capability, so there are a number of considerations to ensure any new development is fit for purpose.

Probably the most significant design discussion point when considering a modular data centre is cooling. Most current solutions typically utilise fresh air cooling technology, which mostly achieve the level of efficiency owners and operators are looking for. However, as well as introducing a number of fundamental design considerations they can also significantly impact on uptime and create unnecessary risk. This is because legacy designs for chilled water systems especially those that have higher levels of availability have been expensive and difficult to design into scalable modular solutions, but this is where we are now seeing the marketplace going.

“Increasingly, we are seeing the need for scalable and standardised data centre coolingsolutions which do not use direct fresh air. This is why we have developed Ecofris which sits at the centre of our modular blueprint designs, providing a flexible building independent approach that can be tailored for specific business requirements. This means owners and operators can now benefit in terms of flexibility, cost efficiency and simplicity, but also achieve high levels of resilience and performance,” concludes Elder.

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