Industry Buzz: Modular Data Centers Stage a Comeback

data center modular design
03.11.14
James Mulvey

IBM takes a renewed interest in modular data centers during this year’s NYC Converged conference. We explain what makes a modular data center, well, ‘modular.’

DCD Converged – Each year industry professionals come together at the annual DCD (datacenterdynamics) Converged conference to network and share what’s new in the way of data center hardware, software and IT related management systems.

Modular data centers are making a comeback this year at IBM, who just announced yet another addition to its portfolio, a modular data center that can be pieced together and shipped anywhere.

Why Modular Data Centers?

Modular data center solutions have been around for quite some time. Even today, the concept is not widely embraced, however modular data center solutions offer a couple advantages over their “bricks and mortar” counterparts: scalability; cost effectiveness; greater efficiency; quicker deployment.

The selling point of IBM’s latest modular data center is portability; two square-foot ceiling and wall panels are shipped right to the customer’s door where they can be assembled onsite creating a data center “shelter.” Companies that have outgrown their legacy facility can buy as much space as needed to create more data center floor space – while simultaneously choosing the hardware options they need to scale up resources in a timely manner.

Modular Solutions Explained

A modular solution is a pre-fabricated data center module that can be made to order, but key differences do apply:

Container: This type of data center is just that – a pre-fabricated container built to order and delivered on site. As soon as power and cooling provisions are brought online, the container can begin to serve end users.

Modular: IBM’s latest offering is a perfect example of a ‘modular’ data center solution; pre-fabricated walls, ceilings, and floors are shipped to clients and are assembled on site.

Modular Providers: Modular providers build and lease modular style data centers to clients affording them the ability to reduce upfront costs.

Bricks and Mortar Vs Modular

Bricks and Mortar facilities cost significantly more to construct and take longer to deploy but still remain the preferred model of choice for wholesale operators who have the ability to lease floor space to re-sellers as soon as construction is complete.

Modular solutions appeal to organizations looking to deploy data center space in increments – typically within a location that may not offer the space or power requirements needed to support scalable growth. IBM’s latest product offerings may not be groundbreaking but the plug and play nature offers enough flexibility to address deployment concerns of growing organizations.

[DataCenterKnowledge]

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