A must have for any data centre

One of our clients has had toilet facilities put next to its Data Centre.

Perhaps we should offer a maintenance contract.

Consumable will be marigolds, toilet paper, air freshener, magazines and a bit of domestos for all !!

A new version of a Modular data centre

Modular data centres have for some time helped customers lower the cost of new facilities and overcome the challenges associated with such builds.  Modular data centres can also provide secure facilities within existing buildings or allow a data centre to be put in unusual locations where it would not be appropriate to have a new build, either because of planning laws or space.

But they are not the only Modular option available.  ‘Containerised data centres’ are often associated with huge data centre projects, such as those run by the public cloud vendors with tens of thousands of servers and the need for constant growth.  In those instances, they are chosen for speed, cost effectiveness and ease of installation, but those benefits are not only true when working at scale.  There are several scenarios where a containerised data centre might be just right for you, even if you are a much smaller business.

Containerised solutions can form small data centres where they help resolve space, deployment time, build complexity and cost challenges.
But they are very flexible and depending on the internal configuration can perform very well in low or high density applications.  In an emergency, containerised solutions can also shine as part of a disaster recovery plan if already fitted out with the infrastructure, where they can be rapidly deployed to a site as a temporary solution.

If you are facing a data centre design and build challenge and any of the following resonate with you then you should certainly add a containerised data centre to the possible solution list.

 

  • Speed is of the essenceIf you need your data centre built quickly then containerisation can substantially shorten delivery times. Many companies offer them in standard ‘ready to load’ configurations, but you can of course have the interior designed to meet specific requirements, if your partner offers this.
  •  Site suitabilityIn some locations it is simply impossible to house a new a data centre. This could be due to footprint, budget or even local planning regulations.  Often in these situations, a container can be a solution accepted by all and that implemented with a minimum of fuss or raised eyebrows from the CFO!
  •  Construction must be offsiteThere could be many reasons why you can’t build a data centre on site, for example, if it is a high security area, or the data centre is only needed in a disaster recovery situation such as a flood, so you want to keep it offsite. A containerised solution can be fully designed, fitted out and tested at a separate location.  It could even be running in a separate location mirroring servers at the main location and can then be dropped in as a ‘clone’ when needed.
  • Your DC needs to be mobile – The beauty of containerised DCs is that they are very easily moved between locations, even shipped around the world, if your builder has the correct Lloyd’s certification.

 

There are a couple of misconceptions about containerised data centres, the first being that they really are just a temporary solution. Even though the technology in them is the same as that which would go into a ‘normal’ data centre build. If you pick the right partner, then your container will be custom designed and built from the frame up and will carry enviable Lloyds Register structural warranties to give you peace of mind.  You’ll have extended or upgraded the data centre long before those warranties expire.

The other reasonable question that a data centre manager should ask, is about the ability of a containerised data centre to maintain effective cooling and achieve strong Power Usage Efficiency ratings – the misconception is that they will fall short.  Our own experience has shown that they can deliver the same high standards as a modular or traditional data centre builds.  As outlined above this is because they use the same equipment, including monitoring systems – they are well suited to high density applications where heat can be an issue precisely because of the way containers are configured.  Also, where there are particularly stringent demands it is not uncommon to have a second container which is responsible for housing switchgear, batteries, UPS and cooling hardware, though these can be housed within container ‘rooms’.

Containerised data centres are not a replacement for a modular room or bespoke data centre build, they are simply another option.  As we have seen above in certain situations their advantages may make them perfectly suited to the challenges that you are trying to overcome.  The important thing is to consider each option on its merits and select the solution that meets both your strategic IT goals, as well as the future plans of your organisation.

 

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