The Future of Data Centers

Get familiar with the Modular Data Center

As companies grow it becomes more important for them to ensure their servers are well protected.  Traditionally there have been two options:

  1. Put everything in a room and pray that nothing goes wrong in there
  2. Put everything in a managed data center ensuring their gear is always on and running.

There is a new option these days for companies that might outgrow their traditional data center.  The modular data center is a data center that can be placed anywhere.  You need data center capacity in Chicago, you can ship a module.  If it’s needed in Bangalore, India, a module can be shipped there as well.  The data center can now be shipped to you.

Vital to the concept of the data center is the protection of the servers housed within it.  They are particularly sensitive to temperatures and humidity. Controlling the atmosphere is vital to the efficient operation of these highly advanced machines. Modular data centers house many racks of servers. These data centers must be carefully planned so that the high price servers are optimized for prolonged use. In order to provide cloud computing services for third party vendors, companies such as Sun Microsystems, IBM and i/o have created shippable units the size of a shipping container. Others such as Carter and T5 prefer to house these servers in a brick and mortar location and build optimized spaces to house their servers.

These container units have extensive computer controlled HVAC systems that can be remotely controlled. Cooling and heating is accomplished via air and/or liquids. While variants like temperature and humidity play a huge factor in the operating of these devices, other administrative tasks are required as well. Maintaining these networked computer systems is the job of the network administrator. Many businesses depend on virtual servers to provide data storage and processing power to end users. It is becoming common practice to outsource your server and data storage needs to third party vendors. While companies focus on achieving sales goals, accounting activities, inventory systems and human resource elements, they leave the database storage to virtual devices enabling their budget to remain low.

The providers of virtualization acquire these modular data centers and charge a fee to users who wish to utilize the storage space and computing power. By acquiring modular data centers that come ready to ship in containers, Buyers experience almost ten times the deployment time vs traditional data center configuration. Other benefits to these specialized data centers include:

  • A Unified Storage platform
  • Significantly lower cooling costs in a fraction of the space
  • Higher density per rack
  • Optimized power distribution
  • High efficiency UPS

All in all, there are many different support systems required to facilitate the safety and occupancy requirements of these modular data center containers including fire detection, emergency off buttons, fresh air supply, smoke dampers and much more. Adding additional racks of servers is accomplished fairly easily and can be done without interrupting current operations.

David Shandler is a technologist with an interest in the modular data center, data centers and general, and cloud computing.

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