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Why you should consider going prefab with your data centre

Published: September 20th, 2017 By: Glenn Weir

Schneider Electric

Ninety per cent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years, and according to a recent report from IDC, worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics (BDA) will grow to $203 billion by 2020, up from just over $130 billion in 2016.

The dramatic “rise” of data is undeniable, and it puts many companies in dire need of data centre efficiency and flexibility. It also creates a time of opportunity for data centre operators who can successfully find new ways of transforming their operations to deliver fast and cost-effective services. For a new generation of IT leader, that means passing on the traditional “brick and mortar” approach to building data.

For a new generation of IT leader, that means passing on the traditional “brick and mortar” approach to building data centres in favour of a prefabricated, or modular, approach.

WYSIWYG and other benefits
We all know about “prefab,” or modular, homes, which are “cutout,” built-from-template dwelling places for families that place greater importance on affordability and functionality than style or originality. There are no surprises in this approach to home design. The client knows exactly what they will get for their money.

Modular data centres offer this same WYSIWYG (“What you see is what you get”). With this approach, the critical infrastructure systems are put together and tested in a controlled manufacturing environment before being deployed. This provides for some other intriguing benefits, including but not limited to:

  • Time savings – A modular data centre can be deployed in weeks as all components are standardized and are shipped in a single tested and assembled unit.
  • Easier planning – When you know up front what you are getting, there is less of a need to map out multiple contingency plans (i.e., “no surprises”).
  • Cost savings – Companies can save 13 per cent or more in first cost compared to doing a traditional build-out of the same infrastructure. Savings are even more dramatic when the traditional data centre is overbuilt in capacity and provisioned up front with typical power and cooling systems and controls.
  • Flexibility and scalability – You can ship your data centre anywhere and easily add, integrate, or retrofit it into virtually any data centre environment.

Convert, Construct or Source?
Data centre stakeholders today are faced with important options when it comes to deploying new data centre power and cooling infrastructure:

  1. Convert an existing room on their premises into a data centre?
  2. Construct an extension to house additional power and cooling equipment?
  3. Source the power and cooling from a series of prefabricated facility modules?

The old and the new
The prefab approach stands in stark contrast with the legacy approach  of provisioning physical infrastructure for a data centre with unique, one-time engineering, and all assembly, installation, and integration occurring at the construction site.

New economic realities are making it difficult — and for some companies, impossible — to bear the brunt of heavy upfront costs and extended construction times for building a traditional data centre. The availability of pre-engineered prefabricated facility modules allows the planning cycle to switch from an onsite construction focus to onsite integration of pre-manufactured, pre-tested blocks of power and cooling. The result of this change in focus is a fast, efficient, low-cost delivery solution.

Interested in learning more about data centre infrastructure? Download Schneider Electric’s white paper Prefabricated Power and Cooling Modules for Data Centers to explore the prefab data centre model from all angles.