All types of data centers (DCs) are leaning towards sustainability, but there’s one niche in particular that may benefit: Modular. The requirements for DC facilities are constantly evolving with needs, technology, and innovations from the likes of startups. In just a few years, what we consider cutting edge may be a thing of the past. As economic cycles shift, different strategies are developed and market desires shift, the takeovers, mergers and acquisitions that are relatively common in the data center industry will only add more of a hodge podge approach. As such, DC infrastructures will require a change in storage, power supplies, architecture and beyond. However, all of these demands will happen while nobody knows what will be required tomorrow—let alone in a year.
It just makes sense that flexibility and scalability are “must haves” in data centers. Expansion should also be in the equation, changing functions as necessary, and other adaptations. From day one, the DC is designed to be wholly functional, but it can also change to suit a client’s needs as things change. Modular is, and should be, king.
But What is Modular, Anyway?
“Modular” in the data center industry isn’t tangible. It’s a philosophy that suits a prefab solution that’s already been developed with standard parts in place. It only takes a few weeks for the DC to be fully operational, and it has a very small window for “nurturing.” Expansion, of course, comes with ease. However, actually changing the functions of it and adapting to new types of demands can be a big challenge. With more flexibility in the design, the data center managers and clients get more freedom. Plus, future changes are also made simpler. It’s a means of investing in the future, whether that future happens next week or next year.
Modular is also a great pairing for eco-minded data centers. For starters, there’s no change of overcapacity when putting together the DC functionality. Today’s DCs are built quickly, and sometimes with little input for customization. If a current DC needs to be expanded, that’s also done rapidly. Either way, this can lead to massive overcapacity, requiring more and more power for networks, processing, and a slew of other items that ultimately waste this power (it might not ever be used). This wastes energy, time and money all in one fell swoop. However, with a modular option, this can be avoided. Begin small, cutting power consumption and costs, then build up as needed. No extra hardware is needed, components are very efficient, and you get scalable power.
A light, small carbon footprint is a given with modular DCs. They’re generally smaller and, if you like, they can remain small. Or they can expand. Enterprise DCs as a whole are getting smaller, with the Data Center 2025 survey revealing that 10 percent of respondents think enterprise DCs will be 90 percent smaller by 2025 than they are today. Also, 58 percent of respondents believe next generation DCs will be half the size they are today. Modular DCs might just be the ticket to making these forecasts come true.
Module DCs also offer smart cooling options. About 50 percent of energy used by DCs is re-used to keep servers cool. However, the latest technology lets modular DCs utilize outside air, steering clear of air conditioning. This allows for more adaptability as well as less energy consumption—and much lower bills. Finally, there’s the perk of fast, flexi-construction with modular DCs. This ushers in a world of eco benefits such as less transportation, less waste, and it only takes a few weeks for modular DCs to be copied. Buildings that are already in existence can be suited to modular DCs, or prefab buildings can be assembled off site and then transported. Buildings might be “fixed,” but with modular the environment is still scalable.
New Kid on the Block
Module DCs are relatively new, and they come with the most efficient tech on the market. This means components are easy to replace, you don’t need to shut down servers (let alone facilities) for changes, and everyone enjoys less carbon emissions. Parts last a long time, and recycling those parts sustainable is easy. Modular makes it simpler to pinpoint the best energy levels, instead of going all out with the biggest amount of power “just in case.”
Enjoy easily scaled and copied designs that are custom to your business, or downsize whenever you like. Cutting down the costs of operating a data center is just one of the upsides. It also caters to your growth needs, lets companies spread out there investments for longer periods of time, and fixed costs help with stabilization. To get started with a modular DC, make sure there’s an eco-friendly power supply, fiber backbone in the neighborhood, permissions for expansions (by city, county, etc.) are secured, and the site/building is large enough for future extensions.