Benefits of Modular Data Center Design
The speed of scaling data processing operations up for every size organization - from huge colos or dedicated data centers, to the on-site data operations for a medium sized business, all the way to edge data centers - is increasing exponentially every year. Data center management teams are expected to manage growth and scale on an annual, or even quarterly basis, instead of building and leveraging the same footprint for three to five years at a time.
And as growth projections change, data processing facilities need to adapt quickly to keep costs under control and maintain reliability. Improving efficiency is a huge component of this: scaling up operations for greater demand does not include a blank check for exponentially larger power costs for keeping things up and running, and keeping things cool.
What is a modular data center?
A modular data center is one that is designed to use fully integrated hardware and systems. Instead of specifying, procuring, and installing each component individually, the data center uses pre-configured elements that integrate all necessary systems.
For example, pre-configured cabinets include tools to manage power supply, cable management, and airflow all at the cabinet level. Installation is as simple as opening the container and plugging the cabinet into the room-level systems.
At Legrand Cabinets and Containment Business unit, we offer both customizable cabinet options that allow our customers to source each component individually, as well as modular, fully integrated, pre-configured cabinet and containment solutions. While both have their place and use cases, there are many important benefits to choosing modular, pre-configured, fully integrated data center cabinets.
Why choose a modular data center design?
There are so many good reasons to use modular cabinets and containment systems in your next build out. At a high level, because all the necessary components are included in a modular system, these create a more consistent, standard environment with streamlined IT operations and more predictable performance at every level. But more specifically, there are three critical benefits to outfitting a data center with modular hardware:
When you opt for pre-configured and modular hardware, you can consolidate many accessory purchases down to one purchase order. That’s easier for your finance team and your procurement team, not to mention your installers. Instead of sourcing each component or accessory on its own, tracking the order, correctly reporting on the payment, and all the other administrative tasks that go along with procurement, that work is trimmed down to far fewer individual pieces and POs.
Speed of deployment
Once you’ve purchased a modular cabinet or containment system and its delivered, the lead time for getting that equipment online is often hours or days, instead of weeks. With everything configured off site, your teams can focus on plugging these elements into the overall design and making sure the build out is working from a room or building level perspective, instead of being caught in the details of running cables and wires over and over again. And, of course, as data processing needs change, scaling up a modular data center is as easy to finding that one PO, placing a few more orders, and plugging the new hardware in.
Greater energy and cooling efficiency
Perhaps the most significant benefit of opting for modular data center installations is the increase in efficiency they bring for both cooling and overall power usage. Modular systems can be much more efficient in an abstract way for an organization, but your data center can see real cost savings when deploying modular systems.
According to data from BICSI (Building Industry Consulting Service International), modular data centers provide 40 percent greater energy efficiency than an open data center environment.
It is easier to cool confined space of a modular data center, and integrated containment systems make it easier to adhere to strict prevention of hot and cold air mixing. What’s more, data centers built out using integrated, pre-configured cabinets and containment systems minimize standard capacity: adding more units doesn’t put more demand on cooling systems or create hotspots.
In addition, especially important for edge data centers, modular hardware can be strategically positioned in limited footprints to optimize airflow. With a modular system, you can maximize the capacity of valuable data center real estate.