Modular data center design

Last week, HP announced its plans for a concept of prefabricated data centers called the “Butterfly” for its wing-like structure. According to Greener Computing in their report of the story, “The company’s Flexible Data Center allows a more cost-effective way to build compute centers that can grow quickly as needed, rather than build for future technology needs.”

HP is not the only one to take up this modular approach to designing data centers. Microsoft, eBay, and smaller companies such as i/o Data Centers are all looking for ways to standardize the process of building a data center. Data center modules, sometimes called containers, are a response to this need.

Assembled in a factory, these containers can be shipped by truck to on-site locations and attached to existing data centers with relative ease – they are designed for scalability and offer less headaches as a result of IT hardware expansion.

One of the interesting cultural observations that the article on containers by Data Center Knowledge observes is that, despite the economic advantages of modular designs for data centers, there is still a stigma attached to them that must be overcome. After all, IT is serious business, and automatizing a process currently undertaken by trained professionals, hauling in a trailer-looking box of prefabricated computer equipment instead of individual customized units, seems almost demeaning.

But necessity is not only the mother of invention but also accommodation. If modular data center designs make mass computing easier and more efficient, then they are a worthwhile development.

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  • Floating data center: a ship full of servers – International Computer Concepts Blog 16.08.2010

    […] first prototype vessel is not being built as a modular data center, although once the concept is proven, that may be the method of deploying servers throughout future […]

  • Morrison Data Center Design 12.08.2011

    Worldwide, however, energy use by data centers, which had doubled from 2000 to 2005, rose by approximately 56 percent from 2005 to 2010.The report notes that the slower growth of energy usage here in the United States, among data centers, was due, in part, to fewer servers being installed than had been predicted by the Environmental Protection Agency in its 2007 report.

  • data center texas 12.09.2011

    The concept of Modular data center design-The company’s Flexible Data Center seems to be a more cost-effective way to build compute centers which grow quickly as needed.