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Multi-year deal sees Datapod deployed globally for resources giant

Datapod recently signed a 5 year deal with a major resources company that will see the Datapod system deployed globally in a variety of climatic regions and a range of sizes and densities – all based on the standardized Datapod architecture.  Factory-built systems will be rolled out from July 2018 to sites across Australia, and globally from the following year.  Competition from manufacturers around the world fell away as the customer’s stringent technical and safety demands became apparent.  Datapod’s proven track record in the resource sector as well as our >1500 days without LTI safety record were key factors in our selection, according to Managing Director Scott Carr.  “You can’t operate for nearly 5 years without incident unless safety is embedded in the culture of the company”.  

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Single Module ‘Projectpod’ systems discontinued as customers preference multi-module systems

With customers increasingly opting for the flexibility of a scalable architecture Datapod have decided to withdraw from sale the single module ‘Projectpod’ systems.  Whilst the non-scalable Projectpod’s met a certain niche requirement where a small number of low-density racks was required, they came with limitations that restricted their application.  Some customers found the lack of space a restriction where building code approvals were required for permanent deployments.  The lack of a spacious pre-conditioned work zone separate from the datahall was also missed by customers who had experience of both the scalable and non-scalable systems.

As customers have become aware of the benefits of the un-restricted scaling ability of the Datapod system it has become the predominant choice.  Most customers also view their Datapod system as a permanent deployment  meaning that they expect and require functionality equal to or exceeding that of a ‘brick & mortar’ facility.  Existing Projectpod work-in-progress will be completed and the production line migrated to scalable Datapod modules.

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Datapod delivers complete datacenter including all site infrastructure to remote locations by air

Datapod has completed the delivery of a multi-module end-to-end facility including chillers, generators, main boards, fire suppression and a highly configured datahall to a remote, hazardous location by air, using An-124 and C-17a heavy lift aircraft.  Achieving certification for air-transport was a significant milestone for Datapod as the requirements incorporated in the relevant national air transport standards present significant engineering hurdles that had to be overcome.  Re-engineering the Datapod modules for airfreight, including being capable of withstanding up to 6G forces required a complete review of every component.  For information on how the Datapod system could meet your mission requirements contact us through enquiries@datapod.com.au

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Datapod Low-Profile PROJECTPOD enables fly-in deployment anywhere in the world

Canberra, January 28, 2016: Modular data center manufacturer Datapod has released a low-profile single module ‘all-in-one’ system that can be flown to it’s deployment site in the ubiquitous ‘Herc’.  The Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Hercules is the most commonly used logistics transport aircraft in the world, in use with the UN, and most western governments/armed forces.  

Canberra-headquartered Datapod has recognized the demand for an ‘all-in-one’ modular data center system.  The ‘Projectpod’ range of single module units provides users with between 4 and 7 IT/Communications racks, with higher density versions supported by externally mounted heat-exchange condenser units to ensure loads of up to 15KW per rack can be accommodated.  

LOW-DENSITY RACKS IN A LOW-PROFILE MODULE

In an effort to reduce the overall form-factor of the module which would allow the system to be flown in the C-130J Hercules, Datapod have engineered a reduced-height system with in-built airconditioning module.  Capable of accommodating 4 low-density racks of ICT equipment, and featuring a separate UPS rack, with internal air-lock facility to maintain the cleanliness of the IT environment, the Low-Profile Projectpod is expected to fulfil the needs of organizations requiring rapid deployability in remote areas.  Whether it be in support of humanitarian work, in a military theater, or research studies in the field, localized IT capacity is now considerably simpler to deploy. 

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HOW TO SPECIFY A DATAPOD MODULAR DATA CENTER

Designing a data center can be difficult – few people ever get to do this because for most organizations it’s a once in 10 years requirement.   In the past, when every server room, computer room or data center was unique, this was a difficult proposition.  You needed to have or have access to a wide range of skills, not just around the IT requirement but a full multi-disciplinary spectrum including engineering (power, cooling, civil), project management, and of course financial skills.  It’s quite likely that the one-time engineered facility designed and built for your needs shared some characteristics with other facilities, but was essentially unique, a one-time engineered facility with all the unique problems, costs and delays that come with it.

‘ With ‘Datacenter 2.0’ came standardisation, repeatability and the associated savings in time, cost and complexity.  Datapod pioneered the manufactured approach for scalable modular data centers and the benefits are easy to see, and easy to realize.  In this post I’ll explain the simple steps you need to take in order to configure a system that meets your needs and how to progress this through to design stage and budget costing.

The Datapod website contains a wealth of information in our ‘Resources’ section on data center design, including videos, renders, articles. and whitepapers/technical documents.  This is a good place to spend some time, but if you just want to get straight into it, these are the questions you need answers to

 PRIMARY DESIGN QUESTIONS

  • How many racks do you need?
  • What is the average power density per rack?
  • Rack sizes and depths?
  • Does it need to scale, and what is the projected growth over time?
  • Do you need a non-IT work area and if so, how large?
  • What level of redundancy or resiliency do you require in power, cooling and generator?
  • Do you have a preference in cooling system type (Chilled Water or DX)? 

Once these questions are answered the system can be configured and ballpark pricing estimated.  Exact pricing is dependant upon the fine detail – the accessorization of the facility which can have a significant positive impact on the functionality, usability and cost of operation, as well as the price

SECONDARY DESIGN QUESTIONS

  • Free cooling 
  • Humidification/dehumidification
  • Security options – Access Control, CCTV
  • Fire detection and suppression options
  • Structured cabling solutions
  • Power distribution options
  • Color scheme and branding
  • Site preparation and delivery requirements

You certainly don’t need all of the answers on ‘Day-1’.  With the building block approach to datacenter design it is easy to add-in or remove items as you need to make design changes.  

Take the first step now by reviewing some of the online data at the Datapod website, Facebook or VIMEO to see how these systems might match your requirements, and then get in contact with Datapod directly.  You can do this via the form below, or directly to me at adam.smith@datapod.com.au

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Five more reasons to deploy a modular data center

There are many benefits of a modular data center system and here are five more reasons to deploy a modular data center system.

Data Center Colocation

Co-locating IT hardware can often be out of the question for IT departments for reasons of security or convenience.

Where outsourcing is not an option, in-house data centers are necessary. The unique technical and engineering requirements of even small server rooms make this a complex and expensive decision as IT systems virtualize and become denser.

Company mergers or organizational restructuring

Mergers, new projects or other sudden increases in demand on IT systems will be problematic for  traditional data center, designed for static, low density loads.

When expansion or refurbishment of a traditional data center is likely to be prohibitively priced. At such a time the option of accessing additional data center capacity in the short term can be highly advantageous to business operations.

Short term requirement like events or time specific projects

Short-term requirements are often difficult to address. Investment may be considered for a temporary requirement, when a more appropriate course of action would be a short-term rental. Datapods can be rented for short periods.

Better still the modular data center system can be disassembled and shipped to the next or new location.

Remote or harsh environments

Harsh environments cause unique challenges for IT managers. Housing IT systems in a secure, weather-proofed Datapod System can effectively protect the systems from the effects of dust, dirt and temperature/humidity variations.

Without such protection the entire IT infrastructure could be at risk, leading to significant and expensive disruption to business operations.

Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery sites are often located close to primary IT operations simply for the convenience of staff. By utilizing a remotely deployable Datapod System, your transportable DR system can be taken to pre-arranged locations as/when required.

By simply providing a prepared, level site with access to power, a DR system can be delivered and be up and running quickly.

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Preparing a data center tender: Proximity, power an tier certification

Many organisations are still stuck in the old paradigm when preparing a data center tender, not knowing the industry has moved significantly since the last time they went to tender, and in some cases not knowing what new technologies are available and how that would actually better suit their organisation’s needs.

One such advancement in data center design is the modular data center. The scalability, agility and portability of a modular data center system means a modular system can meet any data center requirement.

Let’s take a look at proximity, power and tier certification issues considered in a medium density data center tender relocation project.

Proximity

Many tenders require a facility to be located near or within a specific radius of a given location. The portability of a modular data center system, like the Datapod System, means the facility can be placed in any prepared site location. Locations can include greenfield sites, roof top spaces (with appropriate load bearing capacity), as well as other inner city or urban locations, indoors or out. Furthermore, the scalability means the data center can be added to either vertically or horizontally at a later date – extending the life and functionality of the data center while lowering the overall cost.

Proximity also dictates accessibility to other services, such as:

– Fibre paths
– Carriage services
– Power utility
– Road access
– Rail access
– Water supply

NB: with the addition of the Utilitypod, and access to satellite services the Datapod System can be deployed to remote locations that do not have access to a power utility. This makes the Datapod System attractive for defence, mining or humanitarian locations.

Rack /Kw range for example, 3Kw, 5Kw, 7kW, 12kW, 15kW, 20Kw, 30kW

Modular systems can be configured to a number of different densities for example:

Rack power capacity based on commonly available circuit breaker sizes or combinations of breakers, ie:

  •  (1ø)16amp (3.7KW),
  •  (1ø) 32amp, (7.4KW),
  •  (3ø) 16amp (11.1KW)
  •  (2×1ø) 2 x 32amp  (14.8KW),
  •  (3ø) 32amp (22.2KW) and
  •  (3ø)32amp and (1ø)32amp (29.6KW). 


All racks have dual path power supplies from separate UPS system supplied by divergent Sub-Distribution Boards and UPS’s.

The Datapod System can also meet requests for a contiguous environment by providing a central non-ICT work (Entrypod) area which can separate two datahalls each containing up to 40 racks or the Entrypod can be positioned to one side with a  single contiguous data hall. The modular nature of the system mean modules can be placed to suit customer.

Power and cooling capacity including the computer room power distribution solution, any supplementary cooling, and redundancy levels being provided

The Connection Node is the point of entry for all utilities (power, water, communications) into the Datapod System, and contains the electrical Mains Distribution Boards (MDB) as well as secondary water pumps in discreet isolated chambers. 

The electrical boards in the Connection Node will each take fully rated mains incomer, as well as a backup input from a Utilitypod/s via inbuilt Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS). 

The MDB’s also incorporate Transient Voltage Surge Suppression (TVSS).  Filtered mains (or generator power) is routed across to the datahall module where it supplies dual redundant UPS systems. 

Each Starterpod is provisioned with dual modular UPS’s to meet the typical ICT requirements as well as supporting Essential Services Distribution Boards which support items such as the Fire Panel, emergency lighting and Inrow Cooler fans. 

Power from the UPS is distributed by Inrow Power Distribution Units (IR-PDU’s) which are positioned in mid-row.  Each rack within the datahall is powered by both IR-PDU’s, with 100% capacity available from each to support the design load.  Racks can be provisioned or as required with dual metered PDU’s.  In addition, each Starterpod is also fitted with a Non-Essential Services Distribution Board for non-critical items.

Mechanically, for a medium density project, the Datapod System would be cooled via chilled water (CW) produced by the modular chillers located within the dual Utilitypods.  The modular chillers are configured in an N+1 array within the Utilitypod.

CW is distributed via a common header arrangement located within the Starterpods.  Each header includes supply and return outlets, and routes chilled water to the Inrow coolers located between the IT racks. 

The central ‘Hot Aisle’ between the two rows of IT racks is contained using an insulated roof kit enabling all warmer exhaust air to be ‘captured’ and drawn back into the Inrow cooler intakes, where the waste heat is stripped out across cooling coils.  The waste heat is then carried back to the heat exchange fancoil units located in the Roof mount Assembly module situated on top of the Utilitypod. 

The fancoil units are provisioned in the same quantity/redundancy as the chiller/compressor units within the Utilitypod, for example N+2. In addition to the main air-conditioning system for the datahall,  we provision the Entrypod with a Direct-Expansion (DX type) comfort cooling air-conditioning system.  This non-redundant system is designed to condition the Entrypod non-IT workspace, and also to route some air into the datahall to replenish air and positively pressurise the environment against ingress by airborne contaminants.

Compatibility with the (minimum) Tier III standard

Being a modular system composed of interoperable modules it is possible to design a Datapod system to achieve any Tier level of redundancy. 

For example, a highly resilient Tier 3 design can be configured using dual/diverse mains inputs, dual/redundant generators, chillers and UPS’s per datahall.  Inrow coolers are similarly configured in a 2N arrangement.

Mechanically, arrays of modular chillers support each datahall, providing 2N redundancy.  Their output is routed via diverse paths to header arrangements at opposite ends of the datahall/s and is then distributed to the redundant Inrow coolers. 

Electrically, two separate Mains Distribution Boards support each datahall, and feed different UPS systems each capable of supporting the entire load, ie configured in a 2N arrangement.  Dual redundant diesel generators support each datahall. 

The redundant UPS’s separately provision each IT rack with power in a ‘system + system’ approach, such that if one side were to fail or be taken offline, the 2nd supply would support the entire load with an earth mat deployed around the Datapod System.

Each datahall is provisioned with its own fire suppression system, incorporating inert gas (IG-541) suppression activated by two-stage sensing (VESDA) and ionising smoke detector.

Security for the Datapod System begins with external and internal CCTV cameras. IP (digital) high-definition colour cameras are deployed at both ends of each internal aisle within the datahalls, and on both sides of the Entrypod enabling clear visibility of anyone entering or working within the facility. 

Externally, a combination of fixed dome colour high-definition digital cameras and PTZ cameras are provisioned on all sides of the facility to ensure that no-one is able to approach the facility without being seen.  The cameras are capable of working in low-light using IR capability, and lighting around the Datapod further enhances the capability of ensuring facial recognition of all who approach the facility.  The entrances to the Datapod are physically secured by solid core door system, augmented by reed switches linked to the IMCS.

Describe the Data Center facility building(s) by detailing the structure and design

Despite appearances, the datahall modules (and Entrypod) are not constructed out of shipping containers. 

The Datapod System is  purpose designed and are sized specifically in order to achieve certification under ISO-668 and ISO R-1161 standards for classification of containers in order that Datapod can meet the global logistics and transport industry that has been created specifically to manage this type of module. 

Having the form-factor, ISO certification and American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) approvals allows the Datapod modules to be easily and cheaply transported and positioned anywhere.  Functionally however they were designed from ‘day 1’ to be a datahall, as is demonstrated by the interior construction. 

With 110mm thick highly insulated walls, lined with stainless steel and fully electrically isolated from the exterior skin of the module, the Datapod System is designed to provide Faraday-cage properties, making it an ideal environment for ICT systems. 

Each of the datahall modules is 20’ (6m) in length and falls into one of four broad categories:

  • Entrypod – non-IT environment for a variety of convenience functions, separated from the datahall by a glass partition wall/doors.
  • Starterpod – the initial ‘starting point’ of the datahall, containing the electrical and mechanical connections and distribution systems, as well as a variety of other critical sub-assemblies.  The UPS is typically housed in the Starterpod.  For 2N arrangements, two Starterpods (or a single 2N version) can be deployed at either end of a single datahall.
  • Expanderpod – typically containing racks and Inrow cooling units, and pre-deployed with all necessary sub-assemblies such as lighting, services conduits (fire, water, etc) and overhead cable tray.  Any quantity of Expanderpod can be added to a Starterpod.
  • Endpod – typically the final module, containing racks and Inrow Coolers but terminating with a sliding door to cap off the end of the ‘hot-aisle’.  The Endpod can be deployed with a removable end wall to enable further expansion if required.  In the Bankwest design, due to the Tier 3 requirements no Endpod is required (replaced by a 2nd Starterpod).

The various datahall modules are joined together by a patented joining mechanism, to enable an environment of any size to be created. Being constructed primarily of steel, at the end of useful life the Datapod modules can be almost fully recycled. 

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Data center remote access in a modular system

The days of having to walk around the data center floor taking temperature readings and identifying the status of systems are long gone.

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Data Center Right Sizing – The answer to a common data center problem

The enterprise IT landscape has to be able to adapt to changing business needs and whether you need a server room or data center for a new site, a refurbishment or a temporary facility, the challenge is always the same – data center right-sizing.

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Server room solutions inside modular and containerized data centers

Datapod has provided server room solutions as part of a containerized ‘data center in a box’ solution or as a fully integrated modular data center system in since 2007.

Datapod has taken the traditional server room and the other components on a traditional data center and combined them into modular components that make the entire data center and server room, more scalable, portable and more energy efficient than ever before.

Typically, a server room is a room used to store, power and operate computer servers and their associated components. This room is part of a data center, which typical houses several physical servers lined up together in different form factors, such as rack mounted, or in tower or blade enclosures. A typical data center might consist of several server rooms, each of which is used for separate applications and services.

The server room is primarily used for executing enterprise applications that require massive computing resources at run-time, such as banking software, search engines or social networking applications.

The Datapod containerized and modular data center systems are designed to provide a continuous and redundant supply of electrical power, backup and or alternate power, lighting and air conditioning, as well as monitoring and fire suppression and other security related services.

Developing a secure and efficient server room is a top priority for IT professionals.

Whether a company needs to overhaul its current server room infrastructure or to design a server room from scratch, a containerized or modular data center system is increasingly being considered as a reliable solution with industry analysts Markets and Markets predicting the modular data center market to be worth $40 billion by 2018.

A server room should function as a carefully controlled environment. The Datapod System can provide this flexibility with any system being able to be configured to meet challenges of various locations, variances in the amount of space required as well as power requirements for the server room.

The Datapod team of experts are trained to assess these factors and dozens more to design a server room perfectly suited to an organisation’s needs.

Datapod’s emphasis on planning and pre-design services guarantees an organisation will receive optimal server room solutions that fit within their requirements and time frame.

A Datapod System is able to provide customers with a data center server room that has adaptability, agility and manageability.

Data Center Adaptability

  • Modular design – Increases reliability and adaptability with data center architecture configurable to any IT environment.
  • Scalable runtime – Additional data center run time can be added without interruption to existing infrastructure.
  • Standardized components – Offers educes risk of failure, minimizes human error,  lowers mean-time-to-repair (MTTR) and other benefits that come with economies of scale.

Data Center Agility

  • Easy to install – Innovative Datapod data center design allows for fast, easy deployment – the entire Datapod modular data center system can be assembled in just a few days
  • Pre-engineered components – The Lego block design means suitable data center configurations can be designed and installed quickly.

Data Center Manageability

  • Energy cost management – Enables accurate cost analysis of energy use on a kW/h basis, detailed to the rack level
  • Multi-vendor asset support – Provides support for multiple types of IT assets and hardware platforms.
  • Network management – Provides proactive power and environmental management via web and/or Simple Network Management Protocol  (SNMP)
  • One-to-many device control – View, configure and control multiple vendor’s IT devices through one console for secure and easy server management.

Datapod has simplified the design and installation of the tradition server room with the ‘plug and play’ range of containerized and modular data centers systems.

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Tier Data Center: Datapod work with organisations to achieve certification

The Datapod modular data center system is designed to enable whichever level of resilience is required by the customer, ensuring mission-critical IT can be configured to be operational at a Tier level appropriate to the business and the mission, even providing up to Tier IV data center fault tolerance if required.

As the global data center market moves to a more efficient and sustainable methods of delivering capacity, a common way to measure the effectiveness of a data center in terms of key criteria is by using a tiered system of measurement.

Understanding the tier level system is important and is a clear way organisations can effectively compare and measure the effectiveness of an existing data center and can be an important tool in communicating an organisations commitment to efficiency and the environment.

So how are data center tiers measured?

One of the leading authorities in providing tier certification is the Uptime Institute.

The Uptime Institute is an unbiased advisory organization that engages  in data center education, publications, consulting, certification and conferences.
The Uptime Institute provides three types of certification:

  • Tier Certification of Design Documents
  • Tier Certification of Constructed Facility
  • Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability

What Is The Tier Certification?

According to the Uptime Institute the tier certification is an indication of the reliability of the data center’s ability to stay operational without interruption, otherwise known as the uptime of the data center. There are four tiers of certification (I, II, III, IV). The higher the certification, the better designed and more reliable the data center is.

The certification only addresses the systems and sub-systems that support an IT environment. There are no requirements on the IT equipment itself. For instance, a malfunction of IT hardware that results in loss of service has no impact on the Tier certification. However, should there be the possibility of a power loss that is required by the IT hardware, the certification level is affected.

The Four Levels Of Tier Certification

What are the features of a Tier 1 data center?

Tier I facilities are generally utilized by small businesses and feature:

  • 99.671% uptime
  • no redundancy
  • 28.8 Hours of downtime per year.

Tier I shows a data center has the basic infrastructure for the operation of their facilities. Generally, the system will have a single path for power and cooling. At this level, the failure of one component will normally result in the system going offline.

What are the features of a Tier 2 Data Center?

The benefits of a Tier II facility include:

  • 99.749% uptime
  • Partial redundancy in power and cooling
  • Experience 22 hours of downtime per year

Tier II is when the data center has redundancy built into its infrastructure but still relies on a single path for power and cooling. This means that a failure in the power generator or chiller will result in a backup being used. But, if there is damage or a failure of the main supply line to the facility, the IT system will be shut down.

What are the features of a Tier 3 Data Center?

Tier III facilities are utilized by larger businesses and feature:

  • 99.982% uptime
  • No more than 1.6 hours of downtime per year
  • N+1 fault tolerant providing at least 72 hour power outage protection

Tier III is awarded when there is sufficient infrastructure to allow scheduled maintenance activities to be completed without interfering with the general operation of the data center. This system has redundant components and distribution paths for cooling and power. However, there is only one active set at any time. There is still a risk of outages when unplanned infrastructure failures occur.

What are the features of a Tier 4 Data Center?

Tier IV facilities typically serve enterprise corporations and provide the following:

  • 99.995% uptime per year
  • 2N+1 fully redundant infrastructure
  • 96 hour power outage protection
  • 26.3 minutes of annual downtime.

Tier IV is when the infrastructure of the data system is considered to be fault tolerant. The redundant components and distribution paths are generally isolated from one another. Should a fault occur in the system, there should be an automatic shift from the damaged system to a backup.

Having a data center Tier certified will help solidify reputation and give end users confidence in services.

Datapod’s modular data center infrastructure is designed to a standard that allows organisations to achieve their desired tier certification once the data center has been deployed and has been operational.

Once an organisation’s modular data center becomes operational, Datapod will work with customers to formalize their tier accreditation.

Other data center certifications

SAI Global has recently recertified Datapod for the Quality ISO 9001:2008 standard and means Datapod’s management system has been certified to this standard.

The certification includes the sale, manufacture, assembly and installation of modular containerized data centres and associated program or project management and maintenance services.

To find out more about how different Datapod modules can assist an organisation achieve a desired tier accreditation contact us today.

Contact  Us

Alternatively, download our Datapod Components Guide.

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When lightning strikes: How to reduce data centre downtime

The recent lightning strikes that caused a Google data centre in Belgium to lose data and restore some information highlights the importance to anticipate and manage critical data centre assets.

The repeated lightning strikes on the electricity grid that powers facilities in Saint-Ghislain affected five per cent of persistent or non-virtual disks in the zone that powers Google Compute Engine, its cloud computing platform.

According to Data Center Knowledge the problem was compounded when the data centre’s battery backup failed, although Google said the vast majority of the data was recovered several days after the strikes occurred.

The lightning strikes raise an important issue in the data centre fraternity and that is of data centre downtime and the costs associated with unplanned outages.

With the increase in reliance on IT systems to support business-critical applications, a single downtime event now has the potential to significantly impact the profitability of an enterprise. In fact, for enterprises with revenue models that depend on the data centre’s ability to deliver IT and networking services to customers, downtime can be particularly costly.

According to Data Center Knowledge the average cost of data center downtime across industries was approximately $7,900 per minute with the average reported incident length was 86 minutes, resulting in average cost per incident of approximately $690,200 and when you think of a company the size of Google these average costs can be multiplied many times over.

Unfortunately, data centre outages aren’t just costly, they are also quite common.

Recent research by the Ponemon Institute’s and their publication, Calculating the Cost of Data,  of those data centres surveyed, 95% said they experienced one or more unplanned outages in the past 24 months.

Included in the findings by the Ponemon Institute was weather events, like the one that affected the Google facility, only account for 12% of data center outages, with UPS system failure topping the list at 29%, human error at 24%, and water, heat or Computer Room Air Conditioning  (CRAC) failure at 15%.

While the Datapod modular data centre system is built to withstand lightning strikes and cyclones what can be done to reduce the incidence and recovery from, unplanned data centre outages?

Director of modular data centre maker, Datapod, Adam Smith, suggests there are nine considerations data centre managers and CIO’s can build into their data centre strategy to both help reduce the incidence of unplanned data centre downtime and the recovery from such an incident.

Nine Data Centre Considerations

  1. Educate management and key executive decision makers: Ensure there is open and continuous dialogue with management and they understand the importance of the data centre to the overall performance of the organisation. One of the benefits of the modular Datapod data centre system is scalability. This can reduce the capital and operational cost when compared to a traditional approach which means more budget can be used to ensure uptime and reduce risk.
  2. Evaluate risk and build accordingly: Perform a risk assessment, including a cost-benefit analysis, to determine what is reasonable to expect from providers (power and services) during power outages. Determine the costs of an outage to the business, and if required, build in redundancies to overcome the risk of an outage. For example, whether you have a traditional data centre or a modular system, the addition of a Datapod Utilitypod can build in power redundancy into your existing data centre, should there be an interruption to mains power.
  3. Open channels with external stakeholders: Establish cooperation between power companies, internal departments, and remote service providers upon which the company is dependent. Establish a framework and working document that identifies protocols and procedures; and enables key stakeholders to implement restoration activities in a timely manner.
  4. Implement DCIM or BMS: Use Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) or Building Management System (BMS) software with interactive 3D visualizations.   With 3D visualization, you’d know within seconds what is malfunctioning. For example a failed component would be instantly identifiable in colour so you’d know exactly where they were located.
  5. Use the latest data centre design: Utilise best practices in modular data centre design and redundancy to maximize availability. There are a number of proven best practices that serve as a good foundation for data center design and redundancy and these are available as an off the shelf option, from a modular data centre manufacturer like Datapod, including power and cooling options.
  6. Ensure appropriate resource allocation: Dedicate appropriate resources to recovery and training in anticipation of an unplanned outage. This is more than having enough people to be able to reset systems following an outage, it involves having site preparedness – food, lodging, alternate transportation and ensuring staff training is up-to-date – in the event the outage is the result of a natural disaster. For example a major hurricane or cyclone event could cut off critical supplies and could affect access to generator fuel and critical parts.
  7. Regular testing: Regularly test generators and switchgear to ensure emergency power in case of utility outage. Right from day one Datapod customers have peace of mind when it comes to testing. Customers are come into the factory to ensure all generators and switching gear kick-in in the case of an emergency even before their new data centre is deployed.  Customers literally test drive their new data centre while it is still in the factory. Furthermore, Datapod encourages regular onsite testing. Regular testing confirms the proper operation during an outage and keeps the facility team up-to-date in their training should an unplanned outage occur.
  8. Regular testing of UPS batteries: Having a dedicated battery monitoring system is sensible. According to Datapod research battery failure in traditional data centres is the leading cause of UPS system loss of power. Utilizing a predictive battery monitoring method can provide early notification of potential battery failure.
  9. Regular testing of processes and procedures:  If human error accounts for 24% of downtime, anything that you can do to familiarize your staff and contractors with the right steps to take during a critical event will be a good investment.  Of course the more standardized your environment the less likely human error will be a factor, whereas in highly customized facilities there will be a greater incidence of human error related failures. 

The Datapod modular data center system is built to meet the toughest standards, the toughest conditions and is certified for Quality by SAI Global.

For more information about the Datapod modular data centre solution download the Datapod White Paper.

You can also pre-register for the Datapod Data Centre Efficiency and Sustainability White Paper.

NB: Lightning strike image: “Lightnings sequence 2 animation” by original data: Sebastien D’ARCO, animate: Koba-chan – original source is Image:Lightnings sequence 2.jpg, animated by me.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons 

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Modular data hall provides turnkey solution

Modular data center solutions are renowned for providing a turnkey data hall solution within a short time frame.

As a leading specialist, Datapod’s scope of work includes the supply and installation of a pre-configured data center solution including the detailed design, manufacture, supply, installation, co-ordination, testing, commissioning and maintenance of the system and associated services.

Datapod customers receive a turnkey solution, including materials, labour, cartage, tools, plant, appliances, accessories and fixings necessary for the proper execution of the works, together with all minor and incidental works. 

The modular solution is constructed to comply with ISO-certification of the external dimensions, weights, capabilities and stacking capacity of 20’ and 5’ hi-cube containers.  

Better still, the modular data hall provides a contiguous space and can be incrementally expanded (added to) through connection of additional modules without interruption to the operations of the data center. 

The modular data hall enclosure also features heavy insulation within the ceiling, floors and wall cavities, allowing the system to be located both internally and externally, regardless of climatic conditions and without significant impact on the operation of the facility.

Furthermore, the internal wall surfaces of the modular data hall shell is electrically conductive to release electro-static build-up that could potentially damage IT systems. The internal walls and ceiling are electrically isolated from the external skin of the data hall modules for additional EMI & RFI  protection. 

The Datapod data hall also incorporates anti-static flooring to form a contiguous span upon connection of the various data hall modules.

Fire protection in the data center

Modular data centers provide everything you would expect of a world class facility including fire detection and suppression. The Datapod System provides an integrated detection and gas fire suppression system. 
The modular system uses the VESDA LaserFocus control unit, with perforated detection pipes installed within the rear of each of the Inrow cooling units.

A Fire Indicator Panel is installed adjacent to the VESDA system inside the data hall with fire suppression provided by externally with inert  gas fire suppressant cylinders, which are  configured to discharge into the ‘hot-aisle’ of the rack configuration. 

Components of the fire suppression are housed in a standardized modules in accordance with ISO-certifications for shipping containers with the fire-suppression modules connected to the main data hall as a contiguous part of the overall structure.

If you would like to know more about the other components that make up the Datapod modular data center system download the Datapod Components Guide or speak with a consultant today.

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Data Center Design: A comprehensive look into modular data center technology

Implementing leading data center design is critical to the future success of organisations around the world.

As the world becomes more connected online and ‘internet of things’ technologies increase, so to do the demands on managing and processing data and the data centers themselves.

The Datapod DATA CENTER 2.0 ‘The Perfect Storm Has Arrived’ White Paper provides a comprehensive and practical look into modular data center technology and how the technology can be applied to meet the challenges faced by organisations around the world.

In this blog, we provide an insight into the white paper, with a look at the table of contents, as well as a look at the first two sections of the document.

DATA CENTER 2.0 ‘The Perfect Storm Has Arrived’

Contents

1.0 Introduction

2.0 Where is the industry heading?

3.0 So what makes a Dater Center 2.0?

4.0 How the Datapod System compares

4.1 How can the Datapod System be applied?

4.2 Examples in action

4.2.1 Example one – The university sector

4.2.2 Example two – The mining sector

5.0 How the modular data center approach is resolving issues facing CIO’s

5.1 Challenges

5.2 Infrastructure

5.3 Space

5.4 Colocation Option

5.6 Demand Spike

5.7 Fresh approach to a growing problem

6.0 Example customer requirement

7.0 Keeping it simple through streamlining

8.0 Ultimate design – The Datapod System’s modules

8.1 Projectpod

8.2 Starterpod

8.3 Expanderpod

8.4 Endpod

8.5 Connection Node

8.6 Entrypod

8.7 Utilitypod

9.0 Anytime, anywhere

9.1 Dependability

9.2 Extreme environments

9.3 Plug & play benefits

9.4 Less cost

9.5 Fast assembly quick to deploy

9.6 Better outcomes start with a quality data center

9.7 Carbon footprint reduction

10.0 Speak to Datapod

Introduction

A combination of technological, economic and market factors have created an environment for unprecedented disruptive change and has created a ‘perfect storm’ where data centers need to be engineered and constructed in a fundamentally different way.

The new way is the creation of standardised modular data centers and this fundamental change is not a fad: rather a pathway to achieve better outcomes with fewer resources.

Datapod is at the forefront of this fundamental change and a leading provider of Data Center 2.0 (DC2.0) technology. The Datapod data center system is an innovative modular data center providing a complete site infrastructure solution as well as class-leading performance and efficiency.

The explosion of data generated and used by corporations, organisations, and individuals today places increasing demands on data centers, from space constraints to power usage, cooling loads, and physical security with many CIO’s questioned on the ability of their organisation to meet demands into the short and medium term.

This white paper provides an industry snapshot of how Data Center 2.0 modular Datapod technology can not only meet, but exceed the needs of customers into the medium and longer term through a standardised and scalable approach.

Where is the industry heading?

A recent article by Alex De Angelis from the website Companies and Markets indicates the modular data center market has been forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 37.41% over the next five years, increasing from a valuation of $8.25 billion at the start of 2013, to hit a market value of $40.41 billion by 2018.

This projected growth is in the context of the financial crisis which jolted the global economy in 2008, the effects of which many of the world’s largest economies are still grappling. This means organisations need to do more with less.

According to Gartner Vice President David Cappuccio by 2016, 60% of new data centers will be smaller while supporting a 300% increased workload. In an interview with David Cappuccio by renowned data center industry writer Rich Miller on 10 December 2010, David said “You’ll be hearing a lot about modular designs from vendors, and from Gartner … the modular design approach just makes sense.”

Gartner’s focus on modular data centers is significant, given the research firm’s wide following in enterprise IT.

Numerous industry articles suggest the modular approach appeals to enterprise customers because of the focus on timely deployment and incremental expansion, which enables organisations to deploy capital gradually.

According to the Datacenter Dynamics 2012 Global Census, there has been a 63% growth in global data center power requirements causing most companies to prioritise the more efficient management of power and cooling costs.

About 40% of IT executives surveyed say that their organisations have taken steps toward making their data centers greener, and another 40% surveyed say they would like to go in this direction.

Datapod Director of Operations Adam Smith believes the data center industry has entered a period where modular data center solutions are becoming the ‘new normal’.

Mr Smith points to the Gartner Hype Cycle (see diagram 1.1) where he believes the Data Center 2.0 is now entering the ‘Plateau of Productivity’.

leading_modular_data_center_design_diagram

Mr Smith said, The establishment of reference customers, factory tours and a growing body of evidence is providing customers with reliable and tangible data on which to base their future data center investment decisions.

In addition to Mr Smith’s comments, the Datacenter Dynamics 2012 Global Census indicated, more than half of IT executives said they were actively considering or moving forward with server consolidation, blade deployment, virtualisation and outsourcing servers/storage, and installing more energy efficient equipment.

Enter the Datapod System and the innovative modular Data Center 2.0 approaches.

As this white paper will demonstrate we are now in a period where for the first time the modular Data Center 2.0 approaches can be deployed to solve any requirement.

White Paper Key Take Outs

  • Don’t delay adopting modular data center technology,
  • the ‘perfect storm’ has arrived and market acceptance
  • is increasing rapidly across all sectors.
  • The benefits of standardised components is
  • de-risking investment, driving down CAPEX and OPEX and delivering better environmental outcomes. Datapod has developed into a leading global provider of modular Data Center 2.0 technology with factories in Australia and global assembly networks, Datapod can deployed to most urban or remote locations on the planet.

Download the full version of the Datapod White Paper.

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Data center design turns conventional thinking on its head

The ability to ‘right-size’, deploy faster, and scalability means the modular approach is turning conventional data center design on its head.

The modular data center design also simplifies the process. For example, a Datapod System can be designed using any number of different modules and in a number of different configurations, so the needs of the customer can be met.

Data center design can now begin by using an App, like the Datapod App available for Apple iPad from the Apple Store and is just one way modular data center makers are tapping into what research company Markets and Markets predicts will be a market worth $40 Billion by 2018.

The Datapod App lets customers configure their data center design according to a number of different criteria. Power, IT and cooling can be determined by selecting the requirements that meet the customer needs.

Part of the success of the Datapod modular data center design is the unique removable side-walls, and the cleverly designed waterproof joining mechanism that enables multiple ‘pods’ to be bayed together. 

Customers can create a data center, as big or small as they wish, when they wish.

Another key to the successful data center design is the Connection Node.

The Connection Node is a ‘plant room in a box’, it contains all the connection points and services typically found in the plant room of a commercial building, including power, cooling, and data communications. 

Extra redundancy can be built into the data center system, including backup generator and chillers to run the air-conditioning systems by deploying a Utilitypod, which feeds into the Connection Node.

It is this building block design that enables the entire system to be deployed in just days from a site becoming ready.

Data center design has never been so easy.

Just as leading car manufacturers and software developers release updated versions of their product, so to do the modular data center makers like Datapod.

The manufactured approach allows continuous advancements in design enabling users to realise the benefits of standardisation, manufacturing efficiencies and reduced time to deployment.

To learn more about the modular data center design download the Datapod White Paper.

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10 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT DATAPOD’S MODULAR DATA CENTER

In this blog post we take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about Datapod’s modular data center system.

Pictured Right: Datapod Director Adam Smith fields some frequently asked questions at a recent Datapod Factory Tour.

WHO IS DATAPOD?

Datapod is a multinational award-winning data center engineering firm focused on innovation in the global market. 

Formed in 2007, Datapod addresses the needs of organisations wanting to maintain sovereignty over their data centers assets and manage them in-house.  

Datapod recognises the benefits of an end-to-end modular ‘building-block’ approach to data center infrastructure. 

The Datapod System has been designed over several build-generations enabling customers to realise the benefits of standardisation, manufacturing efficiencies and reduced time to deployment.

WHAT MAKES THE DATAPOD SYSTEM UNIQUE AMONG MODULAR DATA CENTER MANUFACTURERS?

Datapod offer a complete site-infrastructure solution built from ISO-standardized building blocks, including all supporting systems such as power and cooling modules, and fire suppression.

The scalable design of the Datapod module is innovative. 

By incorporating a unique removable side-wall, and designing a waterproof joining mechanism, multiple ‘pods’ can be bayed together. 

Customers can create a data center as big or small as they wish, when they wish.

The flexibility of this system now enables customers to tie their data center investments exactly to the expected business ROI, by investing in new capacity only when they need it. 

Conversely, when organisations need to reduce their capacity over time the Datapod System enables customers to scale down and as well as providing lease options.

Datapod has released a white paper Data Center 2.0 ‘The perfect Storm Has Arrived’, click the button below to register and download your copy.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BUY AND DEPLOY A DATAPOD DATA CENTER?

The Datapod System can be designed in minutes using the Datapod App.

The Datapod App will generate your configuration-specific purchase quote, and once ordered, the system can be built in 12-18 weeks. While installation on site can be complete within a few days.

Similarly, expansion of the system will take a similar time to complete.

WHERE CAN I INSTALL A MODULAR DATAPOD SYSTEM?

The Datapod System is designed for external deployment, but is equally at-home undercover or in a building or other urban location. 

The site must be level, and capable of supporting the weight and point-load of the modular system.

Upon ordering a system, Datapod will attend site to conduct a site inspection and report on the suitability of the proposed site.

Remedial work may be recommended prior to the delivery of the Datapod System.

There are no climatic or environmental limitations to where a Datapod can be deployed, the Datapod System is lightning and cyclone proof and can operate in a wide variety of harsh climate zones.

CAN I EXTEND THE DATAPOD SYSTEM ONCE IT HAS BEEN INSTALLED?

Yes. By removing the side walls on the Starterpod and Expanderpods, additional Expanderpod(s) or an Endpod can be added. 

During this process the system can remain operational – it is not necessary to shut down the Datapod System to expand.

See a two stage modular data center deployment.

HOW IS THE DATAPOD SYSTEM AN ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY DATA CENTER?

The Datapod System is designed within ISO-certified module dimensions for the purposes of tapping into the global freight and shipping industry, but that is where the similarities to the ubiquitous box end.  

The modular design and the use of the award-winning APC InrowTM cooling systems means the waste heat from the racks is captured immediately by adjacent ‘in-row’ cooling units. Coupled with a Hot-Aisle-Containment system to ensure 100% of the exhaust heat is captured, making the Datapod System an energy efficient, environmentally friendly data center.

The all-weather proof Datapod achieves a low PUE with less energy required to cool the IT load on the inside. Better still the steel skin of the Datapod is recyclable when decommissioned.

Pre-register for the Datapod Data Center Efficiency and Sustainability White Paper.

WHAT REDUNDANCY DOES THE DATAPOD OFFER?

The various Datapod units feature in-built Racks, UPS and Inrow cooling units, configurable to achieve a variety of redundancy levels.

Additional redundancy can be achieved by using dual-Starterpods, thereby doubling the UPS capacity and achieving a highly resilient 2(N+1) power system, as well as redundant cooling pipework for the N+1 InrowTM cooling units. All equipment racks within the Datapod range ship with dual/redundant rackmount PDU’s.

WHAT RACK DENSITY OPTIONS DOES THE DATAPOD COME IN?

The Datapod System can be deployed in a density configuration suited to the customers’ requirements and is hot-scalable once in the field. For example a Datapod System deployed with an average rack density of 7kW can be hot-scaled to 15kW per rack.

Likewise, a 15kW average rack density Datapod can be hot-scaled, to 30kW per rack without interruption to services.

WHAT SECURITY OPTIONS EXIST FOR THE DATAPOD?

The Datapod System itself is inherently secure, however security and monitoring enhancements can be selected. These include: 

  • Physical security properties of a steel safe – upgradable to mil spec,
  • Provides the perfect faraday cage – signals and data shall remain secure even against EMP and evesdropping,
  • Internal and external cameras,
  • Enhanced door and lock (Bilock) options,
  • Prox-card and magnetic lock options,
  • Perimeter fence or wall (site specific, on request).

IS THE DATAPOD SYSTEM A REMOTELY MANAGED DATA CENTER THAT CAN BE MONITORED FROM VARIOUS LOCATIONS?

All Datapod Systems include our Integrated Monitoring and Control (IMCS) which is a ModBUS -based device management appliance and offering local and remote access to performance data of the entire system.  

Furthermore, the IMCS system can extend to integrate into other client systems, and can be supplemented by a range of industry Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) packages for further pro-active analysis on the performance of system.

For more frequently asked questions about the Datapod Modular Data Center system. 

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5 Differences Between Modular and Traditional Data Centers

Data center technology is at the center of the mobile, cloud, information and social media economy. 

We know the data center is a location housing servers and communication systems enabling businesses to run websites, cloud based software and other information and bandwidth rich systems.

With data centers becoming an integral part of any business touching software, social networking, or other business systems, modular data centers are providing a unique opportunity for businesses to temporarily or permanently host their data needs. 

There are many advantages of using a modular data center over a traditional one, and the following six areas show some of the differences between modular and permanent data center construction and how each one can benefit your organisation.

1. Quality Control

One of the major differences between modular data centers and warehouse data centers is the system for quality control available via a modular production process.

Every data center housed in a building is going to have unique issues in the construction of that building. These issues include different construction crews, different inspection teams, and even different hardware and software infrastructure and installation teams if enough time has passed between data center production. On the other hand, modular data centers are produced to measurable specifications using similar inspection and construction materials and teams. This factory manufacturing system produces predictable quality results every time.(NOTE – include a line about the site specific engineering requirements of most large traditional datacenters.  Unque designs bring unique problems.  Less on the different construction crews.)

2. Modular Data Center Scalability

Although many large data centers have space for your business to scale within their warehouse, there is a large cost and time delay as racks are positioned and installed and your ICT equipment is provisioned and integrated into the data center. A modular datapod on the other hand can be delivered intact and ready for use.

This allows your business to scale up and down swiftly and cost effectively regardless of location or time table. Additionally, modular data centers give your business control of your servers as you scale your business reducing the risk associated with using colocation services in other business’s data centers to scale.

3. Maintain the Most Up-To Date Technology  

Traditional data centers require planning years ahead of current needs in order to save on capital costs. This causes many private data centers to fall behind on technology trends because they cannot adopt new technology fast enough with the costs and time associated with legacy construction and development. A modular system focuses on a much smaller time frame for construction, deployment, depreciation and redeployment. This means that your technology will be more up to date and as your business scales, you will always have the best technology available to do so. 

4. Resource Allocation

Whether using colocation or legacy construction, traditional data center options require that you pay for the costs of heating, cooling, humidity control and power requirements for a section of the data center often much larger than you need. While colocation costs are spread across all the inhabitants of the data center, it still often requires temperature and power provided to areas not currently in use. This cost is paid by the colocation customers. A full size data center owned solely by your own business has the potential to increase costs and energy resources over years while you are waiting to increase your data center use to include the floor space currently sitting empty. Modular data centers give you the ability to allocate resources for only the space you are currently using. 

5. Environmental Systems

Datapods are enclosed environments. This gives the heating and cooling systems green options which operate well above industry standards for data centers. Since data center cooling operations are some of the largest consumers of water globally and are the largest consumers of power, creating ecologically sustainable data centers is one of the major differentiating principle of modular data centers. A closed system can easily utilize water-side free cooling techniques, heat sink technologies and power efficiency technologies to provide the smallest possible environmental footprint. To pre-register for the Datapod Efficiency and Sustainability White Paper click here.

These differences between modular, legacy construction and colocation show that Datapod Systems create opportunities for organisations in any industry to increase data management while controlling environmental, capital and labour costs.

Datapod Systems can also provide unique secure technological solutions for organisations needing large amounts of data in secure environments like hospitals, airlines, security firms and other industries dealing with large amounts of sensitive data. 

Whether your organisation is looking at creating a unique data center solution for your internal information, creating cloud based software systems, offering data storage to your customers or needing to expand into more regional and international communication networks, modular data centers are a great option for data management. 

These five differences give organisations tools to grow, to manage their information securely and to create custom affordable solutions for data needs. These are only some of the many differences between modular containerized and traditional data centers, for more information on modular data centers including specifications and customization options, please download our system guide.

For any other questions regarding data center technology or the range of solutions Datapod provide download the Datapod White paper or contact us today.

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Five Things CIOs And IT Directors Look For In A Data Center

5 things CIOs look for in a data center

In today’s world, unfettered and uninterrupted access to data and applications is a mission-critical part of business.

As CIOs consider how to address their enterprise data center needs, the discussion often shifts between building a traditional data center customized to the c

ompany’s needs and specifications, or turning to an outsourced provider that might offer lower costs.

But those two options are not the only choices available to the CIO. Modular data center construction can fill the needs for many businesses.

To understand how, let’s walk through the 5 things CIO’s consider when they look for a data center:

  • Location. As is the case in real estate, the cost of a data center site depends in part on where it is located. In identifying potential data center locations, CIOs will consider the cost per square foot, as well as the access to cheap and reliable electricity. With the cost of power increasing, Martyn Boxall, who manages the Telefonica O2’s data center, told Computer Weekly that data center operators will look to move where the power is cheapest. That brings up the next thing that CIOs look for in a data center.
  • Cost. Electricity is typically the most expensive recurring expense of operating a data center. But the cost of power is not the only financial concern on the CIO’s mind. Moore’s law may be boosting the processing power of computer equipment, but corporate IT budgets do not grow exponentially. If the enterprise plans to build its own data center, the CIO must be aware of the costs of equipment and construction involved in traditional data center construction.
  • Customization. A company that builds its own data center can customize that facility to its own specific needs. But the drawback of that customization is expense, as well as the inevitable changing of business and data needs. Those changes can make it difficult to adjust if the company is already locked into infrastructure. That’s a tough problem when the enterprise steers into particularly rough economic waters. In tough times, the IT budget is often cut and the refresh cycle for equipment is extended, leaving the company sitting on antiquated hardware as Esther Shein explained in a recent article in Computerworld.
  • Business continuity. Any network downtime affects the ability of the enterprise to conduct business, and adds to cost. In business, time is money. The CIO needs to make sure that the rest of the enterprise can access needed information and applications on demand, and that there is redundancy in the event of any kind business interruption. 
  • Scalability. A healthy business is a growing one. CIOs need IT infrastructure that can scale with that growth. But even the best business forecasts are at best, educated estimates. That can make it difficult to project the data capacity that the enterprise needs, as well as the cost of that IT spend. 

The answer to many of the questions that CIOs have about data centers can be found in modular data center design. Businesses always look at the bottom line and cost is the first place where modular data centers stand out. According to research from DCD Intelligence, building a modular data center can cost up to 14 percent less than constructing a traditional data center of comparable capacity, when all costs are factored in.

The standardization of modular components means that the construction process can be conducted more quickly compared to traditional data center construction. Modular data centers are also easier to build. Converged infrastructure combines computing, storage and networking into a pool of shared resources that are implemented in a “plug-and-play” fashion, said Datapod Director Adam Smith. That means that this business critical infrastructure can be set up and operational in “hours or days, not weeks or months, as with traditional builds,” Mr Smith said. In addition to faster set up, modular data centers offer more energy-efficient operation.

Standardization of components means that modular data centers are easy to manage, which means that there will be no need to keep highly skilled staff on site, Kelly Quinn, research manager at IDC’s Datacenter Trends and Strategies Group told FedTech Magazine. If necessary, these centers can even be managed remotely.

The modular nature of the construction means that these centers are easily scalable. As an enterprise’s data needs change, these prefabricated components can be taken apart, assembled in a different configuration, or even moved to a different site. The ease of constructing new data center sites means that it’s easy to achieve the needed redundancy to ensure business continuity in the face of possible network interruptions. That’s what the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs is doing.

“If we have another disaster such as a major earthquake or tornado, and one of our data centers in the affected area fails, the disaster recovery center may not be able to handle the failover load for as long as it needs to,” the VA’s Christopher Shorter told FedTech Magazine. “We are investigating modular data centers as a way to handle that.”

Modular data centers give the enterprise a flexible way to grow as the enterprise’s business and data needs change. That ability to be nimble and change quickly will enable a company to be more responsive to its own customers. When a company can keep its attention on its own business rather than its IT infrastructure, it can focus on becoming a more successful and profitable business.

To learn more about the Datapod approach to modular data centers download our comprehensive Modular Data Center White Paper or pre-register for our upcoming Data Center Efficiency and Sustainability White Paper.

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Data center needs of public utilities

Power companies, gas and water utilities rely increasingly on services arranged in “smart grids.” Advanced metering and service distribution around the grid can generate huge amounts of data. Once the data processing system is fully developed utilities will be able to receive and apply information with an unprecedented level of detail. The availability of this detailed information will profoundly affect the relationship between utilities and their consumers.

Smart grids require information management. Data centers will become an increasingly important part of the utility infrastructure. Management of rooftop solar panels and other alternative energy generators within the grid and anything else that involves control of more points of presence in the distribution of utility services increases the need for data management.

As utilities integrate their smart grid infrastructures the volume of information increases. Some experts are asking what the information processing demand will be when smart grids for electricity, water, gas and telecom utilities are integrated together. As the world moves closer to full integration of the internet of things, the information processing demand could grow dramatically.

Data centers as public utilities

Data centers could themselves evolve into public utilities. Already, California’s public utility services list broadband internet along with electricity, water, and gas as a public utility (California Public Utilities Commission Emerging Issues Forum). Many data centers have substantial backup power capacity that is unused almost all the time. Data centers could themselves be tied into a power grid like wind turbines or solar panels. The processing of data for public utilities is in fact a public utility.

California has already started to debate the privacy issue in its discussion of big data applications for the power grid. They are contemplating a legal environment where privacy rights can be violated by information that could soon be made available to public utilities.

How can smart grids meet their data processing demand?

Many public utilities have begun speculating about the use of modular data centers equipped with fuel cells or biogas power sources situated near high density data input points.

The latest eBay facility near Salt Lake City, Utah is often cited as an example of a production data center that does not rely on generators for power. The eBay facility is powered by natural gas converted to electricity and uses the local utility grid as a backup.

Microsoft researchers have plans for modular data centers at the sites of waste treatment plants that could use biogas to electricity fuel cell technology for power. Microsoft along with Siemens actually opened such a zero-carbon, biogas powered data center in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The fuel cell generates about 300 kW of renewable power of which 100 kW is unused by the data center and could be added to the power grid.

Large data centers consume about 1.5% of total electricity demand globally. That percentage will clearly increase as the world moves into the digitally-connected, network-centric social, commercial and industrial environment. Large cloud based data centers consume vast and increasing amounts of energy.

The use of modular data centers powered by clean energy sources is seen by many as a way of reducing the energy footprint of data management. In 2013, the Arizona Public Service directly compared the energy efficiency of “traditional raised floor” data centers and modular data centers. They found significant efficiency improvements in the modular systems. The difference translated into a potential saving of $200,000 per megawatt of information processing output. Their report concludes:

  • Modular systems ensure more efficient use of space that promotes greater energy efficiency.
  • Features include sealed walls, floors and doors as well as under-floor or overhead cooling systems that enhance energy efficiency.
  • More precisely engineered airflow support many times more output per cabinet than traditional systems.

According to the Datacenter Journal, currently the penetration of modular data centers is about 1% of total capacity. Even though the percentage seems small, the market is actually worth nearly a billion dollars a year. It is estimated to be growing about 20% per year as well. 

Modular data centers for the utilities sector

In 2014, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) contracted with Datapod to provide a four pod modular data center system to manage its water and waste management systems. The WSSC is the public utility operating water and waste water services for nearly two million people around the nation’s capital region. The Datapod system represents a new approach to data center design, including its own power, cooling, fire-suppression and generator power backup in the design. This is a four module system designed to be scaled-up about 5 times its present capacity over time.

At the end of 2014, Datacenter Dynamics, the newsletter of data centers, reported that the Salt River Project in Central Arizona has begun the installation of modular data centers outdoors near the utilities electrical infrastructure with direct connections to the power grid. The utility company believes that modular units placed closer to the power grid itself has a number of important advantages.

  • It allows the data center to grow and change while minimizing the impact of constructing new power lines.
  • It drastically reduces the time needed to increase data center capacity.
  • Organizations that need to ramp up capacity can do so in a more incremental, cost and time effective way.
  • The modular units are connected to a bulk transmission line which is more reliable than a conventional power feed, with redundant feeds for backup instead of a diesel generator.

Modular data centers directly connected to power stations could evolve into a data center computing grid. With completely reliable power sources at hand where telecom and power lines meet, more modular units can be added to keep pace with demand much faster than stationary facilities can be built or upgraded.

Datapod is a leading provider of modular data center solutions for more information about Datapod down load the Datapod  White Paper or pre-register for the Datapod Data Center Efficiency and Sustainability White Paper.

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Free Data Center Cooling Video

Cooling is essential to an energy efficient data center.

Watch this video to see how Datapod maximizes data center cooling performance, energy efficiency and overall resilience of the cooling systems.

Green Grid recently published survey results on the use of natural or free cooling in data centers and the survey found that half of respondents are now using natural cooling to save on energy costs and 25% are considering adopting the free cooling data center methods in the future.

To learn more about the Datapod System download the Datapod Systems Guide.

Download the Datapod Panduit Case Study