What are the benefits of a modular data centre?

Modular is faster, more predictable, and more granular in its build-out, than traditional data centre design and build allowing for a grow-as-you-need data centre strategy – which can lead to substantial total cost of ownership (TCO) savings.

Prefabricated modular data centre (PFM) are precision manufactured in a factory-like environment, pre-tested, and then transported for on-site assembly in as little as 20 weeks. Compressing time-scales, lowering budget risks and providing high facility performance.

Proven in a number of harsh environments, FrontierDC’s Australian solution can be deployed virtually anywhere on demand.

Compared to a traditional data centre, the PFM approach can dramatically reduce capital and operational expenditures through the initial years – operators pay as their business grows instead of risking significant investments years ahead of actual demand.

Modular data centres can achieve savings up to 70% for initial committed capital and then further capital is aligned with customer demand. Total CAPEX savings can be in the order of 30%.

Why choose granular modular data centre technology?

FrontierDC’s choice of technology partner Cannon Tech have gone several steps further than other Modular providers designing a totally flexible solution at a granular level providing expandable data halls and a future proofed fully upgradable interior whilst staying live. Built with less capex and a small footprint, they are expandable on demand and completely aligned with customer’s needs.

Combining high degrees of design flexibility to accommodate operator’s needs with an industrialised approach to precision manufacturing granular modular data centre technology drives costs down. We can create highly customised data centres using mass produced components.

Facilities can be sized to allow operators to closely track actual capacity needs. The use of granular modular data centre can minimize business risk, lower capital costs, and help with managing cash-flow.

What is the value of modular?

The primary value for a commercial operator is that a modular data centre site can be much more dynamic to meet what is actually required by tenants, and when it is required. Rather than locking the data centre design and technologies down based on assumptions and long-term forecasts, operators can build facilities that are tailored to the specifications given by the incoming tenant.

The compound effect is the ability to closely track actual uptake in IT capacity, and align spending (both CAPEX and OPEX) with revenues. Compared to a traditional upfront commitment, this approach can dramatically reduce capital and operational expenditures through the initial years – operators can pay as their business grows instead of risking significant investments years ahead of actual demand.

Where can modular be used?

Offering operators many options to cover almost any deployment types and use modular is relevant for all data centre use, whether a new site or capacity addition; from mini-modular products through containers to large-scale deployments with thousands of racks at virtually any densities and resiliency levels.

Operators can also choose what cooling mode they prefer, given the location of the site and the climate.

Why choose modular now?

Most data centre operators are conservative by nature, won’t make their move towards more efficient and modular data centres en masse unless the competitive dynamics in their respective markets force them to do so. Inertia in the industry means that early movers will enjoy competitive advantages for a time before the market catches up. These advantages can enable not just savings on the bottom line, but also using modularity to better serve customers and at lower prices.

Manufacturing v Construction – What is the difference?

Constructed Data Centres – “Past”
Traditionally, clients who require the capability of a robust, reliable facility without the capital outlay of building their own data centre have relied on independent organisations to finance and construct a facility.

By sharing or distributing the cost of the build between many clients, these organisations can achieve economies of scale and profit from leading out small sections of the facility.

The implications of this scenario are:

  • – No control over the shared environment
  • – Limited software interaction with environment and equipment
  • – Client is locked into technology decisions
  • – Requirement for the organisation to pre-predict how technology – and your business needs – will evolve over the lifetime of the data centre
  • – Expensive and inflexible
  • – Share risks/outages
  • – No commitment to service improvement programs (due to equity of service for all clients)
  • – Fixed long term expenditure that only increases over time

Modular Data Centres – “Recent Past”
Commonly following the designs of traditional data centres and pushed into a rigid structure, the original modular paradigm saw little customised solutions created from the ground up for a tailored business purpose. While each individual data centre is fit for purpose and budget, consistent reliability can be an issue as the solution is different for each build.

Economies of scale are only achieved using common ‘off the shelf’ components, with little production line cost efficiency.

The implications of this scenario are:

  • – The solution is generally built for a specific reason – this may or may not be flexible enough to evolve with the client’s needs over time
  • – Expensive outlay for a completely customised solution
  • – Pre-prediction of a client’s business needs – and the evolution of technology – is required upfront to ensure the data centre can grow as the business needs change

Manufactured Modular Data Centres – “Present and Future”
Robust, reliable and cost-efficient facilities are delivered though consistent and regular components producing the same outcome every time.

Economies of scale are achieved through the production line of a consistent and regular solution at a modular level, with the ability to customise the data centre at any point.

Benefits of this scenario:

  • – As technology evolves and manufacturing costs reduce, so does the client expenditure over time.
  • – Clients can change to technologies that best deliver the outcomes that meet their own business needs.
  • – Client systems have no interdependency with other organisations.
  • – Services can be easily enhanced or costs easily controlled depending on business objectives.
  • – Commitment to service improvement programs delivers evolving services to benefit clients.

REFERENCE | Information sourced from the following publications:

  • – 451 RESEARCH (May 2012) The Economics of Prefabricated Modular Datacenters.
  • – 451 RESEARCH (December 2013) Prefabricated Modular Datacenters.
  • – 451 RESEARCH (October 2014) Datacenter Market: Prefabricated Modular Datacenters.