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Industry Insights

CI: Data Center Trend #5: Micro Data Centers

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 | by Justin Baillargeon

Our fifth trend in the series will look at the emergence of “Micro” Data Centers (MDCs). MDCs can be defined as a self-contained computing cabinet (or cabinets) that includes all the networking, computing, power, cooling and storage required to run an end user’s application, usually located near the source of the data. These micro data centers allow a company to deploy data center functionality a lot closer to the edge of a network, a trend which is only growing with the wider adoption of the Internet of Things.

With the IoT penetrating the market, edge computing has started to become a topic of discussion again. Where everything was being moved to the “cloud,” we now see a need for some of that computing power and storage to be deployed closer to the source of that data. Micro Data Centers are able to provide a simple, nearly plug-and-play solution for those looking to deploy data center functionality on a small scale to support these new workloads. Unlike the traditional data center or telecom room design, the cooling is closer to the devices that actually need it as opposed to cooling an entire room. These MDCs can be deployed as-needed with capacity added only when it’s needed, similar to the capability and cost savings realized when using a multi-tenant data center model. David Cappuccio said it best when describing this emerging trend, “Localized or micro data centers are a fact of life, but by applying a self-contained, scalable and remotely managed solution and process, CIOs can reduce costs, improve agility, and introduce new levels of compliance and service continuity.”

Being able to be deployed with minimal modifications or additions, a MDC allows customers to quickly deploy data center capacity. Take for example CVS’s acquisition of Target’s pharmacy business. With the acquisition CVS will be replacing the computer and networking infrastructure of the Target pharmacies with their own, more than likely in a separate location from Target’s existing IT gear. CVS would become a perfect customer for a MDC deployment as it would allow them to dynamically place their gear securely in Target’s stores without having to rely on Target’s existing infrastructure.

An early pioneer in the space, Elliptical Mobile Solutions, was recently acquired by a marketing firm and are integrating their micro data center assets into a new company, Instant Data Centers. Let us know your thought on micro data centers by tweeting us @Ortronics .