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Industry Insights

CI: Data Center Trend #6: Data Centers by Mail

Thursday, September 15, 2016 | by Justin Baillargeon

Growing alongside our previous trend of Micro Data Centers, our sixth trend shares similar design and construction characteristics as it looks to simplify data center construction. This is often referred to as modular, containerized or pre-fabricated data centers. These are pre-fabricated and pre-configured “data centers” that house networking and server equipment within a container or box. Similarly to the micro data center approach, the networking, physical infrastructure, cooling, power, compute and storage are often pre-integrated into the container.

This pre-fabricated data center allows for the transportation to occur through a normal freight carrier. Rather than shipping a container full of empty cabinets, which we do today, the same truck can be used to move entire data centers. This allows for data centers to be temporarily deployed, if needed, in a disaster recovery zone or remote area where temporary or sometimes permanent access to data center services are needed.

One anecdotal account we have heard recently involved a project in Brazil in which a company was given a tight timeline to develop and deploy a data center in order to receive full funding. The company evaluated their options and decided that a containerized approach, using these pre-fabricated data center modules, was the most cost-effective and fastest way to deploy a full data center in time. They did not have time to completely construct a new data center warehouse and procure all the necessary components.

One data center facility has even gone so far as to build a giant warehouse with these containers inside a large data hall. Instead of rows of cabinets with aisles you see rows of shipping containers stacked alongside and above each other. Each container can be individually secured, cooled and powered – perfect for some large-scale colocation facilities.

Have you seen or heard of anyone else deploying data centers in this way? Let us know by tweeting us @Ortronics .