Network Communications News (NCN) August 2016 - Page 23

ultra high performance data centres F E AT U R E machine as the cabling is, the power units, the cooling system or the server racks. And this allows for the full preintegration and testing of all systems in a clean factory environment, with the result that you can be sure your data centre is fully operational and optimised for performance before it ever reaches the site for final construction. This pre-integration also has the added benefit that it is typically conducted end-to-end by a single supplier. This allows for the streamlining of component sourcing and the delivery of a turnkey solution with far less inherent risk than bringing multiple system vendors to site and hoping that they can work together without issue. Ultimate flexibility To be clear, prefabricated data centres are not built with ISO containers. They are constructed with purpose designed modules that can be configured for fully optimised open white space. This can include: High ceilings to accommodate higher raised floors, higher racks, higher power density, false ceilings for hot air containment, multiple cable layers, etc. Flexibility in floor dimensions with larger roof-spans (no pillars), caging possibilities and scalability in room size. Flexibility in floor utilisation, providing the freedom to decide how to best place the racks in the available space. Different wall sizes and materials for placement outside or within an additional shell, different fire classes, different weather conditions and even to meet military requirements. Like traditional buildings, prefabricated data centres can be designed to meet an operator’s precise layout and functionality requirements at day one. But unlike their bricks and mortar counterparts, prefabricated facilities also have near limitless future flexibility. Just as power or cooling units are standardised blocks, modular data centre systems have also evolved into standardised white space units that can be added to a data centre as needed The technology of prefabricating entire buildings has already evolved to the point that it is now a mainstream product. over time, without interrupting ongoing operations in a live environment. So the initial build can be right-sized from the start and grown as and when necessary. And an added benefit of this modular approach is that matching specific cooling units to specific white space modules for specific data centre utilisation can achieve extremely low power usage effectiveness. Speed to operations The continuing global data boom is putting networks under enormous strain and capacity increases are often needed yesterday. We’ve already talked about traditional bricks and mortar construction being an inherently slow sequential process. On the contrary, prefabricating a data centre in a factory environment allows most of the high tech fit-out to take place in parallel with the site based civil works elements, thus delivering a significantly shorter overall project time. And with construction skills and materials often being in relatively short supply in many parts of the developing world, the shipping in of a fully prefabricated building is typically the only way to ensure the fastest possible deployment of a facility of the highest possible quality. Cost containment The final nail in bricks and mortar’s coffin is that of cost. The overall cost of many traditional building projects can often be excessively high both in terms of upfront capex justification and ongoing opex planning. A prefabricated modular approach on the other hand allows for optimised short and long term financial planning and lower total cost of ownership. The future is clear The technology of prefabricating entire buildings has already evolved to the point that it is now a mainstream product and clearly the future of data centre design worldwide. Prefabricated facilities combine the advantages of a traditional build without any of its pitfalls, while also ensuring controlled delivery, quality and overall project cost. They can be custom designed to a customer’s specific requirements; can scale horizontally or vertically as dictated by the site and by the operator’s capacity needs; can be designed to accommodate and fully interoperate with the latest data centre technologies and systems; and are fully pre-integrated in a controlled factory environment. They can even be finished with façade cladding in any material to give them a hi-tech look, a traditional look, or simply to better integrate them into their surrounding environment. And most crucially, prefabricated construction enables the ultra fine tuning of a data centre’s performance such that the new norm really is the new norm. Jos Baart is vice president sales & marketing at Flexenclosure, a designer and manufacturer of prefabricated data centre buildings and intelligent power management systems for the ICT industry. Joe has over 20 years’ experience in the global ICT industry. His previous roles include senior strategic business development, product marketing, sales and sales support positions at Ericsson (both country and group level) and at Lavastorm Analytics where he led the EMEA sales function. 23 22+23 Ultra High Performance Data Centres – Flexenclosures.indd 23 02/08/2016 12:10