Containerized data centers – sorting through the confusion

The future for containerized data centers is a bit uncertain right now.

05/24/2012


The future for containerized data centers is a bit uncertain right now. After a recent trip to the Uptime Symposium in Santa Clara, Calif., where modular data centers were the hot-topic, it seems that there’s more than a little confusion around the subject.

First – What exactly is a containerized data center? Dan Golding, of RagingWire, gave a great presentation pleading with analysts and media alike to take more consideration when talking about containerized data centers. Are we talking about data centers in an ISO container, data centers in a metal enclosure, a pre-fab module that’s not enclosed, or are we just talking about phased building with a modular approach? Heeding his advice, I’d like to clearly state that I am talking about data centers shipped in both ISO containers or any kind of metal enclosure. Henceforth I’ll refer to them as containerized modular data centers or CMDCs.

Second – How will the supplier market shake-out? There’s an abundance of vendors offering CMDC solutions, and based on the number of shipments tentatively estimated for 2012, it may be that there isn’t enough business to support the multitude of companies. Not only are there a lot of companies, but it’s also an interesting assortment: integrators, colocation providers, data center power manufacturers, server manufacturers, and electrical contractors are all throwing their hat in the game. What kind of company is best suited for this market? And how are they going to work with the other entities involved in the supply chain?

Third – What is the market for this? Sure, Amazon, Google, Microsoft are all publicizing their use of containers in their hyper-scale data centers. But these are the typical leading edge players, always ready and willing to innovate; and also creating their own solution, operating outside of the available market for the above mentioned suppliers. And what about those companies who don’t order thousands of servers at a time, and are operating IT loads of around 250 kW? It seems like a CMDC might be overkill in a data center this size, that maybe colocations or cloud services are a better choice.

But there are some major benefits to CMDCs that can be realized if implemented for the right application and customer. IO gave an impression-leaving demonstration of the security and monitoring capable in a CMDC. And if done correctly, standardization for international companies and faster deployments to meet rapid changes in business needs, can be achieved. So it seems CMDCs are here to stay, but how big will this market become? I’m venturing into a five month study of this market and plan on unraveling the confusion and answering these questions. 



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.