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 Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Learn how to create value with re-use; gain productivity with lean automation and connectivity, and optimize panel design and construction.
Go deep: Automation tackles offshore oil challenges; Ethernet advice; Wireless robotics; Product exclusives; Digital edition exclusives
Lost in the gray scale? How to get effective HMIs; Best practices: Integrate old and new wireless systems; Smart software, networks; Service provider certifications
Fixing PID: Part 2: Tweaking controller strategy; Machine safety networks; Salary survey and career advice; Smart I/O architecture; Product exclusives
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Look at the basics of industrial wireless technologies, wireless concepts, wireless standards, and wireless best practices with Daniel E. Capano of Diversified Technical Services Inc.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control 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.