The Right Way to Do Modular
Modular data centers are very different from traditional data centers. Modular data centers can be rapidly deployed reducing your reliance on expensive cloud computing. Obviously, the earlier your equipment is running the more revenue you generate. That is why we strive to have CIMs operational in 90 days or less. Traditional data centers take up to 14 months to become operational.
Traditional thinking will result in traditional performance. CIMs help customers achieve exceptional performance, but do require some out-of-the-ordinary thinking.
Currently, almost every data center contractor we have spoken with try and build the cheapest megawatt. The reason they do this is to try and compete with cloud computing. The reason they do this is because they want the ROI to look good on paper. What you end up with is a very wide system with poor concurrency and scalability. Modular data centers are more suited to high power servers. This makes the initial cost seem higher. In reality, going from two 10-core processors to two 20-core processors can reduce your initial investment by as much as 15%. Additionally, a 10-core CPU will use 135 watts while a 20-core CPU will use 150 watts. Higher density CIMs reduce total IT power. With 750 kW in a CIM you can achieve the same as 1 MW in a traditional data center and have lower CAPEX.
One way to build modular systems is with ISO shipping containers. Many of our customers have come to us after trying these containerized solutions and they have had nothing but complaints about the quality, longevity, and efficiency of these units.
When you drill down to the core of the issues, you will invariably come to the same conclusion; the containers do not perform as advertised.
Even though a shipping container is quite inexpensive, it greatly inhibits maintenance and there is little room for insulation, reducing efficiency. Containers are hard to maintain. Typically they arrive full of dirt, dust, and metal chips (a serious hazard to servers).
Why would you enclose tens of millions of dollars of equipment inside a non-insulated, unsafe, non-waterproof container? Don't you want to protect your investment?
Modular systems, like our Critical Infrastructure Modules, are designed for that exact purpose. Not only are they efficient, achieving 1.13 PUE with only air cooling, but they are also an investment in and of themselves. Our modules have an expected life of 20 years and so will continue to be a valuable asset for your company for a long period. Containers only have a life expectancy of 5 years. The savings add up fast with CIMs and the true costs of containers becomes very high.
It has been our experience that high quality modular systems have the lowest TCO over periods of 3 to 20 years. If you cannot look beyond even 2 years, then you may want to look towards the cloud or investigate financing as this can often be less costly than paying monthly and not owning any assets.
One company we have worked with, who I cannot disclose, moved an entire 30MW data center across state lines after tax laws changed. If their entire data center was modular this would have been far easier. That facility had been operating for 7 years. In the data world, that is a long time. A modular system lets you invest in high quality facilities, but doesn't lock you in to one geographical location. One benefit of this is leverage with utility companies. According to the EIA, the average data center pays 7.3 cents/kWh. We know of data centers paying as low as 3 cents/kWh. This means that utility companies are getting some data centers to pay premium prices despite the fact that data centers represent base load, which is far cheaper for the utility companies. If you invest in an expensive permanent facility, you are not going to be in a position to leave should tax laws or utility companies pressure your business to the point of failure. If you have a mobile, modular system then you just leave. Our modules are designed to be moved multiple times. containerized solutions are often not strong enough for transport after being left out to rust for a few years. Having leverage is important in negotiating with both utility companies and lawmakers.
We all pay for insurance to protect our assets and more importantly our business from an unknowable future. We all pay for Uninterruptible Power Systems to maintain business continuity. Modular data centers can protect your business just like a UPS or insurance and unlike those things, modules aren't an expense, they are an investment that will bring you long term savings and add to the value of your company. If you are looking to invest in your own data center infrastructure give us a call so we call help you determine if modular data centers are suitable for your business.
E3 NV, LLC
Modular Data Center Solutions