The advantages of modular performance-optimized data centers and converged infrastructures.
In its 2009 white paper “Infrastructure Convergence: The Integration of Technology to Lower Cost and Improve Business Response,” IDC notes that the average age of a data center in the United States is 12 years. Meanwhile, Gartner has allegedly stated that any data center more than seven years old is obsolete. Why? Most often, the answer lies in having a poor path to growth. There may be a lack of space in which to expand. It may be impossible to bring more supporting infrastructure (power, cooling, etc.) into the main building without a massive retrofit.
Whatever the reason, businesses now increasingly face the need to expand their data center operations but find their traditional options constrained, and one solution is the modular data center. As first engineered by Sun Microsystems, these were little more than conventional steel shipping containers modified to accept racks of server equipment. The advantage of this approach was that the containers could be added like building blocks or picked up and moved to other locations, a feature the military particularly liked.
“Around five years ago,” says Glenn Keels, director of marketing within the Scale Business Unit of HP’s industry standard servers and software group, “we and others started getting into container data centers. People saw the opportunity to have on-demand data center capacity, whether it was for a data center retro fit or disaster recovery. Usually, these were in more of your hyperscale-type environments—your large Web environments. Over time, we’ve seen the adoption increase from not just having temporary facilities or facilities expansion but more and more mainstream types of customers: high performance computing in oil and gas, in retail, in higher education. All of these and many others have started to see the advantages of modular data centers, or, as we call them, performance-optimized data centers—PODs.”
William Van Winkle has been a full-time tech writer and author since 1998. He specializes in a wide range of coverage areas, including unified communications, virtualization, Cloud Computing, storage solutions and more. William lives in Hillsboro, Oregon with his wife and 2.4 kids, and—when not scrambling to meet article deadlines—he enjoys reading, travel, and writing fiction.