The Benefits of Modular Data Center Infrastructure Design

Posted by Enconnex Team on October 30, 2020

| Categories: Data Center

Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously said that change is the only constant in life. In the enterprise data center, it might be more accurate to say that growth is the only certainty. Data center managers must continually add capacity to meet increasing business demands. Experts agree that a modular approach to data center infrastructure is the best way to achieve the needed scalability.

At its most basic, modularity simply involves breaking a large system down into component parts. But there are three key elements that make a system truly modular. First, it should be an open architecture that allows for flexible options and accommodates future infrastructure components. Second, the components should fit together well even if different options are chosen. Third, installing and replacing the components should be fast and easy compared to nonmodular systems.

In the data center, modularity addresses the scalability challenge in several ways. Because modular components are pre-engineered to work together, design time is reduced. Data center managers can pick and choose the components they need with less concern about interoperability. Pre-manufactured components can be procured quickly and deployed as needed, reducing the need to pay for and install infrastructure in advance.

Modularity offers other benefits as well. Standardized, pre-engineered components improve energy efficiency by rightsizing capacity and employing cooling systems where they’re needed most. Standardization also ensures compliance with energy efficiency, security and other requirements without the need to evaluate components on a case-by-case basis. Operator training is simplified, and management tools can be used without customization.

How you subdivide a data center into component parts depends upon the size of the facility and the number of devices. There are also practical considerations. Individual modules should be small enough to enable maximum flexibility while taking into account the law of diminishing returns. Too many modules can create operational headaches, and some systems more efficient when deployed at a larger scale. The granularity of the modular data center design is always a tradeoff between flexibility, simplicity, efficiency and cost.

There are potentially infinite variations depending upon growth projections, site constraints and organizational preferences. Generally speaking, data centers with more dynamic growth patterns will benefit from smaller modules than more stable data centers. However, the modular architecture must be able to accommodate the size and shape of the facility, and preferences should be balanced against the benefits of standardization.

When selecting modular data center infrastructure products, a primary consideration is the ease of installation and quality of the components. You should also look for features such as integrated cable management, security, and monitoring systems. Modular units with built-in containment should accommodate either hot- or cold-aisle configurations and a variety of cooling technologies.

Enconnex engineers have extensive real-world experience in the design and architecture of some of the world’s largest data centers. We understand the benefits and tradeoffs of modular design and can apply lessons learned in hyperscale data centers to any size facility. We can also help you select the right products to make your design a reality. If constant growth is straining the capacity of your data center, we invite you to give us a call. Let us help you leverage modular data center infrastructure to gain greater scalability, flexibility and efficiency.

Posted by Enconnex Team on October 30, 2020

Tags: Data Center

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