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FCW : April 30, 2013
The appeal of prefab data centers Caught in a perfect storm of cloud- rst and data center con- solidation initiatives colliding with budgetary restrictions, federal CIOs might be wondering how they will keep their IT infrastructures humming in the years ahead. After all, demands for new services are not waning even as the overall number of data centers is declining. Cloud computing and shared services can help, but most agencies still need some physical capacity to support servers and storage systems --- as long as they can do so economically. Modular data centers offer a possible solution. In this approach, compact containers or pods that resemble indus- trial shipping containers typically include core IT infrastruc- ture components such as power supplies, server racks and cooling systems --- in other words, the nuts and bolts of a data center s internal equipment. Con gu- rations vary, and the data centers can be either portable or stationary depending on the nature of the prefabricated components. If an agency needs more computing power but doesn t have the space or bud- get to build a data center, it can plug in a module, add the servers and related tech- nologies, and quickly bring the new capac- ity online. Vendors typically promise that the units can be delivered and functioning within three months. If the agency eventu- ally requires more capacity, it can plug in additional modules. "These modules are engineered to mini- mize planning, installation, con guration and much of the other legwork required to get the infrastructure built," said Wolf Tombe, chief technology of cer at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. His organization is evalu- ating the use of modules for its operations. "That could radically increase our ability to deliver services, and the theory is we could signi cantly reduce our costs because we are not spending a lot of time on engineering." Even if federal IT managers don t anticipate needing addi- tional capacity, modules could help them address other imperatives, such as reducing costs, bolstering disaster recovery strategies or conserving energy. Why it matters Modular data centers represent one piece of an overall effort to bring greater ef ciency and cost savings to IT infrastructures. They are related to converged infrastruc- tures and reference architectures, which represent a step up in sophistication with pretested combinations of servers, ExecTe c h BY ALAN JOCH A modular approach can help agencies quickly boost their IT capacity and save energy, but it's not for everyone 30 April 30, 2013 FCW.COM How it Modula Data center m come in pref ed con gura often in the f portable con ers that inclu the core elem of a tradition data center. works: ar data centers modules fabricat- ations, form of ntain- ude ments nal 1 2 3 Internal power sources Cooling systems Server racks
April 15, 2013
May 15, 2013