At “Power to the Cloud” in Dubai, I asked Tony Day, Global Director, Business Development, Prefabricated Solutions, Schneider Electric how prefabricated solutions can help Middle Eastern customers develop data centers – a geography where speed of deployment is often a key criteria in a development.
Tony outlined some key benefits of deploying prefabricated data center infrastructure in projects where rapid deployment is important. Prefabricated solutions allow “the customer to scale out their facility in a Just in Time (JIT) fashion, putting in just what they need, when they need it. This approach allows you to track very closely to the loads you’re encountering and therefore means you can be more efficient financially as you no longer need to invest in all of your infrastructure up front as we commonly used to associate with data center developments. As well as being efficient financially it’s also very energy efficient to only deploy what you need”.
For areas such as the Middle East, which is an example of a growing data center market Tony believes it’s a very smart way to deploy, as using prefabricated systems allows you to much more closely tie your investment in infrastructure to demonstrable business demand. Something businesses all of the globe would no doubt find compelling.
Given the recent announcement of a project to transform Dubai into a Smart City, by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, I went on to ask Tony how prefabricated data center infrastructure can help Dubai deliver this vision.
“To build a Smart City, you need smart data centers” Tony explained, “and a prefabricated data center allows you to build out your smart city in a smart way. Previously we’ve been forced to adapt to a data center architecture that was really based around uncertainty. We never knew what the business requirements were going to be that far ahead although we typically had a wider time frame than we do today.”
This meant that data centers were built as large projects for a long time horizon and major capital investments were needed from day one to allow businesses to be able to accommodate future projects in business growth. Nowadays many organisations are seeking to build to much shorter time horizons and also to reduce, where feasible, the scale of capital required for data center developments as speed and agility become very valuable.
Tony observed that “To build your infrastructure in todays shorter time horizons, you need to work very quickly. This puts great pressure on IT and infrastructure (teams) to develop things with certainty in a very short time frame.”
In Tony’s view the best way to manage this is to build using prefabricated or pre-assembled systems because “you know exactly what you’re getting (from your infrastructure) before it arrives on site and the intention is that you’ll be able to order it as you order your IT, allowing customers to match their IT supply with their infrastructure supply much more closely than they can do today”. Working in this way can reduce the pressure on the teams responsible for developing the infrastructure to support the particular operational challenge. With respect to developing infrastructure in Smart Cities this may well be even more attractive as it may be extremely difficult to accurately forecast requirements prior to deployment so a prefabricated approach that can scale with growth could be a significant and cost effective enabler of Smart services.
You can find out more about Schneider Electric’s Prefabricated data center solutions here: https://www.schneider-electric.com/solutions/ww/en/app/4664756-it-room-management/268704863-prefabricated-data-center-modules