Using a pod-based approach when deploying equipment racks in data center IT – or white – space, provides advantages in design, build, and operation. This is especially true for larger facilities that tend to install larger numbers of fully configured racks at a time. At DCD Zettastructure London Kevin Brown, the SVP of Innovation & CTO for Schneider Electric’s IT Division, told me how the company’s newly announced HyperPod addresses the requirement for a standardized method. You can view our discussion below.
Brown shared, “The early impetus for HyperPod came as we looked at different data centers in different places, across several years. We saw that even a simple concept like aisle containment, which can have a big impact on efficiency, wasn’t being used as effectively as it could be. So, we started trying to understand why something that is so compelling from an efficiency standpoint actually wasn’t being deployed as broadly as we’d imagined.”
Why pod-based data center rack systems make sense
Organizing IT racks into pods makes it easier to vary power and cooling redundancies and architectures based on the specific business needs within an IT room or hall. This approach motivated Schneider Electric designers to think about a solution that enabled deployment without the requirement for a lot of assembly or construction. At the same time, the design needed to provide a flexible and cost-effective solution from which customers could easily gain advantage.
From its early beginnings, the HyperPod solution quickly evolved into a fully engineered, free standing frame system, designed to be as compatible as possible with the majority of common IT racks and equipment. “Not only does it give you containment,” said Brown, “but also we’ve tried to minimize the amount of infrastructure people need to hang ceiling brackets. So, customers can run their cables, data, power and cooling piping all on the frame. That allows our customers to minimize the amount of construction that’s happening inside the white space itself.”
HyperPod offers benefits to colocation companies
Minimizing construction is particularly relevant to colocation service providers, for whom there’s a lot of value in being able to deploy infrastructure without having to undertake an assembly project when there’s live IT operating in the room. A free-standing pod frame system like HyperPod can not only speed up deployments by reducing construction time, it can also simplify maintenance by making it easier to roll racks in and out. This is further simplified because containment and services are mounted to the frame instead of the rack.
The need to deploy IT at scale, quickly and efficiently, is driving changes in the way physical infrastructure is deployed and managed in the white space. Today, the installation of fully integrated racks complete with IT that roll into place, hard floor data halls, and air containment are just a few examples. The use of pods – standardized blocks of racks – facilitates these changes.
Pod-based systems provide advantages to traditional data centers
For those who are just providing power, cooling, and space, the pod-based method allows them to provide the infrastructure into the white space more effectively. For established environments, there’s the benefit of being able to retrofit and modernize your data center. “Our model is showing that this approach has a 15% lower cost than current methods of building, which is 20% faster to deploy. Customers who have deployed HyperPod are confirming this with similar numbers,” said Brown.
When commonly available voltages and breaker sizes are considered, optimum pod configurations emerge that make planning and design easier. Standardizing pod designs and limiting the number of configurations can help make pod-level deployments simpler and faster. “We’re really quite excited about HyperPod. We think we’re on to something that can really help advance the industry, especially in traditional data center environments,” concluded Brown.
Learn about Schneider HyperPods
If you’d like to know more, you can find out more about specifying data center pod infrastructures in our whitepaper.