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The prefabricated modular data center has been around for at least a decade, offering a fast, cost-effective, scalable alternative to the traditional stick-built data center. At first, potential customers were somewhat skeptical of the factory-built approach, but over the past five years, customers have gone from asking why they should go the prefab, modular route to asking how quickly they can get them.
Modular data centers are an increasingly attractive option because of their easy scalability and shorter time to market. Customer segments include the hyperscale cloud service providers who are in a race to expand their global capabilities and enterprises looking for the ease of deployment, portability, and compact size that an all-in-one data center can deliver.
If you are newer to the world of prefabricated modular data centers, watch the following video, “The Future of Prefabricated Modular Data Centers,” to get a quick foundational overview.
Market drivers for modular data centers
Now, let’s take a look at some of the key drivers behind the surge in prefabricated modular data centers and how they are helping to enable the rapid expansion of the data center market:
The growth in social media, gaming apps, and streaming media services has created a demand for cloud capacity that seems to be growing exponentially. Cloud service providers who are hosting these consumer applications are racing to build out their global data center footprint as quickly as possible. Prefab modular data centers are a perfect fit for these cloud giants.
Organizations are deploying sensor technology at the network edge across a variety of vertical industries, including manufacturing and retail. The smart cities movement also relies on sensor devices. In order to reduce bandwidth costs and avoid latency problems, organizations are looking to process IoT data as close to where it was created as possible. That means a right-sized, prefab, modular data center at every manufacturing plant or retail location.
Even in organizations that don’t generate IoT data, the sheer volume of data created by digital processes and the need to process that data at the source is driving companies to a distributed model. Instead of one or two giant data centers, companies are spreading their compute capacity across multiple, strategically located, smaller modular data centers.
Existing business processes are shifting from paper to digital across most industries. And new applications are being built in the cloud. Digital transformation is one of the key drivers of all-in-one modular data centers as private companies, public schools, municipalities, healthcare facilities, colocation providers, and the hyperscalers try to keep up with the demand.
Ruggedized special use cases
Prefab modular data centers are also in demand by the military and companies that work in remote or harsh areas and want a data center that can be ruggedized and tested prior to installation.
Sustainability in modular data centers
At Schneider Electric, we are focused on sustainability throughout the process of building a modular data center. Schneider makes 90% of the parts so we can reduce waste, optimize efficiency, and reduce the footprint of the data center. In addition, Schneider has the ability to control its supply chain in order to maximize efficiency and make sure that products are produced and transported in a sustainable manner. Also, we make it a priority to reduce transportation costs by having modular data centers built by local partners wherever possible.
Ready to learn more? Access prefab modular data center video series
With prefab modular data centers set to play a more dominant role in the rapidly evolving data center market, we thought it would be fitting to pull together a video series to share what you need to know about prefab solutions.
In this series, I chat with Joe Kramer, Global Director of Sales and Marketing of Prefabricated Modular Data Centers at Schneider Electric, to share insights based on Schneider’s history and role as a leader in the production of prefab modular data centers. We kick off the series by covering the history and basics of prefab and why they are practical building blocks in data center operations. Check out this short video titled “The Future of Prefabricated Modular Data Centers” to understand the foundations.
Stay tuned for upcoming videos in the series where Joe and I discuss cloud computing expansion, network edge, digital transformation, and sustainability. We will take a deeper dive in assessing the role of prefab modular data centers in each of these areas.