For most organizations, sustainability has become more than just a buzzword; it’s a way of life. Companies are setting deadlines for becoming carbon neutral, shifting to renewable energy sources, and doing everything they can to become more energy efficient.
Prefabricated modular data centers provide a great opportunity for organizations to address sustainability in their IT departments, where energy costs are soaring as demand for data grows. For example, hyperscale data center operators have been able to use their economics of scale, technological innovations, and shifts to renewable energy sources to help offset the sheer increase in the volume of data being stored and processed. They can also locate new data centers in colder climates to reduce cooling costs.
The average company is facing a soaring demand for data storage space. However, they can’t move everything to the cloud for various regulatory, compliance, and business reasons. And they don’t have the luxury of putting new data centers in Finland, for example. They need to put them where their factories or other edge facilities are located.
Prefabricated modular data centers offer several advantages for organizations seeking a fast, flexible, sustainable, energy-efficient alternative to buying land and building a large facility designed to accommodate future growth.
The sustainability benefits of prefabricated modular data centers
Modular data centers are built in the controlled environment of a factory, which means that the teams building the data center have the experience and the skills to deliver a high-quality, reliable, pre-engineered, pre-tested unit in a short amount of time.
Here are some specific advantages that relate to sustainability:
- Reduced Waste: Waste is significantly reduced compared to building a data center on-site because of the vertical integration between the designers of the data center architecture, the procurement teams that obtain the components, and the assembly teams that put everything together in the factory.
- Right-sizing: Prefabricated modular data centers don’t require the renovation of an existing building or the construction of a facility that might be far too large for current requirements. The modular route provides right-sizing, so the data centers run at peak efficiency. The pre-fabricated choice also enables companies to scale their data center footprint in a modular, only-pay-for-what-you-need approach, thus not wasting resources.
- Supply Chain: Organizations not only want to know about the sustainability efforts and carbon footprint of their suppliers, but they want to follow the supply chain down to the companies providing components to their first-tier suppliers. Schneider Electric has been focusing on the sustainability aspects of its supply chain for many years. In addition, Schneider Electric actually makes 90% of the components in its data centers, so it has knowledge of and control over how those components are made.
- Transportation: The environmental impact of transporting a completed data center from the factory to the customer also needs to be addressed. Ideally, a modular data center should be built as close to the end user site as possible to reduce transportation impacts. Schneider Electric addresses this issue with its global reach with factories in the United States, Europe, India, and China, as well as global partners in other locations.
- Remote Monitoring and Management: Another key component of sustainability efforts is the capability of conducting remote monitoring and management of the data center with advanced software. This means that organizations don’t need to physically send IT staffers to a remote location to troubleshoot a data center because it can be handled remotely from a cloud-based, central management console. Remote monitoring capability also helps data center teams keep an eye on energy efficiency.
- End-of-life Reuse: Prefabricated modular data centers can last a long time, but everything reaches its end of life at some point. Prefab modular data centers can be taken off-site and the components recycled or disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. And there are also circumstances in which changing business conditions might render a modular data center expendable. In this case, the data center could be reused somewhere else.
Access sustainability video
To learn more about the sustainability benefits of prefabricated modular data centers, watch this video featuring my discussion with Joe Kramer, Global Director of Sales and Marketing of Prefabricated Modular Data Centers at Schneider Electric.
We take a closer look at how organizations can nimbly grow their data center capacity while also working towards sustainability goals. Big strides have been made in bringing predictability in performance, speed to market, and ultimately, a new approach to our customer’s IT infrastructure in the data center market. To learn more, access our full series of blog posts on the Future of Prefabricated Data Centers.