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When Schneider Electric announced 14 prefabricated data center modules and 15 Data Center Reference Designs in November 2013, it represented a significant introduction in a market which was until recently described by 451 Research as having an extended infancy. So, when I met Dave Johnson, Schneider Electric senior vice president, Solutions, at DatacenterDynamics London, I took the opportunity to ask him more about the company’s investment in the architecture.
Dave Johnson told me, “Prefabricated modular is a key part of our data center strategy. It’s really one of our pillars. If you look at our overall key strategy, Schneider Electric has all of the physical infrastructure that goes into the data center. We’re able to combine them in our own integrated way and then layer our DCIM software on top of that. So our strategy overall is to intergrate these components in an optimum way and provide management software for them. We also provide services and lifecycle services around that solution. Prefabrication allows us to integrate these components in a meaningful way, ahead of time, with some of the benefits including predictability, speed and flexibility that you get from the modular approach.”
Prefabricated data center modules are pre-engineered, pre-assembled / integrated, and pre-tested data center physical infrastructure systems (i.e., power and cooling) that are delivered as standardized “plug-in” modules to a data center site. This contrasts with the traditional approach of provisioning physical infrastructure for a data center with unique one-time engineering, and all assembly, installation, and integration occurring at the construction site. The benefits of prefabricated modules include cost savings, time savings, simplified planning, improved reliability,improved agility, higher efficiency, and a higher level of vendor accountability. More information about this can be found in Schneider Electric white paper #163 “Containerized Power and Cooling Modules for Data Centers”, which can be downloaded freely from the company’s website.
I asked Dave what’s the sweet spot for Schneider Electric and prefabricated solutions. He said, “I think the sweet spot right now is between 250kW and 2MW, we’re seeing a great opportunity to design deployment chunks or sizes in that range, and of-course you can build a bigger data center out of those sizes.”
In fact, Schneider Electric reference designs detail complete data centers scalable in 250kW to 2MW increments and meet Uptime Tier II and Tier III standards. The new prefabricated modules deliver IT, power, and/ or cooling integrated with best-in-class data center infrastructure components and StruxureWare™ Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software for an easy-to-deploy, predictable data center. Prefabricated modules range in capacities from 90kW to 1.2MW and are customizable to meet end user requirements.