Achieving better energy efficiency by right-sizing data centers sparked the development and growth of modular and scalable infrastructure. The idea was to make equipment highly adaptable so end users could increase or decrease capacity as needed. This flexibility allowed data center managers to right size their power and cooling infrastructure and achieves not only greater efficiency, but also more control over the capacity of their data center. This trend has continued to grow in popularity so it’s no surprise that the concept has evolved to include completely preconfigured data center infrastructure. Prefabricated solutions that can scale as demand increases. Why stop at a scalable UPS, a modular PDU, or in-row cooling solution, when the whole data center can be scalable? Schneider Electric’s InfraStruxure solution enables organizations to build for today’s demand and grow as needed. With InfraStruxure, users can achieve higher efficiency throughout the life cycle of their data center while maintaining the adaptability to change as the organization’s needs evolve. Gone are the days of pulling out the crystal ball to imagine a 10-year plan for a huge data center. Will you grow 20%? 40% over the data center life cycle? Will you migrate more applications and data to the cloud decreasing the load in your data center over time? With so many unknowns, how can you plan properly?
That was the question that DartPoints CEO Hugh Carspecken addressed when he came up with the concept of the Private Colo™. DartPoints, a colo provider, has set out to revolutionize the colo market by building a decentralized 100MW data center one 100kW data center at a time. The vision of DartPoints Private Colo™ is to build a network of small data centers in 100kW pre-configured micro colocation increments strategically located around the United States. This fully distributed model of micro data centers is centrally managed as a single site with Schneider Electric’s StruxureWare™ data center infrastructure management (DCIM) platform.
The DartPoints Private Colo™ model tackles the current dichotomy of colocation by providing affordable access to the infrastructure and expertise of a large colo while still offering the smaller scale of a single local site. These micro data centers permit DartPoints to offer the boutique services and support many organizations need from a local retail colo but located on-site or near-site. These micro data centers can be deployed in as little as 1000 square feet of office space, providing tremendous flexibility to build in just about any location. The DartPoints vision is simple – build where your customers need you, when they need you.
To make it all work, Carspecken worked with Schneider Electric to develop preconfigured 100kW InfraStruxure solutions that can be deployed in as little as 45 days. Each self-contained data center module includes a Symmetra PX250, six InRow RC chilled water cooling units, hot aisle containment for 15 rows, cable management, an ISX PDU, metered rack PDUs, AR3100 specialized racks for hot aisle containment, monitoring, and Struxureware DCIM. Customers are ensured privacy and security – a Private Colo™. Carspecken elaborates, “When a large data center is deployed, its approached like a commercial realty development project so they tend to have 10 year, 15 year cycles on growth rates so what we’re seeing is that there are so many stopgap solutions and they’re not taking control of their own destiny and everybody knows that technology is extremely rapid, so data centers are being stretched by these changes. So going back to the Schneider Electric portfolio put all of the advances together and instead of using the modular architecture like the in-row cooling as stopgap – use it as a strategy. Why don’t you avoid it from the beginning and start smaller and ride the curve on efficiency a lot sooner so when someone comes in with a requirement, you can adjust?”
Using 100kW increments to build the data center provides DartPoints with the flexibility to cater to his customer’s geographic needs and the adaptability to grow his data center on pace with customer demand. “We’re building micro data centers that are built in 100kW chunks so we can expand and contract with customer demand,”Carspecken explains. “We only deploy when we have customer input.” Even with the ultimate goal of building a 100MW decentralized data center, the 100kW pods allow purposeful incremental growth.
Other than the geographic flexibility and the ability to scale in reasonable chunks, the 100kW solution enables DartPoints to go after small to medium-sized businesses. These are the organizations that won’t necessarily have the resources to build a best-in-class private data center on their own, and they may have some concerns about being a small tenant in a larger colo. The geographic flexibility allows them to deploy small data centers on-site or near-site to function as either the primary data center for their customers, or as a disaster recovery site.
There was more to it than that, however. 100kW is the perfect size for most small to medium sized businesses because it offers everything they need and still reaps the benefits of Schneider Electric’s highly efficient and proven scalable and modular architecture. As Hugh put it, “The APC division of Schneider Electric built themselves on serving small to medium sized businesses. When Schneider Electric acquired APC, they stayed true to that market while their competitors grew into the mega data center segment. Schneider Electric never lost site of the small guys and that’s really their sweet spot.” DartPoints may quickly grow to that 100MW data center, but the 100kW data center pod falls squarely within the sweet spot that Hugh described as Schneider Electric’s core competency.
Schneider Electric’s highly modular and scalable power and cooling solutions into a single pre-engineered and tested data center pod. Just like you can increase the capacity of a Symmetra PX by adding power modules, you can increase the capacity of your data center by right-sizing from the beginning and adding modules as needed. DartPoints has successfully invented the Private Colo™ – perhaps the most flexible colocation data center concept in the industry – by using a standardized pre-configured data center module as their basic building block.