The last several years have seen numerous efforts to control the costs inherent in running data centers. In recent years, we have seen efforts to reduce the energy costs by increasing the efficiency of electrical equipment and then by controlling cooling costs. These efforts have led to new metrics (PUE), labeling (Energy Star), and government regulation (at least in the UK).

We have also seen efforts to control IT costs by controlling the space and making better use of servers. I think virtualization and consolidation, cloud initiatives, and tiered storage are good examples of these efforts. It might even be fair to call hot- and cold-aisle containment methods of controlling space.

Our cover story this month looks at another recurring theme in controlling data center costs: modularity. Not too many years ago, APC’s Neil Rasmussen would cite numerous statistics supporting the proposition that scalability would prevent the overspending and overbuilding that typified many projects. I won’t cite many of the statistics, in part because many of them derived from projects that belonged to the bust. Neil’s stats and weren’t wrong, and his analysis was based on good data. However, a few years are a lifetime in this market.

Nonetheless, John Diamond’s look at modularized infrastructure and even the many type of container strategies that have emerged in the past two years are efforts to control costs by baking repeatability into the data center design mix. The container, whether a 40-ft trailer, a 20-ft Pod, or Elliptical Mobile Systems’s S.P.E.A.R., is a scalable, repeatable module intended to help data center owners control costs while maintaining or improving reliability.

The market and time will tell how well these strategies fare in achieving data center objectives, and Mission Critical will continue to watch.

I’m also pleased to announce two new webinars, both of the Open Forum style that Mission Critical pioneered. The first, to be held on June 16th, will cover Designing and Operating Reliable Data Center Electrical Systems. Speakers for the event are Intel’s John Mussili, Rosendin Electric’s Bill Mazzetti, ZDT Group’s Joe Soroka, and Digital Realty Trust’s Ted Martin. Cummins and LEM will be sponsoring the event.

Tentatively scheduled to speaker at the June 29th event are Julius Neudorfer of NAAT and David Schirmacher, now of Field View Solutions. They will be joined by two other speakers who haven’t been announced yet. You can check our web site ( for more details. This again will be an Open Forum type presentation. This time, our focus will be on Cooling Issues, and the sponsors will be MovinCool and Applied Math Modeling.