When data center stakeholders are faced with the challenge of deploying new power and cooling infrastructure (e.g., chillers, pumps, CRACS, CRAHS, UPS, PDUs, switchgear, transformers), is it better for them to convert an existing room within the building or to construct an extension to house additional power and cooling equipment? Or could it be more cost effective and technically feasible to source the power and cooling using a series of facility modules?

Traditional 40 ft by 20 ft (12 m by 6 m) ISO shipping containers are probably the most recognizable form of containerized solutions; however the term does not fully capture the extent of portable, modular solutions available today. For this reason APC prefers the term “facility module” which not only embraces containers, but also includes other modules that are built on a skid or delivered as multiple form factor modular buildings.

To overcome issues of custom engineering as well as maximize the benefits of economies of scale and standardization, facility modules are pre-engineered, pre-assembled and integrated, and pre-tested data centre physical infrastructure systems (e.g., power and cooling) that are delivered as “plug-in” modules to a data center site. This means the elimination of much of the integration work done on-site in traditional data center builds.

The deployment of facility modules can result in savings of 60% in deployment speed, 22 percent in first cost, as well as 18 percent in total cost of ownership (TCO) when compared to a traditional build out of the same infrastructure. However, facility modules can also present implementation challenges in some data centers and may not be an effective solution for every application.

In addition to considering the savings which can be made through the use of pre-engineered and right-sized infrastructure solutions, the new white paper also therefore charts some of the drawbacks of integration, environmental and other physical risks to facility modules, as well as the limitations of the form factor especially as far as human ergonomics are concerned.

White Paper #163 “Containerized Power and Cooling Modules for Data Centers” by Dennis Bouley is available for free download at www.apc.com/whitepapers or by clicking here. For more details about APC by Schneider Electric Facility Modules and InfraStruxure architecture for on demand data centres, pleasecall 0-800 279-9254.