The Evolution of Modular Data Centers in 2024


An extensive modular data center with rows of servers.

Modular data centers (MDCs) have grown in popularity over the years and continue to prove their value across a variety of industries and applications. As we enter a new year of rapid tech evolution, we predict MDCs will take on even more of a critical role. Modular construction is more than just a data center trend—it offers unique advantages that make this approach an attractive and innovative alternative to traditional data center builds.

Growing Popularity of the Modular Market

The global modular data center market was valued at $21.34 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $107.96 billion by 2032. This rapid growth is due in part to the growth of the data center market overall. However, the MDC segment of the market is growing at a  compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.6 percent—a much higher rate than that of the data center market overall.

Demand for data centers is expanding due to technology trends that are impacting nearly every aspect of our lives, such as:

  • Cloud computing
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • The Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Digital transformation

While all of these trends are driving the need for data centers more generally, there are advantages that modular data centers offer in particular that are causing this segment of the market to thrive. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable advantages MDCs offer over traditional stick-built data centers:

  • Rapid Deployment: Prefabricated modular data centers come together much more quickly than stick-built data centers, allowing you to build out capacity quickly. With minimal site preparation needed, these data centers arrive ready for action. Faster deployment also means you can begin realizing the return on your investment sooner.
  • Turn-Key Service: Trusting a provider like PCX for a modular data center means you don’t have to hire and coordinate various parties like architects, construction crews and electricians. Instead, you can enjoy a seamless experience managed end-to-end by experienced professionals.
  • Scalability: Modular data centers can work as standalone units or can be joined together to form a large ecosystem of computing power. When you need to scale your data center, you can either guess at your future capacity needs and build a data center accordingly, or take advantage of modular solutions to rightsize your capacity and add more if the need arises.
  • Versatility: Traditional data centers come with traditional site requirements. MDCs are far more versatile, offering the compactness and adaptability needed to work in a variety of contexts. They’re great for edge applications or situations where a large data center isn't practical or needed.
  • Cost: MDCs may not be cheaper initially, but they do offer long-term cost benefits. For one, the price you’re quoted is more likely to be close to your final cost compared to a traditional construction project, where cost overruns and wasted spending are common.

In 2024, another attractor that is likely to stand out is MDC’s energy efficiency. This is a growing focus in the industry, so companies will be looking for ways to support their or their customers’ computing needs in a more environmentally responsible way.

What Does a Modular Data Center Look Like in 2024?

When we’re talking about MDCs, it’s worth noting that MDCs today do not necessarily look like the stereotypical MDCs of yesteryear. When modular solutions first entered the market, they were typically held in ISO shipping containers; today, they can take many forms.

In addition to ISO containers, MDCs can come in skid-mounted systems or in self-contained shell or metal housing enclosures. Whether you need a self-contained unit to install outside or a plug-and-play solution to add to an indoor facility, you can find the right modular product for your needs.

Whatever form they take, all-in-one MDCs can include all the components and systems needed to support your computing needs, including IT racks, cooling infrastructure and more.

Learn more in The Complete Guide to Modular Data Center Solutions.

Embrace the Benefits of Modular Data Centers in 2024

Modular data centers have become increasingly popular for a reason, and they're anticipated to maintain their importance, outpacing traditional data center builds in growth. Offering advantages like rapid deployment, a turn-key solution, scalability, flexibility, cost savings and even environmental benefits, MDCs are reshaping the data center landscape. As they evolve to encompass diverse configurations, MDCs continue to cater to the dynamic computing needs of the future.

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