A variety of factors are driving demand for modular data centers. Here are just a few:
Demand for more data analytics – Data-driven decision-making is driving the need for further data and analysis. Data lakes are proliferating in the cloud to support big data analytics, but to reduce latency, computing power needs to be closer to home. Data centers are being upgraded to handle increased data storage and processing, which is creating scalability problems. For example, using more powerful servers generate more heat, which requires more power and cooling capacity. With a modular approach to data centers, scalability isn’t a problem, because each module can be updated using the latest technologies, such as direct liquid cooling. Modules can be optimized to handle the increased IT load and accommodate power and cooling, even as data processing capabilities scale. Modular data centers can also be used as standalone facilities or to expand existing data centers, which simplifies scalability to handle more data.
More demand for colocation – For organizations seeking greater control over their data processing without the need to build their own data center, colocation continues to be a popular option. By establishing a data center in someone else’s facility, organizations can increase security, cut costs and take advantage of services, such as remote hands. Modular data centers also add value by expanding the capacity of the existing data center. For example, by using data center modules, you can quickly add customized capacity to a colocation built to tenant specifications, or you can move electrical equipment to an external module to free up data center white space. Therefore, adding modular systems makes for fast installation and scalability at relatively low cost.
Edge computing – With the increase in low-latency connections to handle high-demand, real-time applications, such as self-driving cars, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), edge computing is being deployed to handle data caching, and reduce the cost of backhaul and broadband connections. Applications like the Internet of Things (IoT), are expected to add 75.44 billion connected devices by 2025 that need real-time attention. Shipping this data to and from the cloud adds communications costs and latency. For example, 67 percent of manufacturing plants are migrating to “smart factories,” which means an enormous increase in the amount of IoT traffic. Edge computing is a better approach to real-time data processing for IoT and similar applications, which creates more demand for modular data centers installed at the edge.
Machine learning and AI – Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the data center infrastructure. In fact, Gartner predicts that 30 percent of those data centers that fail to prepare for AI will become obsolete by the end of 2020. AI is being used for predictive analytics to manage data workloads, making data centers more efficient and easier to manage. Modular data centers provide a ready-made approach to upgrade or replace outmoded data centers to accommodate emerging technologies like AI. AI is even being used to promote cooler data center operations and cut energy costs, making modular data centers even more cost-effective.