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The Five Benefits of Modular Container Design

In our previous blog, ‘The Changing Shape (and Size) of Data Centers,’ we talked about modular data centers as a natural evolution in design of mission-critical facilities. Within an ever-changing computing landscape, modular container design has created an economical deployment methodology that is being utilized by hyperscale providers, corporations, governments, and educational institutions. In our previous blog we discussed how this evolution has taken place within the historical context of data center design and the economics of computing in the modern world. In this blog we will talk about the benefits of the new modular approach.

While there are a host of reasons, we think that all of the benefits of modular container design and deployment can be summed up with these five drivers:

  1. Spatially elastic: Modular containers are very adaptable to the environment in which it finds itself and can work in any number of configurations. Containers can be housed in a warehouse or placed outside, on their own. They can be stacked without need of additional structural design. They also complement existing architecture. Rather than retrofitting or rebuilding rooms in facilities to house the computer equipment, electrical and mechanical infrastructure, and network, you only need to find 20 or 40 feet of space to set a container.
  1. Highly secure: Modular containers provide a higher level of security on several fronts. The container itself is a highly secure solution. Built of steel, containers can withstand threats ranging from vandalism and tampering to wind and debris. Because they are built off-site, they can also be shipped to highly secure locations, eliminating the need for crews of contractors and their costly clearances and confidentiality requirements for these types of projects.
  1. Custom built: Almost by definition, the modular nature of the containerized data center lends itself to customization. The electrical and mechanical infrastructure are sized directly to the computing application, resulting in higher efficiencies and lower PUE’s. It also allows the organization to deploy according to its computing needs and redeploy elsewhere if computing needs change. 
  1. Highlyportable: Have you ever tried to move a stick-built data center? When new data centers are built, they are accompanied by a data center migration – a complex and nerve-racking move of server, storage, and network equipment from the old facility. Today, containerized modular data centers can literally be packed up and shipped worldwide. They are easy to transport over the road, by sea, or by plane.
  1. Fast: The process of designing and building a container is turnkey, with all of the benefits of design-build construction. This means that the owner works with a single, unified team to implement the project. It also means that the process, from design to delivery, is shorter and less expensive. Also, containerized solutions are commissioned in the factory which means that the unit is ready for operation as soon as it reaches the site.

The benefits of modular container data centers are drivers for a shift in the way data centers are design and deployed. With improved flexibility, efficiency, speed and cost of deployment, it is a shift that we believe is the natural evolution of data center design. Click here for more information about how CPG is taking part in the design evolution.

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The Changing Shape (and Size) of Modular Data Centers

While it does not get as much press as hyperscale, edge, and cloud computing, there has been a shift in the design of data centers quietly taking place over the past few years. Modular data center design in general, and modular containers in particular, is changing the way the industry is implementing projects. For CPG, the change seems more like a natural evolution, one that will continue to change the way we think about data center design and deployment. To see how we came to that point of view, let’s take a look at modular design in its historical context. 

The design of the first several generations of data centers yielded static, drab white rooms celebrating mechanical and electrical design’s response to the computer age. They were also built around deployments of specific computer systems, and usually constructed faster than the computers themselves were manufactured. These rooms were also ‘corporate,’ meaning they represented long-term investments in technology for the companies that built them. They were static rather than dynamic and would certainly never be referred to as profit centers. 

The history of data center design can, in some ways, be traced to the shift from computing for business to computing as a business. Colocation has become more ubiquitous as the ‘server huggers’ have learned to let go, and more and more firms are in the business of data and technology instead of using data and technology to support their business. As technology has become the business itself, the focus has naturally shifted to the profitability of the colocation enterprise. Economic pressures being what they are, the industry has focused on new ways not only to compute more economically, but also to increase the return on data center deployments as much as possible. 

Enter stage right: modular data center design. In the data center world, modular has two meanings. First, modular means scalable. Electric components such as UPS gear can be deployed so that they can provide more capacity at a later date, either through software upgrades or by adding new modules to the system to provide more capacity. Today, the term modular refers more to the method of deployment and less to the electrical and mechanical infrastructure itself. Modular now refers to the ability to deliver prebuilt computing capacity in self-contained units. That means electrical, mechanical, and computing capacity can be fixed using solutions like modular containers and skids (or ‘SCIFs’ in government-ese). 

The need for modular data center design is not driven solely by economics, although it is a factor. The challenges presented today, from hyperscale computing to the point solutions needed to expand that computing capacity to the ‘edge,’ have also forced the design community’s hand. Modular design supports large hyperscale applications, and also works well for small edge deployments. Speed to market has also favored not only a scalable solution, but one that can be fabricated off site. Prefab data center solutions improve project economics and reduce the risks inherent with adding capacity using traditional construction methods.

Modular data centers are now being used in more mainstream applications. As corporate computing functions shift to the cloud, it is more common for them to be deployed in secure containers in a colocation facility rather than located in brick and mortar space on the corporate campus. For more about the changing shape of modular data centers, follow the link to see how CPG is taking part in the evolution.

It seems to be an impossible puzzle but it's easy to solve a Rubik' Cube using a few algorithms.

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CPG EXPANDS COMPANY PORTFOLIO WITH ACQUISITION OF OME

CPG, the pioneer in cutting-edge, full-spectrum data center solutions, is excited to announce the acquisition of OME, a professional engineering firm and market leader in strategic services for facility automation and monitoring.

The addition of OME to CPG’s portfolio brings with it an expert team, led by engineering industry veteran Richard Warner. Mr. Warner will lead the Operational Technology Solutions Division at CPG, which will specialize in innovative design, engineering and deployment of enterprise-level systems with progressive solutions that go well beyond standard data integration. In addition, Matt Hartle will join the team in the role of investor and director. Mr. Hartle was previously the Director of Information Technology for DuPont Fabros Technology and held the role of Operations Executive for OME.

 “The exponential growth of CPG had us looking for opportunities to bring more expertise in-house,” said CPG Managing Partner, Anthony Rizzo. “OME’s excellent reputation and focus on forward-thinking, scalable solutions, along with their expert leadership, made them a perfect fit for our team.”

 The new division will operate as a fully-integrated part of CPG. Their strategic services will be designed to enhance client infrastructure and operations by enabling visibility into systems, strategically managing critical data and optimizing performance for effective cost- and energy-saving results. 

“After partnering the past two years on some very innovative, next-generation data center solutions, we’re very excited to be a fully integrated part of the CPG team,” said Richard Warner. “Working as part of a full-spectrum data center solutions provider allows us the opportunity to incorporate more comprehensive solutions into the facilities lifecycle. We are truly poised to change the game for our clients.”

The acquisition increases the depth and breadth of the company’s professional engineering team, as well as enhances CPG’s capabilities and expertise in delivering secure control and monitoring systems to mission-critical facilities including data processing, military operations, critical healthcare, telecommunication switching, financial transactions, manufacturing, utility services and laboratory research.

ABOUT CPG

CPG experts are THE innovators for cutting-edge Data Center and Cloud solutions. For nearly 20 years, CPG has been providing full-lifecycle, mission-critical infrastructure solutions to some of the most demanding Fortune 1000 companies. CPG applies the latest facilities infrastructure power, cooling, security and control at all scales and densities, including modular and hyperscale. Headquartered in Ashburn, Virginia, CPG is at the heart of the data center industry. www.CPGbeyondthecloud.com

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