First Look: Dell’s New Modular Data Center

A look at the new Dell Modular Data Center System, which continues the evolution of modular data center design.

This week we’ve been looking at the evolution of modular data centers, as leading players in the data center field develop custom units that build upon the advantages of the container form factor. The latest company to roll out a new modular offering is Dell Data Center Solutions (DCS),which is introducing a streamlined modular data center unit that offers expandable capacity and multiple power and cooling options. The modules are built at Dell, and can be fully operational “within 30 days of site readiness,” the company says. Modules are available in either a 6-rack or 12-rack configuration, with up to 756U of server capacity in the 12-rack unit. Cooling is delivered through a module that attaches to the top of the racks, and users have the choice of using chilled water, outside air or evaporative cooling. In this video, Ty Schmitt, the Lead Architect for Modular Infrastructure at DCS, provides an overview of the new Dell DCS Modular Data Center System.

To learn more about Dell’s DCS unit, see New Dell Servers Target Cloud Customers. For more coverage of modular design, check out our Data Center Design Channel. For additional video, see our DCK video archive or visit our Data Center Videos channel on YouTube.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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  1. Modular seems to be the next new buzzword in data centers and rightly so - it makes sense going forward and is all about just in time and right sizing. The big gotcha that I still see time and time again - and it was highlighted here was - 'within 30 days from site readiness' which can mean a lot of things. If I look at the video - which is well done - I see the modular systems INSIDE a building. Just like containers. So does this mean that you need to have a warehouse with utility in place (power/fiber/water) or a concrete slab poured outside? Security fence? access controls, cameras, loading dock? My point being that this is really a layout play vs. a new data center play. If I still need a building around them, then I still need to find a site, permit it with city/county/state, put some perfume on the warehouse so it's presentable, and then I can roll one of these puppies in in 30 days or less. I would love to hear from users how this differs in speed of deployment from selecting a facility, ordering gear, and shipping it to the data center and plugging it in? Vendors will burn images on servers for large orders as they roll off the line, test the gear, before it ships, etc. There is some hassle factor savings in not having to worry about cardboard, plastic, and wood recycling on the shipping materials but how is this TRULY different as a data center option vs a new way to configure a data center floor?

  2. Irfaan Harris

    Re: need a concrete slab?..... First, this looks great and yes, overcomes the constraints of a shipping container. I think this will go far. My bet, this was developed as a project for a client - like google - and now being marketed. again very cool. It looks like a containment system with cabling and heat exchange. The front top is the vent of the cool air to circulate into the front of the racks. - which places requirements on the environment outside the "Module" You would still need: Need Physical security. Need CLEAN environment - dusts free Need UPS Need Chilled Water etc etc This will never compete with hot isle containment systems as their cost will be much lower. And most customer will invest in technology with the maximum timeframe for investment of the Asset. Where i think this is GREAT / PERFECT / A MUST is Businesses that depend on the latest Processor / IT etc and frequent Tech refresh where money is not a issue - ie Oil and Gas Google Yahoo Social networking Extreme latency dependant environments where refresh is frequent. Temporary environments. ie military. just my thoughts.... Irfaan Ivan Harris

  3. I do see these containers as a gian processor units... or it seems to be heading towards the same. This can make a huge task simple for those who want to host their own DC in their existing premises.

  4. I believe we will see a large increase in the number of modular data centers in the future. They will become more standardized from a pricing and specification point of view. Once Modular Data Centers gain market acceptance, I believe that users will simply call up and order a data center with standardized features and published pricing.

  5. I think the savings comes with the whole testing phase being done prior to the shipping of the products. Basically it's like lego blocks. Rather than building the lego bricks yourself, you are getting the entire brick and connecting it. All the work is done for you prior to the deployment. It is something your IT guys dont have to worry about and now they can focus on other IT issue with the company. It a time saver for them so thus being a money saver for your company. There are many angles you can look at this, but all-in-all i can see it being a little modified before it becomes the new buzz word within the IT industry.