Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs will begin using factory-built modular data centers to deploy its IT infrastructure, and has partnered with IO to deploy modules across three continents, the companies said today.
Goldman has signed a ”long-term, strategic technology partnership” with IO, which will deploy modules for Goldman in IO data centers in Singapore, the U.K. and the United States. Goldman Sachs also plans to deploy IO modules in its own facilities, and will adopt its IO.OS software for data center monitoring and management.
The shift by Goldman Sachs represents a major vote of confidence in factory-built data center capacity, a trend which began with servers housed in 40-foot-long shipping containers to create a “data center in a box.” These pre-fabricated designs have evolved rapidly, offering flexible designs that can create an enclosed data hall that looks and feels like traditional data center space.
Goldman: Modules Provide ‘Sustainable Enhancements’
Don Duet, global co-chief operating officer of the Technology Division at Goldman Sachs, said the use of IO modules “provides sustainable enhancements to our data center operations.”
“Their innovative technology and services will allow Goldman Sachs to scale its data center operations more efficiently, and further advance the firm’s broader commitment to environmental stewardship and reduced carbon footprint,” Duet said.
Switching to modular designs will allow Goldman Sachs to save money in both building and operating its infrastructure, the company said, and is expected to improve the energy efficiency of its data center capacity. Data center modules are particularly effective at managing airflow to servers, a key factor in reducing the energy dedicated to cooling.
Goldman Sachs has been one of Wall Street’s technology leaders, investing heavily in hardware and software to help it automate and accelerate its trading strategies. It also has extensive data security and disaster recovery operations. Goldman Sachs operates a network of advanced data centers, including several significant facilities in New Jersey.
A ‘Significant Commitment’
“Goldman Sachs is one of the most advanced companies in one of the most highly regulated industries,” said George Slessman, the CEO of IO, which has been a pioneer in bringing modular designs into the multi-tenant environment. “This is a significant, long-term commitment. They are truly adopting these principles, and using our technology in every deployment use case.”
That includes housing modules in facilities owned by Goldman Sachs, as well as data centers operated by IO and its partners. IO’s modules are built in a factory in Phoenix and can be shipped anywhere they can be connected to power, water and fiber.
IO will build and install the modules for Goldman Sachs, and support them through its Data Center as a Service , which includes a service level agreement (SLA) and performance targets for Power Usage Effectiveness , a leading metric for data center energy efficiency.
Geographic Expansion for IO
IO will also open new data centers in Singapore and the United Kingdom, which will house modular capacity for Goldman Sachs but also be available to other customers. IO currently operates huge data centers in Phoenix, Arizona and Edison, New Jersey where it deploys data center modules for clients.
IO said it will work closely with Goldman to understand the company’s requirements going forward.
“Goldman is going to be actively participating in our customer advisory board, will help define the technology roadmap for their needs, and for the industry,” said Slessman. “For the first time, customers are wanting to participate in the R&D process. They’re saying ‘here are our problems, come up with solutions.'”
Major Milestone for Modular Design
Running servers in shipping containers and modules was initially viewed as a niche play by many in the data center industry, limited to mobile requirements, temporary capacity, or novel designs like cloud computing facilities. Analysts and industry watchers have debated whether the efficiencies of modular data centers would be embraced by enterprise users, who are sometimes slow to adopt new technology.Others have debated the economics of modular deployments, saying the cost benefits are not clear.
Slessman has been among the industry’s most vocal advocates of modular deployment and a “Data Center 2.0″ approach that integrates repeatable, consistent designs and software.
“Goldman Sachs’ adoption of Data Center 2.0 principles and the resulting technology partnership with IO will accelerate the transformation of data center technology and its delivery,” said Slessman. “Technology and relentless innovation are now driving data center infrastructure decisions for the largest companies in the world.”
“I believe this is the tipping point,” said Slessman.