There's a lot of news about mega data centers these days, massive facilities that extend further than the eye can see. DartPoints, is going the opposite direction by offering micro-data centers next door.
DartPoints plans to create a national network of micro-colocation facilities built in 100 kilowatt increments. These "private colo" facilities are housed within micro data centers designed and built by Schneider Electric’s dedicated Data Center Service Provider Team and local partner Tubbesing. The approach is highly repeatable and scalable, allowing colocation providers to serve a variety of small and medium sized businesses.
The idea came about in 2013, and is the result of multiple discussions between Schneider and Hugh Carspecken, the CEO of DartPoints. THe initiative predated Schneider Electric’s acquisition of AST, which also makes micro data center enclosures, and is not related.
"We have aggressive growth plans, so continuing to decrease costs and avoid risk is important, but we also need to be responsive to customer needs with speedy deployment," said Carspecken. "Schneider Electric was able to provide a simple yet scalable, cost-effective framework, including design, hardware, software and services, which will allow us to expand and contract with customer demand."
A Distributed Model for the SMB Market
It’s a new data center model that brings server-hugging to a whole new level, meeting the distinct computing needs of the growing small and medium-sized business market. The micro-data centers can be deployed close to businesses if the proper electrical and connectivity infrastructure is in place. The first facility was deployed in 45 days, but this was with a lot of lead time as the team was getting the concept right before the build. A typical install may take nine to 10 months
These micro-data centers will be networked, fully managed and can be quickly and easily replicated anywhere across the United States. Schneider Electric’s StruxureWare DCIM software will be used to manage each pod. StruxureWare enables DartPoints to centrally operate and manage geographically dispersed sites, to identify areas needing improvement, to identify opportunities for growth, and to ensure high availability for customers.
The final design includes modular power and cooling architecture with the Symmetra PX UPS and InRow RC chilled water units.
A New Model for Colo Providers
Schneider Electric is working with colocation providers to target this new potential business.
“We’ll never enter the space as a standalone provider,” said Mike Hagan, vice president, Data Center Service Provider Segment. “We’d obviously be competing with our customers in the space if we did.”
In concept, DartPoints' micro-data centers are arguably similar to what IO is offering, only on a much smaller scale and targeting a different audience. The strategy is to do an on-premise deployment for single customers, as well as to install micro-colo centers in office complexes for a multi-tenant aggregation play. It’s a cost-effective, geographically accessible and flexible technology infrastructure.
“As a smaller business, DartPoints needed a single comprehensive partner that could deliver integrated solutions, services and design expertise appropriate for their needs,” said Hagan. “Schneider Electric’s Data Center Service Provider team brought together all the knowledge and capabilities of our Solutions Architects, project management team, and account managers to deliver a measureable business advantage to DartPoints, in a very competitive market.”