Schneider Electric has launched a new micro data center portfolio for edge computing applications. The micro data center infrastructure portfolio makes it easy and cost effective to add data center capacity in nearby metros as-needed, according to the company. The micro data centers are now available in North America and launching globally later this year.
Prefabricated data centers have been around for a while. There are modular data centers, containerized data centers and now the emergence of micro data centers. Micro data centers are similar in scope to shipping container-based systems but a smaller package focused on a modular row or individual rack that can be remotely managed.
Schneider acquired AST Modular in 2014 to boost its modular data center offerings. Prefabricated data centers have seen a lot of historic adoption in areas where a full data center construction doesn't make sense. One example of this is an AST deployment in Haiti in 2013. Now the company is targeting the wider opportunity presented by the explosion of Internet of Things and data applications, and the need to serve locally. The portfolio isn't meant for remote, hard to reach places, but IT rooms and office environments that want to serve locally. There is also a "rugged" edition meant for atypical locations.
Completely engineered to order, micro data center infrastructure solutions include the physical enclosure, UPS, PDU, cooling, software, environmental monitoring and security all tested, assembled and packaged at a Schneider Electric facility and then shipped together. Called SmartBunker and the multi-rack offering called SmartShelter, they are customizable to specific needs and come in four packages targeting specific situations:
- SmartBunker SX is the traditional package, meant for IT rooms.
- SmartBunker CX is optimized for office environments
- SmartBunker FX is “ruggedized” for any environment
- SmartShelter is similar to SmartBunker FX, but a multi-rack solution.
These standard, repeatable designs provide simplified management, high levels of security, and reliability via standardization and factory testing, according to Schneider Electric.
There is rising data center demand in non-core data center markets, and a rise in edge data center providers targeting these needs. Many secondary and tertiary cities are underserved when it comes to data centers, and this is exacerbated with the growth of content and its need for local delivery. Schneider is attempting to capture some of this demand with its micro data centers, a more mass market version of its other prefab offerings.
Schneider Electric is addressing latency, bandwidth and processing speed challenges customers are facing with the growth of connected devices and data applications, said Dave Johnson, senior vice president, Data Center Solutions, Schneider Electric in a release.
"We are already seeing the emergence of edge applications in retail and industrial applications, and we believe the need for edge computing will only grow as the Internet of Things expands into commercial applications," said Johnson.
Micro data centers are not new, however Schneider has created a standardized, repeatable framework, said David Cappuccio, vice president, distinguished analyst and chief of research for the Infrastructure teams at Gartner.
"Localized or micro data centers are a fact of life, but by applying a self-contained, scalable and remotely managed solution and process, CIOs can reduce costs, improve agility, and introduce new levels of compliance and service continuity,” said Cappuccio in a Gartner report titled "Apply a Self-Contained Solution to Micro Data Centers".