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Modular Magic: How a non-traditional modular data centre can bring you significant savings

Adil Attlassy, Chief Development Officer, IO | May 17, 2016
Data centres have been quite misunderstood. Most people think they’re just ‘server boxes’ and while that definition may be true on a very basic level, it’s these ‘boxes’ that drive the modern economy.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Data centres have been quite misunderstood. Most people think they're just 'server boxes' and while that definition may be true on a very basic level, it's these 'boxes' that drive the modern economy.

Ninety percent of all collective information created in the past decade lives on the Internet. The storage and exchange of information through the web is made possible by data centres. Governments, enterprises, and consumers around the world have a vital dependence on computer systems, software and networks, and data centres to keep their countries, businesses, and everyday lives running.

There is a challenge to this reliance on technology - to keep systems, software and data centres operational requires incredible amounts of energy. This is especially true in a country like Singapore, which has a tropical climate and high humidity levels that contribute to the already-high energy footprints generated by data centres and systems.  

Based on Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore's ("IDA") estimates, the 10 largest data centre operators in Singapore use the same amount of energy as 130,000 typical Housing and Development Board ("HDB") households, a figure that is bound to rise as the data centre base continues to grow in the Republic. As such, in a press release announcing the launch of the Green Data Centre Innovation Programme (GDCIP), IDA pointed out that data centre operators need to consider emerging technologies to improve energy efficiency.

At IO, we have identified a way to help our customers reduce their energy footprint by providing technology in our colocation data centres that allows for a Power Usage Effectiveness ("PUE") level that is lower than our competitors.

Lower PUE - why does it matter?A data centre typically has three key components - energy, water, and information. One component captures and transmits energy to the data centre. The second component is the data centre itself which is responsible for power conditioning, cooling, security and other support systems. And finally, the customer's IT system that is housed within the data centre is responsible for turning energy into information.

At IO, we tested a theory that suggested that data centre design could play a part in increasing energy efficiency and saving costs by comparing the energy usage between a modular data centre and a traditional raised floor data centre over a one-year period. To ensure fair comparisons between the two, both data centre environments were tested within the same geography. This meant that the weather conditions faced by the building's cooling system which housed both environments were identical. The two environments also shared the same chiller plant, which is used to cool the water used in the data centre.


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