Embracing prefabricated modular data centres for scalable growth

By Alex Brew, Regional Director, Northern Europe at Vertiv.

Boosted by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), the digital era is ushering in a new age of technological advancements and unprecedented demand for data processing and storage. In this rapidly evolving landscape, data centres play a pivotal role as the nerve centres of our interconnected world. To meet the evolving needs of hyperscalers, enterprises and digital services, data centres are undergoing a transformative shift towards optimising efficiency and adaptability in both construction and operation.

One key driving force behind this transformation is the widespread adoption of prefabricated modular data centres. These innovative solutions offer a host of benefits, revolutionising the way data centres are designed, built and operated. 

The power of this approach

Prefabricated modular data centres, commonly referred to as PFM data centres or integrated solutions, offer a multitude of advantages that revolutionise the way we approach data centre infrastructure. These benefits extend across various aspects of design, construction, performance, and geographic deployment.

One of the most prominent advantages of PFM data centres lies in their ability to expedite the design and deployment process. This is achieved through a unique prefabrication process, involving the off-site manufacturing and assembly of capacity units. Unlike conventional on-site construction, this approach allows for parallel activities, making it significantly more efficient. As a result, these modular data centres can be designed, tested and made operational in a remarkably shorter time frame compared to traditional construction methods. This rapid design capability is crucial in addressing the pressing need for data centre capacity, especially in the face of unpredictable and growing demand.

Furthermore, the modular nature of these data centres allows for a more agile response to demand. Instead of planning for unforeseen growth, organisations can build capacity to precisely match their current requirements. The modular approach enables them to scale their data centre infrastructure in a modular fashion, effectively aligning capacity with business demand. This minimises the risks associated with either overbuilding or underbuilding, ensuring a more efficient allocation of resources.

Another notable benefit of is the optimisation of component performance within a holistic system. These data centres take an integrated approach, enhancing the performance and efficiency of individual components by tightly integrating various systems, including power, thermal management, and IT components. By designing, configuring, and fabricating these components off-site, they work seamlessly together, contributing to the reliability and overall performance of the data centre.

Quality control is a crucial aspect of data centre construction, and prefabricated data centres excel in this area. The manufacturing and assembly of units in controlled environments result in higher quality controls. This not only increases the reliability of the components but also extends the geographic reach of data centre deployment. Prefabricated units can be transported and assembled in various locations, even in regions where traditional construction methods might face challenges. This flexibility in deployment enhances the adaptability and scalability of prefabricated modular data centres.

Delving into the distinction between standardisation and localisation

While the approach of standardisation is widely recognised for its role in streamlining and enhancing data centre deployment, it is essential to appreciate the subtle yet significant disparities between standardisation and localisation. These two methodologies each bring their own set of considerations and implications to the table.

Standardisation is rooted in the principles of uniformity and consistency. It involves the adoption of pre-established designs, components, and practices that are designed for replication across diverse deployments. Embracing standardisation empowers data centre operators to swiftly deliver a consistent and seamless experience in terms of infrastructure, functionality, and operational procedures. This approach not only facilitates the harmonious integration with existing systems but also paves the way for efficient scalability.

Conversely, localisation places a strong emphasis on customisation and adaptability to meet regional requirements and preferences. This approach is particularly pertinent in regions where regulations exhibit significant variations. It acknowledges that different geographical locations may be subject to distinct building codes, regulations, standards, and environmental considerations that wield a substantial influence over data centre operations.

Unlocking long-term success

So, while there are certainly subtleties to consider, as evidenced by the difference between standardisation and localisation, we can clearly see that as the data centre industry continues to evolve, the benefits of prefabricated modular data centres become increasingly evident. Accelerated deployment timelines, reduced costs, improved operational efficiency, compliance with regional requirements all contribute to the long-term success and establishment of this trend. 

Prefabricated modular data centres have emerged as a powerful solution in the digital age, offering unparalleled benefits for rapid and scalable growth in the data centre industry. By embracing prefabricated modular data centres, or standardised elements of the approach, companies can harness their potential to unlock new opportunities, enable efficient and reliable data processing and storage, and drive economic growth.

By Shahid Rahman, EMEA – Data Centre Strategic Account Lead (Engineered IT Cooling Solutions) at...
As the world adapts to the digital transformation of almost every aspect of everyday life, the data...
The opening of Legrand’s latest Experience Center in Reading, UK, last year is just one of many...
By Ed Ansett, Founder and Chairman, i3 Solutions Group.
The true role of data centres in our digital future is becoming apparent, as environmental and...
Durata Modular Data Centre Solutions operates in a market where there is a growing demand for its...
Andy Connor, EMEA Channel Director at Subzero Engineering, examines the impact AI, blockchain and...
By Phil Burr, Head of Product, Lumai.