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GreenBay Digest

The Case for Prefabricated Data Centers

If anything that the current Covid-19 pandemic has taught us, the worldwide demand for new data centers will continue to accelerate. As there is an increasing need to design, build, deploy, and operate more complex mission-critical infrastructure, the data center industry is challenged by the lack of talents who are skilled, experienced and properly trained.

Coupled with other issues such as the inability to forecast demand and location, the result is a decline in data center initial quality with increased costs in building works and overall management uncertainty.

Fortunately, the data center industry has been following the lead of the telecom, datacom, and oil and gas industries and building upon their learnings in optimizing building designs for modular and prefabricated construction techniques.

Applying those techniques, along with many industry innovations, these are being deployed at affordable costs and quick delivery without any compromises on quality.

What is a Prefabricated Data Center?

It is a data center that is pre-engineered and has its systems (hardware and software) preassembled, integrated, and tested in a factory environment to shorten deployment timeframe and improve predictability of performance.

What are the benefits?

• Deployment of a data center solution is very fast! You can be up and running in weeks instead of months or years.

• Match business demand by enabling quick scaling of IT technologies, creating a back-up/disaster recovery site, locating your data center closer to end users, reducing real estate and OPEX.

• Integrated subsystems and modular designs can deliver efficiency gains in power and cooling, reducing operating costs.

• Modular designs can enable you to adjust your data center infrastructure as IT needs change.

How do you know it is suitable for you?

• A prefabricated module may be needed only for a specific resource (just power, just cooling, or just IT space) because of stranded capacity in an existing facility

• A greater IT capacity is needed than what an all-in-one module can support, and a single IT space is required (physical space constraint of modules)

• There is a requirement to separate personnel (IT, mechanical, electrical) from a maintenance and operations perspective to reduce human error risks

• An optimized footprint is needed, and function-specific modules can utilize larger capacity components and share clearances to provide a greater kW per square foot or square meter

4 steps in implementing cost-effective green data centers

Driven by the trend towards reducing carbon footprint and managing ever-rising energy costs, green data centers are now much cheaper to construct and implement.

Here’s how we help our clients build a new generation of green data centers which can boost their operating revenues and benefit the planet.

Step 1. Effective construction goals
Together with our client, we determine the construction scale, standards, site selection and phased planning. Important indicators such as usability, power density, and power usage effectiveness (PUE) need to be specified too. Guidelines from Green Building Index (GBI) Malaysia are incorporated.

Step 2. Suitable cooling schemes
Our aim is to bring the heat exchange media as close as possible to the IT equipment, thus improving heat transfer efficiency. We use cooling systems which fully utilize air, surface water, groundwater and other free sources of cooling. In areas with good air quality and humidity, cool air itself can be used directly as a free cooling source.

Step 3. Improve electrical efficiency via clean energy
We minimize the use of power consumption with suitable and reliable products and system architectures. Where possible, we would implement the use of clean and renewable energy such as solar, wind or hydroelectric.

Step 4: Optimize operations and management
We implement an effective routine maintenance help ensure that equipment continues to operate at its best. Data centers must constantly monitor and adjust their policies and parameters based on actual operations. Therefore once a data center is built, our specialists are sent to study, record and adjust operational data to achieve optimal energy consumption within 2 to 3 years.

The growth of cloud computing has set off a new wave of data center construction across the globe, which has resulted in an increase in electricity consumption and carbon emissions. As such, the construction of green energy-efficient data centers is not just a choice that enterprises themselves must make. It is a major social responsibility that enterprises and the industry as a whole must assume. At GreenBay, we help to make the implementation smoother with reliable systems, products and service, while keeping costs down.

Critical Facility Operations vs Traditional Facility Management

Learn three major differences and find out what suits you best.

Think of traditional facility maintenance, such as for an office building, as your local doctor in a nearby clinic. Critical facility operations, on the other hand, is like a trauma surgeon in a hospital ER.

1. Critical facilities operations focuses more than just the basics.
Traditional facilities management focuses on the basics – making sure the lights, heating and cooling are working. Critical facilities operations rigorously adheres to industry best practices. In a critical facility, if various elements aren’t tuned precisely it could mean equipment failure and potential customer downtime, which is unacceptable.

2. Critical facilities operations document EVERYTHING.
For traditional facilities management, documentation and reporting likely comes down to a manual that may be years old, with a list of services performed in the past.In a data center, teams document every little tweak, including who made it and why. This means necessary changes can be done in real time and on the fly to prevent downtime. In addition, critical data center operations teams conduct emergency preparedness drills and have in place detailed emergency response plans to ensure all personnel are aware and competent.

3. When downtime is an inconvenience or a catastrophe.
In terms of financial risk, if the power goes out in an office building, it’s an inconvenience, but not the end of the world.But if power goes out in a data center, downtime can cost enormous sums of money – an average of USD8,850 per minute according to a Ponemon Institute study.

Be vigilant and choose wisely.

Critical facility operations such as those applied to data centers takes a completely different mindset and approach as compared to managing a traditional facility. Know what you need and what suits your organisation best.