As increasing density, decreasing data footprint, shrinking hardware size, and virtualization continue to drive innovations in the data center industry, modular data centers offer a really creative, flexible way to scale capacity.
While it may not be the be-all and end-all resource, the Wikipedia article on modular data centers provides an easily-approachable introduction to containerized data centers and flexible data centers.
But to take it one step further, I headed over to YouTube both to learn more about the topic and develop a resource list of videos for readers who prefer to watch something, rather than read. So here are some related videos that you need to watch if you’re trying to learn more about how data centers are becoming more modular.
Dell Modular Data Centers
Dell Modular Data Center Tour – Filmed in Longmont, Colorado, the video showcases a 2.5MW capable site with a power module, IT module, evap cooling module, air handler module, mixing module, and control module.
It also shows how the modules adjust depending on three different ambient temperature and humidity scenarios – and how the modules allow for greater power density and improved efficiency by removing the fans from the servers themselves (small-scale fans) and instead using large fans in the air handler.
This video features great walk-throughs and easy-to-follow explanations from Ty Schmitt, Executive Director of and Mark Bailey, Principal Architect for Dell’s Modular Infrastructure team.
It’s the next best thing to be there with them in Longmont. While the final slide does display the Dell logo, “the power to do more” tagline, and the www.dell.com/dcs URL, it misses the opportunity for a more direct call to action (CTA). Surely Dell must know the next step in their buyer’s journey after watching a video like this.
Time Lapse of Dell Modular Data Center Build in Austin – This video shows a time lapse (non-animated) of how Dell turns part of a parking lot into a modular data center.
It starts by showing you the cars being removed, a construction fence going up, the asphalt being stripped away, the soil being re-graded, and the cement foundation being poured.
You also see perimeter fencing added as server racks are inserted into containers, just outside the perimeter fence and then lifted by crane over the fence and lowered onto the cement foundation.
The video shows the containers being lowered onto the concrete foundation by cranes from two different camera angles, just as some of the modules are stacked vertically on each other.
The video concludes with Dell’s logo and the best true CTA seen in this blog post: “Test drive cloud and big data solutions” at Dell.com/solutioncenter.
While it’s debatable whether this is truly the most contextually-relevant CTA from the standpoint of where a decision maker or evaluator is in their buyer’s journey, the video does win “best in class” for actually having a way for hot prospects to raise their hands and take the next step to advanced their consideration and decision making state.
IO.Anywhere® Modular Data Centers
IO.Anywhere® Modular Data Center – The video features computer-animated renderings of how IO approaches modular data center design.
While it only features an instrumental track – no voiceover narration explanation of what you’re seeing – it opens with a pretty clear visual representation of how a modular data center enters a warehouse from a loading dock in what appears to be an empty distribution center or warehouse.
A few moments later, two tractor-trailers appear at the loading docks with IO-branded trailers and generators inside.
Following that, three additional platform trailers come down from the sky, and modules are dropped in a few moments later.
About two-thirds of the way through the video, you’ll see a rack populated with what looks like blade servers flying in like pizza boxes.
As the video wraps up, you see a dashboard showing the status of the air handler unit, as dozens of other containerized data center modules drop into the empty warehouse from the ceiling.
Overall, the video provides an excellent, quick visual introduction to how IO Anywhere works.
But like the Dell Modular Data Center Tour, it has a weak ending – displaying the IO logo and Intelligent Control tagline – again with no CTA telling me what I should do next to continue my buyer’s journey. This seems like a missed opportunity to use a great video asset to accelerate the sales process.
IBM Prefabricated / Portable Modular Data Centers
An Exclusive Coverage of IBM's Prefabricated Modular Data Center – While the outside resembles a standard 40-foot shipping container, it’s only the frame that’s similar to a shipping container – as the shape was chosen to be compatible with all major forms of transportation.
With walls filled with insulated foam, heat penetration from the outside is kept to a minimum. The racks are mounted on rails to make it easier for the technician to access the front or back of the rack –and include flexible hoses to prevent cord tangling.
The video also shows two different rack-mounted cooling systems to compensate for the lack of traditional data center-raised flooring.
While this particular video was filmed in Lagos, Nigeria, IBM Global Technology Services offers the prefabricated modular data center within the USA.
Since this video was filmed by a technology news site, I wouldn’t expect a CTA for something from IBM – unless it was clearly marked as sponsored or an advertorial. But even TechCity could’ve done better – perhaps by just encouraging viewers to subscribe to their YouTube Channel.
IBM Portable Modular Data Center 3D demo – In this video, you’ll see a 3D demonstration of IBM’s portable modular data center (PMDC).
Although it lacks a narration voiceover, there are some captions along the way.
For example, you see where the water supply enters the data center. Then you see tractor trailers delivering containers and cranes lifting the modules onto the data center’s foundation.
A slightly overdone, branding slide keeps repeating throughout the video, leading one to believe that this may have been created modularly as a series of shorter videos and then stitched together.
A segment shows how IBM’s solution works in any environment, from snow to a rainforest.
The animation also shows fire resistance, the services container, and the IT container.
There’s even animation showing a robotic pulley system automatically placing server equipment into a rack.
The video also boasts how a portable modular data center also has a PUE rating (power usage effectiveness) that’s a fraction of what you’d find in a traditional data center, as well as how multiple portable modular data centers can be combined into container parks and even stacked vertically.
The video concludes by dismantling everything built up over eight minutes – presumably to move the data center to a new location.
Once again, however, this video’s conclusion leaves you hanging as the IBM logo displays to the sound of birds, with no CTA telling a viewer what to do next in the buyer’s journey.
Editor's Note (August 11, 2015):
Blog reader Martin van Dop, CEO of EvoSwitch US wrote in to let us know about DataXenter, a builder of modular data centers in the Netherlands and their video: DataXenter - building modular Data Centers.
Not everyone learns best from just reading. Many prefer to watch videos as a learning tool.
In this post, you’ve been introduced to five different videos that will help you learn more about what modular data centers are all about.
What did you find most remarkable about these videos? And how do you currently, or plan to use, modular data centers in your enterprise? Let us know in the Comments box below.
If you're in the data center, mission critical or cloud services industries, or you sell to the data center industry, don't miss our weekly update newsletter -- Data Center Sales & Marketing Institute (DCSMI) Update Newsletter. Get notified about new reports, events, podcasts, and blog posts.