CIOs, Cost and the Data Center – Part 2: Operations and Continuity

IO New Jersey Colocation Data Center

This is Part 2 of our two-part series on the costs and benefits of modular v. traditional across the data center lifecycle. Here, we explore  the operations and redeployment & decommissioning phases of the lifecycle.  To read about costs and benefits in the planning & preparation and deployment phases, check out CIOs, Costs and the Data Center – Part 1: From Site Planning to Deployment.

In a recently released report on the cost of modular v. traditional data centers, DCD Intelligence confirmed that modular data centers are overall more cost-effective than traditional data centers. Cost savings owe in part to the usual suspects, like faster time-to-market and greater energy efficiency associated with the modular data center.

But cost savings and benefits arise in other phases of the data center lifecycle too – from concurrent maintenance operations and automated re-provisioning, for example.  If these later phases are not assessed, then CIOs will not be able to make truly educated decisions.

Operations: Energy, Maintenance, Staffing, and Security

In its recently published report, Assessing the Cost: Modular versus Traditional BuildDCD Intelligence confirms that costs are lower and benefits higher for modular data centers in the operations phase of the lifecycle. That’s due in part to the modular data center’s greater energy efficiency – what the report calls “one of the biggest motivations” behind CIOs’ decision to go modular. Energy efficiencies are the result of the optimized and standardized design of the modular data center, and a more efficient approach to cooling.

Modular Data Center Energy Cost Savings: at least 18.5%[1]

In addition to greater energy efficiency, the modular data center offers “several further potential benefits” within the operations phase of the lifecycle, including: reduced complexity (making modules easier to deploy, maintain and decommission) and improved reliability, with “standardised factory-tested modules offering operators greater opportunities to predict data centre and overall business performance.” It stands to reason, then, that squeezing out further inefficiencies in the power supply chain would reduce energy costs even further.

Two other significant operational advantages associated with IO.Anywhere® modules in particular are:

1)      Concurrent maintenance with hot-swappable, in-place upgradeable components, which means you don’t have to take part of the data center offline to do maintenance or to re-provision the servers (and that’s significant cost avoidance)

2)      Automated re-provisioning with the data center operating system IO.OS®, which can be a tremendous benefit – as DCD Intelligence notes, it “reduces and, in some situations, could eliminate the need to decommission a facility.”

Decommissioning and Redeployment

Thanks to the ultra-mobility of the modular data center, redeployment to any other location in the world is relatively easy; certainly far easier than with a traditional data center, where many of the costs are sunk into the construction of the immobile facility. Furthermore, decommissioning a traditional data center involves relatively more complex, costly activities, including dismantling physical assets; compared to decommissioning a modular data center, which can be removed as an integrated unit.

Data Center 2.0 – the software-defined, modular data center – offers cost savings and other benefits far beyond the usual energy and time-to-market savings (a fact borne out by DCD Intelligence research). So CIOs not assessing the costs and benefits of modular v. traditional across the entire lifecycle of the data center are likely missing important metrics.

Across the entire lifecycle, Data Center 2.0 represents a fundamental shift in the way data centers are designed, engineered, deployed, and provisioned. Doesn’t it make sense, then, to make data center decisions based on an analysis of the costs and benefits across the entire lifecycle of the data center?   In each phase, modular makes  a solid business case.

[1] Source: DCD Intelligence