Traditionally, deploying a data center isn’t the sort of thing just anyone can handle. It’s an extensive, laborious process, requiring a massive cost investment, a healthy dollop of technical knowledge, and a plethora of rules and regulations to navigate. Small wonder that most organizations tend to shy away from operating their own – and that many of the ones that do usually aren’t the best at it.
But there’s been a trend growing in the data center industry for the past several years: the data-center-in-a-box. Operating out of a unit that looks more like a storage crate or shipping container, these solutions are easy to deploy, easy to spin down, and extremely portable – factors which make them ideal for verticals such as healthcare and the military, both of which often require highly-portable command centers.
In more recent years, however, these modular infrastructure expansions have started to see use in other industries, enough so that you may well be wondering whether they can be of use to your own organization. They certainly do have their advantages, after all – speed and cost are chief among them.
According to one expert, it takes about half as much time to prepare a site for a pod as it does for a traditional data center, and pods can be operated at a fraction of the expense.
So far, it doesn’t seem like there are many drawbacks, does it? Easier operation, easier deployment, lower cost, greater flexibility, and greater portability…these are all very clear, very easily-digested advantages. So what’s the catch?
For one, a lack of customization. Most modular data centers are completely prefabricated – they aren’t purpose-built for a particular vertical or use case. And if you want one that’s pre-built, well…that’ll cost you.
That isn’t the only drawback, either.
“Despite their advantages, modular data centers do not work in all situations,” explains FCW’s Alan Joch. “Beyond concerns about costs, some agencies also fear vendor lock-in. Committing to a particular vendor’s modular solution could reduce choices in terms of the brands and models of internal components, and in terms of who services them if something goes wrong…In addition, CIOs should consider how well a module will work with existing resources.”
So modular data centers, while still an attractive option for many, aren’t exactly the panacea that some vendors would like to pretend they are. Like any solution, they’ve their weaknesses; like any solution, they aren’t for everyone. Your own organization might be better off choosing to collocate their IT infrastructure with a managed host like Rootleveltech – you’ll get all the flexibility and scalability of a modular data center, along with ready access to a team of experts who stand ready 24/7 to address any technical questions or concerns that might arise.
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