The industry is rapidly embracing a modular approach to data center infrastructure. The expectation is this trend would accelerate as customers are moving their principal computing to either Cloud infrastructures with satellite nodes or deploying smaller – usually multiple and distributed – captive Modular Data Centers (MDCs). The market growth of MDCs is accelerating with greater adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) and Edge Computing (satellite nodes) is becoming a necessity.

Modular Data Centers were initially conceived in the early part of this century as a low capex, time-saving and flexible option to the traditional custom ground-up build of data center taking months of construction and electrical and mechanical fittings before becoming operational. After over a decade, and the rise of IoT, the value proposition of MDC has evolved to a rapid deployment of Edge Data Center.

What is a Modular Data Center?

The first characteristic of MDC is Portability. From the MDC manufacturer to the customer site as well as between sites. If computing needs change from Location A to Location B, the MDC can be relocated and commissioned within hours.

The second characteristic is Modularity. Built with high degree of standardized components for power, cooling, safety and access security, the MDC can be shipped as single rack, single row or multiple rows.  Modules of racks and rows can be added as computing needs grow.

Lastly, all the critical infrastructure components (power, cooling, safety, access security), come as a Converged Unit for a Rack or a Row of Racks, unlike the discrete elements of a traditional data center.

Once shipped at customer site, it’s virtually plug-and-play. All that the customer needs to add are the IT infrastructure within the available U-space of the Racks.

So, what’s missing? The monitoring piece of the converged infrastructure. Even in MDC, one needs to ensure that actual power load on rack is within rated capacity, the heat levels are within safety limits and there is appropriate load balancing within the redundant UPS units.

Rack Management System

Having full-fledged DCIM for a single or dual rack Modular Data Center would be an overkill for monitoring the critical infrastructure components of the MDC. Hence, a purpose-built Rack Management System is designed for them, which can be viewed as subset of a fuller DCIM. The Rack Management System monitors and sends alerts for the critical infrastructure devices shipped with the MDC: UPS, Cooling Unit, iPDUs, temp/humidity sensors, fire alarm system, water leak detection probe, CCTV and Access Control System. As standardization and converged infrastructure are key attributes of MDC, most MDC manufacturers are including and shipping Rack Management System as part of the converged infrastructure of their Modular Data Center offering.

Please take a moment to read about GFS Crane Rack Management System.