Colt Launches Pre-Fabricated Data Centres


Order a new modular data centre, and Colt says it will ship it to you – in sections – within four months

Service provider Colt says if you order a new data centre, it can ship a green efficient one to you, in sections, within four months.

The company’s Modular Data Centres come in units of 500m2, which are themselves put together from around a dozen separate sections which can be shipped on lorries, either to the customer’s premises or a Colt managed data centre site. They have a target PUE efficiency score of 1.2, around the level of best practice in data centre building today.

Ordering data centres by the yard

The pre-fab data centres, including all power and cooling, are built and tested in a Colt site in the North of England, and then transported by road to its final location. They can then be altered or extended.

Details are on Colt’s site.

Given the current level of hype around cloud services, the need for more data centre space might not be obvious, but customers still face a heavy demand for capacity said Akber Jaffer, a general manager at Colt Data Centre Services (Colt DCS), a newly formed division of Colt, in an interview with eWEEK Europe.

“Customer’s capacity requirement is ever increasing but they need to get power consumption down,”said Jaffer. By comparison with shared services or space in shared data centres, these units have dedicated cooling and power protection, he said, pointing out that Colt also offers cloud services.

The concept is very different from the so-called “mobile data centre” idea which provides temporary IT resources inside a conventional shipping container – with a floor space of roughly 30m2. Computer vendors shipping these include IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Cisco, explained Jaffer: “Containers have a role to play at temporary events. We are building these for customers with increasing IT estates but who face capacity constraints.”

The units include power distribution, back-up generation uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and room-cooling. They are intended to have a PUE (power usage effectiveness) – the power consumed, divided by that delivered to the servers – of 1.2, but this would depend on the local weather conditions, as the data centres rely on air cooling as far as possible.

The data centres will be deployed at customer sites and at Colt locations, said Jaffer: “Customers want a mix, depending on network latency and other factors”. If they are deployed at customer sites, it is up to the customer to get appropriate planning permission and make sure there is enough power for the unit.

Given that the modules are made in England, they will be deployed on a fairly limited area at first, though Colt has set aside space at one of its Paris data centres to hold modules. If the idea is a success, Colt plans to offer it in other countries, and add a site in mainland Europe to make more modules, said Jaffer.

Colt has 19 data centres, and has been providing data centre services for fifteen years. It recently announced it had bought the freehold of its London 3 data centre site, and will increase its capacity at the site from 4,500m2 to more than 10,500m2.

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