For many years, the rack has been the standard unit of measure for data center resources. We talk about physical space in terms of the rack footprint, and energy usage based upon power consumption per rack. IT equipment is described according to the subset of rack space that it occupies.

The rack standard made good sense when data centers were relatively slow to change. It provided a convenient means of organizing various IT services, and calculating space, power and cooling requirements. Knowing the rack’s location and physical and logical dependencies facilitated moves, adds and changes.

As the pace of data center change continues to accelerate, many data center operators have found that reliance on the individual rack as a standard unit of measure results stranded capacity and inefficient use of resources. Organizations need a larger component that incorporates multiple racks and supporting infrastructure to define and subdivide data center white space.

In a previous post we discussed how prefab “pods” can increase data center efficiency. Pods are modular units that typically feature two rows of racks or cabinets in a hot- or cold-aisle configuration, with integrated cooling, power distribution, cable management and security. Pods can be assembled quickly to facilitate rapid rollout of IT services, and help to optimize cooling by focusing chilled air within a confined area. They enable standardization of the data center environment and ready expansion by adding more units.

Pods also offer a new way of thinking about how the data center is organized. Instead of focusing on the individual rack, IT teams can define a new architecture that incorporates multiple racks and cabinets housing all of the equipment related to a particular service or services. The data center infrastructure required to support those racks and cabinets is also included in the modular architecture.

Change management and capacity planning become easier when resources and dependencies are defined at the pod level. Power, cooling, redundancies and operational processes can be varied to meet the specific requirements of the pod, while at the same time yielding greater efficiency than rack-by-rack management. Further economies can be gained by creating a limited number of pod configurations.

While the term “pod” has become synonymous with modular data center infrastructure, the FlexIT product line from Rahi Systems includes three self-contained units:

  • The FlexIT Pod is a fully enclosed, customizable unit with a wide range of options. It can accommodate racks and /or cabinets in various sizes yet uses standard-sized roof and door panels for consistency and ease of installation.
  • The FlexIT Modular Data Center has a flexible design that supports enclosures of various dimensions for network gear, servers and other equipment. The aisle containment and cable management systems accommodate all rack widths.
  • The FlexIT Mini Data Center is a complete facilities infrastructure that can be deployed in any location. It is available in multiple configurations with a variety of power and cooling capacity options.

Does the individual rack still make sense as the basic unit of data center infrastructure? Contact Rahi to learn how you can help increase efficiency, streamline operational processes and optimize your data center resources by organizing multiple racks and other components in self-contained units.

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