The prefabricated building concept dates back to the early 19th century when London carpenter Henry Manning developed a house for his son to take to Australia. The idea quickly caught on in the British colonies, which lacked the skilled workforce and tools needed to keep up with the burgeoning demand for housing. Anyone could erect one of Manning’s “Portable Colonial Cottages” quickly and easily, with little more than a wrench.
Manning certainly couldn’t have known that his concept would find a place in the 21st-century IT environment. However, modular, prefabricated data centers are increasingly popular, offering a number of business and technology benefits to service providers, enterprises and colocation customers.
Generally known as “pods,” these units are used to compartmentalize a data center into smaller sections, which are easier to cool than one large room. They often use in-row cooling, which is more efficient than traditional computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units because it focuses chilled air on nearby cabinets. Some pods use air-side economizers or perimeter cooling depending upon the nature of the environment. Whatever the type of cooling used, pods increase energy efficiency by about 40 percent, according to BICSI data.
However, a key benefit of pods is the same as for Manning’s cottages — rapid deployment. Pods can be assembled easily, either within an existing data center or in a “greenfield” environment. They incorporate cabinets and racks, power distribution, cabling management, cooling and physical security, creating a consistent, replicable environment that offers predictable performance. And because they can be scaled by simply adding more units, pods make it easier to accommodate data center growth.
The term “pod” has been used to describe a number of different solutions. It’s most commonly associated with a single-aisle, multi-rack enclosure that has built-in hot- or cold-aisle containment. These types of enclosures are often used for lab or testing environments within a data center, to create data center space in an office or warehouse, or to house one customer’s equipment in a colocation facility.
Rahi Systems recently introduced its FlexIT Pod, a fully enclosed, self-contained unit designed to accommodate racks and/or cabinets in various sizes. Fully customizable with a wide range of options, the FlexIT Pod uses standard-sized roof and door panels for consistency and ease of installation.
Unique to the solution is the 900mm chilled-water in-row cooling unit by Enconnex. The 45U, 1200mm-deep unit has the capacity to cool more than 100kW of IT load, depending on the temperature of the chilled water. The unit can also cool efficiently using supply water of up to 73 degrees, eliminating the need for a dedicated chilling plant. It includes nine sets of variable-speed, electronically controlled fans to effectively distribute cold air throughout the pod.
Customers with a need for a larger environment can opt for the FlexIT Modular Data Center, which can be configured with 20 to 40 racks or cabinets in the same pod-like approach. The FlexIT Modular Data Center can support any Enconnex in-row cooling unit, including chilled water, condenser water, and DX air- and water-cooled configurations.
Rahi’s FlexIT product line is designed to provide highly efficient data center infrastructure that can be implemented quickly and cost-efficiently. Contact us to learn how the FlexIT Pod can help you increase data center agility and accelerate the time-to-value of your IT initiatives.