By now, we all understand the term “virtualization” in reference to server environments in the data center, but there are some new “…izations” being thrown around that deserve a closer look.
The terms “standardization,” “modularization” and “industrialization” are some of the recent buzz words being used to describe effective data center design, and often these terms are used interchangeably with little knowledge of what they actually mean and how they work together for effective holistic data center design.
Let’s take a closer look at these three “…izations” of data center design.
Rather than reinventing the wheel every time and deploying unique components from different vendors, it is much more efficient to settle on standardized building blocks for data center cabinets, connectivity and infrastructure.
Even the processes by which these components are procured, deployed, maintained and documented can be streamlined through the use of standardization.
While processes and configurations can be reviewed and adjusted as business and technology needs change, standardized server cabinets using the same cabinet brand and model, cabling media, rack PDUs, patch panels and cable management—all with predetermined mounting locations—can enable ease of budgeting, scalability, fast deployment and reconfigurability.
It also allows for pre-configuring as many components as possible, provides the benefit of having a specialized customer part number with a manufacturer or distributor, and enables modifying or redeploying the cabinet for another purpose.
A modularized data center design is one that is broken down into modules or pods that can be easily added or reconfigured as business requirements evolve.
This allows for “right-sizing” the data center for current needs and a “build as you grow” capability for the future, while lowering capital and operating expenditure.
The beauty of a modular approach is that each module is interchangeable—they can be replaced or altered without impacting the data center as a whole. The key to modularization is planning and sizing the entire data center space with the absolute final design in mind.
In other words, key infrastructure systems (i.e., power and cooling) need to be designed as if all modules are already in place—the modules will need to be supported by these systems with little or no interruption of services as growth occurs.
It’s also important to maximize each module before building out the next. This will allow the facility to operate with maximum energy efficiency.
When we hear the term “industrialization,” most of us think of the industrial revolution and the invention of the assembly line that allowed products to be assembled in a fraction of the time. This same concept of production relates to the data center.
Industrialization brings data center standardization and modularization into an assembly-line concept—instead of custom building each component and system, modules consisting of standardized components are deployed in the exactly the same way each time.
This can hold true for multiple modules or pods within a single data center or across multiple data centers. Designing a data center is a complex endeavor, and applying standardization, modularization and industrialization to as many components and pieces of the data center as possible will ultimately enable adaptability and flexibility, while supporting faster, cost-effective deployment.
Obviously, the pieces can be reviewed and adjusted when technology and business changes occur, but knowing what the components will look like, where they will be deployed and how they will be assembled goes a long way to taking the guesswork out of data center design and makes everything more predictable and repeatable. This ultimately reduces errors, increases productivity and eliminates the unexpected.
Belden Data Center Ready Solutions include a web-based configurator, dedicated engineering and design services, and a broad portfolio of enclosures, cabling, connectivity, cable management, air flow monitoring and management, and rack-level power monitoring and management required to easily create standardized enclosures that are ready to receive active equipment and support modularization and industrialization in a holistic data center design.
Mike Salvador is a 28-year industry veteran, living the challenge of operating efficient data centers, optimizing the performance of network devices and delivering highly available, highly agile, low-risk data centers. Mike served as Belden’s technical solutions manager from 2012 to 2015.