Lawyer Bait

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Data Center Containers - a black licorice product?

I sincerely hope Tier 1 does a Data Center Transformation Summit twice a year. The one I was at yesterday was excellent and was topped off by dinner with the rock stars over at Horizon Data Center Solutions in Reston, VA. Then this morning our press release hit the wires which was great to wake up to.

One theme I saw again and again was people either 'get' containers or they dont. Chris Crosby over at Digital Realty Trust doesn't like them. Nor does the CTO at Equinix, Dave Pickut. Chris had a presentation that was full of inconsistencies that I will attribute to DLR being a REIT vs. a data center owner/operator. REITs view the container as competition - it's not real estate so they're not interested because they can't sell it. Given Mike Manos' move over there and his work in deploying containers for Microsoft makes me wonder if DLR will shed its REIT status and broaden its offerings. Nah. A REIT is a REIT and they have a lot of customers who rely on them for space.

Equinix (and others) don't like them, I believe, for two reasons -

1. They house high density equipment, up to 27 Kw per cabinet. The standard is 4.8 Kw, which means you need to allocate more floor space for air flow and that's floor space you cant sell to the 4.8 Kw cabinet customers.

2. The data centers they are in can't support them from a deployment perspective. Something new they can't support.

Here is why I believe they cannot ignore the data center container (DCC) market - the efficiency is unprecedented for the draw, the footprint, and the cost. You will save $6,000 per cabinet per year putting it in a container on the PUE gains alone (Power Utilization Efficiency). When all you need is a 600 AMP feed and a 4" water pipe connected to a water source of 65 degress, you're done.

So what's holding the proliferation back?

Basically 18 months ago before the economy really tanked, companies refreshed a lot of servers and other IT gear. They bought a lot of VMWare, and stood up a lot of new stuff. New stuff that was leased. On a 36 month lease. We are 18 or so months into a lease cycle for a lot of companies that have their hands tied and can't move to a DCC if they wanted to.

So what I see starting to happen is that companies are giving DCCs a look because bonuses are being tied to reducing carbon emissions, consuption, and doing more with renewable energy sources. DCC's will give them a healthy bonus. That tied with being able to lease extreme density gear self contained and from PO to plug in of 10 weeks tops - look out.

So right now the DCC's are a black licorice product - you either love em or you hate 'em. I believe more people will be loving them in the next 18-24 months because it's green ($) for them to do it.

1 comment:

  1. If it came across as a statement against containers, then my apologies. That part of the presentation was highlighting the risk of mixing asset classes. From a distribued application perspective with a tightly coupled hardware and software layer, the container makes complete sense. I don't really understand the comment that we don't "support" containers. We have a whole lot of them in our facilities. My point is that you better understand the "stack" before you make a 2-5 year decision on an asset class that has a 20-30 year life. I should have used a different example obviously. Something like rackbased cooling units perhaps?
    - Chris


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