Modular data centers and container data centers are two terms that are often used interchangeably. Either because the person using them assumes they are one and the same thing or because there is no perceivable difference in their functions. They basically perform the same function but have distinct features that set them apart. Let’s look at their similarities and differences.
- The two house servers and other data center equipment.
- They are both mobile, and can be moved from one location to another.
- They are easy to set up and provide the same level of efficiency as far as data center operations are concerned.
- They have more or less similar features.
- They are both used as stand alone structures. Initially, only container data centers were designed for use outside a building as they were shelled inside a container. However, more and more companies are building modular data centers that can weather operations outside of a building structure.
- They are very cost-effective, and require less start-up capital than traditional data centers which have to be built from scratch.
The modular data center is a white module space that comes complete with power supply, uninterruptable power supply (UPS) and a water chiller. The chiller is usually attached from the outside. A container data base on the other hand, is a container with heating and cooling components.
Modular data centers can be dismounted and assembled from scratch. It can also be connected to an existing power and cooling connection, should the user decide not to use the in-built heating and cooling mechanism.
The container data center does not give this flexibility, as it is built for stand alone functions. It does not require to be placed in a building and so is not designed to be connected to external heating and cooling systems.
Container data centers are designed to accommodate a specific number of equipment. Modular data centers on the other hand, are designed to accommodate a lot more equipment, since they are firmer and are not limited to a container. Users can stack up equipment when they need to expand without fear of a drop in performance or the module collapsing.
Modular data centers are designed to allow users to build their preferred data center step by step. They can use as few or as many modules as they wish. All they have to do is add extra modules as the need demands. Additionally, they can use tiers of different configurations and power density within the same module. This offers flexibility and the freedom to have the data center that meets a user’s needs, as no two companies have the same data center needs.
Container data centers do not offer this level of adaptability and are in that sense a bit restrictive
Both modular and container data centers are built to higher levels of protection than traditional data centers. They are designed to withstand all conceivable attacks, and have reinforced shells, fire-resistance and bomb-resistance properties.