In the world of computer hardware, having your product designated a "commodity" often was, at best, synonymous with "boring" and "mundane"; two qualities that few hi-tech firms wanted associated with their product lines. But in The Greed Grid's new report, they make a case that the efficiencies of production that often define commodity hardware go a long way to improving the overall lifecycle energy efficiencies datacenters that use modular hardware architectures.
TGG uses the pre-manufactured shed business as an example that most people can relate to; the lower cost and simplicity of implementation when you compare building a shed on your own in the backyard to having a pre-built unit just dropped off from the manufacturer. The manufacturing economies of scale, from the cost of tools to materials, makes for a very clear economic case for most shed users. While this is not a direct correlation with modular datacenters, it's a very easy to understand analogy.
Using the term containerized/modular data center facility (CMDF) ,TGG makes the case that the building block methodology of building datacenter facilities, using three different module definitions, used to define the core facilities areas, may be the simplest way to address many of the issues that plague the construction of traditional brick and mortar datacenters. The three module area definitions break down as:
Payload/data hall - where the IT load equipment and networking equipment reside
Infrastructure area - Power and cooling
Ancillary area -The "overhead"; places where business is done, basic facility requirements (bathrooms, etc.), storage stockrooms, etc.
The TGG report draws many of the same conclusions that the vendors of modular datacenter equipment; modularity improves business flexibility, and reduces cost. Whether or not you can make it apply to your business model is another story.