2 of 5Image
HP has set up two assembly-line facilities for its container-based datacentre systems in Houston, Texas, and in Erskine, Scotland.
The Pod-Works datacentre design, build and modification facilities, announced on Tuesday, can put together a Performance Optimised Datacentre (Pod) in six weeks from order to completion, according to Eva Beck, HP's business manager for scalable computing infrastructure. That time frame compares with a year or more to construct a traditional datacentre.
Photo credit: HP
The US facility is capable of fitting up to 15,000 servers at once and has 18,000 square metres of floor space. Given those parameters, it can theoretically work on between 14 and 30 custom Pods at one time, as the 20-foot model holds up to 500 and a 40-foot model holds up to 1,100. The facility has a 3.2MW power infrastructure, so that multiple server clusters can be configured in multiple containers at once.
The Pods, launched by HP in 2008, have an average power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.25. However, this figure is based on testing conducted in the warm environs of Houston, Beck told ZDNet UK. That means the PUE could fall if the Pods are deployed in a cooler environment.
A Pod's external requirements are power and water. HP is happy to put in "whatever hardware equipment that fits into a 19-inch rack", Beck said.
Photo credit: HP
HP's Pod architect Wade Vinson suggested in a video presentation that customers are now less likely to want expensive custom shells for their facility, such as the one pictured behind him. Instead, they are more likely to want a containerised, modular solution that allows them to scale out efficiently, he said.
One example of this is the US government, which recently commissioned a containerised datacentre guidebook as a part of its review of ways to tackle and reduce its sprawling 1,100-strong datacentre estate.
Beck said the customers keen on the containerised Pods are those involved in industries such as oil and gas, where data and processing equipment is deployed "in very weird locations where you don't have any infrastructure".
However, Beck admitted that finance was one of the few sectors that show little to no interest in a highly modular containerised solution like the Pod.