Inside a datacentre factory

Inside a datacentre factory

Summary: BladeRoom's datacentre factory, located just east of the Welsh border, is where the company assembles, tests and calibrates its datacentre modules, which are shipped to companies around the world


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  • BladeRoom datacentre

    BladeRoom has been in the business of building and selling datacentres for four years, putting to work its expertise gained over 20 years of making self-contained facilities for the healthcare and food sectors. Its containers have helped Capgemini achieve a high level of efficiency with its Merlin datacentre, located in Swindon.

    In March, when ZDNet UK visited the factory — located in Mitcheldean, Gloucestershire — BladeRoom was in the process of assembling modules for datacentres for Australian distributor Metronode. The six facilities, which have a combined 22,000 square feet of space, will be set up in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

    To get an idea of the design process, ZDNet UK followed the path that components take through the factory as they are assembled. The first stage is the assembly of the floor (right) and ceiling (far left) of each module.

    It takes one day for the floor section of a module to be mated with the ceiling module via struts and to have its floor panelled with wood, according to Barnaby Smith, BladeRoom's head of communications.

    Photo credit: Jack Clark

    See more of the datacentre tour on ZDNet UK.

  • BladeRoom modules PUE

    Once the floor and ceiling have been combined (pictured, left), the module is panelled (right) and then modified internally to conform to the design specifications of the buyer.

    Installed BladeRoom modules are all currently reporting power usage effectiveness ratings of between 1.13 and 1.34, the company said. Power usage effectiveness (PUE) expresses the amount of power expended on non-IT services for a datacentre, so a PUE of 1.13 indicates that for every unit of power spent on the servers and IT hardware, an additional .13 units are spent on the cooling, lighting and other supporting infrastructure.

    BladeRoom said a datacentre built with its technology can typically be shipped and installed to the client's site 18 weeks after commissioning. That compares with an industry average of around 78 weeks, it said.

    The company draws on its history of making modular kitchen facilities for events, and orthopaedic operating theatres and clean rooms for temporary deployment, to speed the time it takes to make the modules. "Everything is as slick as possible, like Meccano," Smith said.

    Photo credit: Jack Clark

    See more of the datacentre tour on ZDNet UK.

  • BladeRoom UK manufacturers

    To make efficient use of space while building out the inner electronics and cabling of a module, BladeRoom sometimes stacks two modules on top of one another (pictured).

    The module's innards are fitted with fire suppression systems, wiring, buses and lighting.

    The Forest of Dean factory puts the modules together from a range of pre-built components, supplied by around 20 companies. According to BladeRoom, 80 percent of the materials that come to the factory are sourced from UK manufacturers.

    Photo credit: Jack Clark

    See more of the datacentre tour on ZDNet UK.

Topics: Datacentre Tour, Networking

Jack Clark

About Jack Clark

Currently a reporter for ZDNet UK, I previously worked as a technology researcher and reporter for a London-based news agency.

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