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 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.

  • Overhead cabling system

    "We're not reinventing the wheel; we're just using a lot of 'best practice' ideas," Smith said. These ideas are based around just-in-time manufacture of modules, testing and simplification of the build-out and installation process, he added.

    One example is the use of an overhead cabling system, which reduces the complexity of the cooling of a module and eases the teardown and buildup of module segments. The technique used by BladeRoom is increasingly becoming adopted by datacentre owners. In April, Cisco gave details of a new, green datacentre that uses an overhead cabling system, for example.

    "There is an argument in the industry that implementing a computer-accessed floor in this day and age is non-environmentally friendly," James Cribari, director of Cisco's global datacentre program, told ZDNet UK at the time.

    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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