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w ill the demand for human-interaction apps help relaunch modularized or micro data centers? e increasing demand for these apps has IT professionals considering smaller data center spaces distributed over more locations closer to their customers, opening the door to modular or micro data centers. e data center in a box is a unique product that garnered unfair comparisons with traditional brick-and-mortar facilities. e niche container or modular market played to some buyers who were in need of a quick data center fix. Speed and ability to locate these modules almost anywhere were big selling points, but relative to a traditional data center building with the accep- tance of a traditional 6- to 12-month delivery made the modular option a difficult sell. e financial return and, most importantly, the space achieved was a no brainer for the traditional real-estate play. Today's data center market, however, is evolving along with the apps that are driving change and demand. e modular or micro data center may finally be getting the opportunity to show off its unique ability to cater to human-interaction apps, such as social media, mobile and others that are increasingly in demand. Modular data centers are prefabricated facilities with cool- ing, power and—best of all—rapid deployment and operation. e modified shipping container has been the classic model and is still in use, but the market has grown to more of a prefabri- cated specialty box that comes equipped with everything from IT to power and cooling. ese data centers also come in more forms than just a shipping-size container. ey can be delivered in a module the size of a filing cabinet and rolled into a suitable office space, whose only requirement is access to power and data connectivity. e number of racks in each module or micro data center can vary in density from 1kW to 100kW of IT load. Why are local decenTralized daTa cenTers needed? Latency-sensitive human-interaction apps will need hous- ing in servers that are local to their consumers. e result will be demand to move away from the large, central data center to a more distributed model similar to a cloud node, where the vir- tual machines that process low-latency applications are close to users—for example, in repurposed telephone exchanges or along multiple fiber-carrier routes that providers can tap into. Latency will be a growing concern for many as IP traffic continues to increase. Network hogs such as video and video- dependent apps will continue to drive IP-traffic demand for years to come. A number of sources including Statista, a statistics membership portal, and Cisco, a manufacturer and service pro- vider of network equipment, each claim that IP traffic is on the rise. According to Statista, "In 2020, global consumer IP traffic is expected to reach 162,209 petabytes per month at a 23 percent compound annual growth rate." In a recently published report, Cisco notes that "IP traffic will surpass the zettabyte (ZB; 1000 exabytes [EB]) threshold in 2016, and will reach 2.3 ZB by 2020. Global IP traffic will reach 1.1 ZB per year or 88.7 EB (one billion gigabytes [GB]) per month in 2016. By 2020, global IP traffic will reach 2.3 ZB per year, or 194 EB per month." e rising demand for IP transit will certainly place a strain on network and IT engineers, but some solutions require network hardware investment and the promise of the imminent 5G. How do IT departments deal with the demand today? One simple method is to place apps that require low latency closer to users through local fiber rings. How is this feat accomplished? Micro data centers the size of a cabinet allow organizations to quickly deploy in existing facilities that already have power and cooling. What these facilities need is a closet-size room that has access to power, connectivity and cooling. Such a solution may sound familiar to many in IT who saw the decentralizing phase of computing, when servers were installed wherever space was available. e ability to quickly deploy a micro data center can help to defray costs, such as expensive hardware. Clearly this effort involves much more, but the end result is fast and cheaper. e larger micro or modular data center does require a bit more investment. For starters, it requires space on an existing property that has access to power and connectivity. Depending on the density of the servers to be deployed, these modular data centers can reach up to 1 MW of capacity. e installation of a modular data center will require a bit more planning and capital, but the rapid deployment and ability to relocate are some of the reasons why it can be a good option. Working with a real-estate and design consultant is recommended for this type of facility. Is a micro data center for every application? Clearly, no. e industry will cater to its technological demands and limita- tions by comparing this option with the various data center alternatives, which include colocation. e desire to rapidly deliver human-interaction apps will create a demand for more- decentralized micro locations rather than centralized macro data centers. Will the day come when modular data centers are scat- tered across the landscape like cell towers and their equipment? Demand and time will tell. n A New Demand for Modular (Micro) Data Centers By BoB decouffle THE DATA CENTER JOURNAL | 7

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