The design and build of the traditional data centre is on the cusp of a revolution with the latest developments set to turn the established infrastructure and traditional mindset often applied to this on its head. This is according to colocation data centre provider Aegis Data, in its work with the Open Compute Project (OCP).
The data centre, regardless of whether it’s a colocation provider or an enterprise facility, dedicates a large proportion of its footprint to arguably the most important rooms in any data centre, the rooms that house the UPS, generator and batteries. One of the largest capex and opex costs, as well as space consumers in any site, these rooms have typically been the fundamental failsafe for any functioning data centre. The work of the Open Compute Project, however, is slowly changing the mentality amongst data centre designers.
“Data centres have been designed in more or less the same way for as long as they have been around but this view is now starting to change with the developments from the OCP,” says Greg McCulloch, CEO of Aegis Data. “OCP is driving the way the data centre is conceived by modifying the infrastructure that goes into it and releasing this as open source hardware. Condensing the battery into the server rack for example, reduces the need for a separate room with a centralised UPS system.”
The Open Compute Project, founded by Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Intel and Rackspace, is setting out to change the way data centres are built in the hope that they can become more efficient and cost effective. By releasing its designs as open source, it is hoped that more data centres will begin to take on board the designs and realise the benefits that these can bring. A data centre without a UPS or battery room has significantly more space to expand, or introduce newer technologies to help in the running over the site. But changing over 20 years of designs is not easy.
“Education is key when it comes to the growth of OCP ideas and infrastructure within the data centre. The introduction of guidelines and certification from the OCP board will help significantly to promote the ideas of the project within the data centre community. Changing the entrenched view that UPS and battery rooms and raised floors are no longer necessary is not going to happen overnight. But as more data centres, like Aegis, are designed to be ‘OCP ready’ and the real benefits are realised, the traditional way of doing things won’t be the way forward for much longer,” concludes McCulloch.