One day when I was four or five years old my dad to took me to the park to fly a kite. He showed me that I had to run to get the kite to start flying and let out the string as I went along so it would go higher and higher. Pretty soon I was ready to try it by myself. My dad held my new kite as I began to run as fast as you can on four-year legs and my kite was quickly air born. As I continued to run I could see my kite surrounded by a clear blue sky. My dad looked on with pride. I yelled out, “look dad it’s flying”. And then I ran into a tree. As my dad dried my tears and removed pieces of bark from my cheek he explained that I should never just take off and run before I had looked around and understood where I was running. I was reminded of this important lesson when I saw George Slessman’s excellent explanation of “The Top Ten Reasons Modular Data Centers are not Containers” on Data Center Knowledge.
In the article George clarifies the differences between pre-fabricated modular data centers and containers. This is valuable information for prospective data center customers. However, he doesn’t mention that due to the non-hardened nature of their design these containerized approaches are not immune to the elements and therefore must be housed within an existing building or have one constructed for them. This is an important bit of information for potential mission critical users to consider, since it can add a large unexpected element of upfront cost or limit the geographic options for their use. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use pre-fabricated modular solutions. It does mean that you should understand everything that is required for their use to ensure that they are able to address your requirements. In other words, make sure that you know where the trees are before you start your project.