HP has taken a page from Henry Fords book by applying an assembly line approach towards manufacturing and selling data centers.
HP (NYSE: HPQ) today introduced HP FlexDC, a modular approach to building prefabricated data centers that the company claims cuts costs by as much as 50 percent, saves power and reduces the time it takes to get a new data center up and running.
Offered through HPs Critical Facilities Services, FlexDC is essentially an a la carte menu for designing greenfield data centers. FlexDC is based on a butterfly design consisting of four prefabricated data center quadrants that center on an administrative section. Each quadrant measures roughly 6,000 square feet and additional sections can be added as power and space requirements grow.
Peter Gross, vice president and general manager, HP Critical Facilities Services, said FlexDC can cut the overall cost of constructing a data center in half.
We construct these modules at the factory and ship them to the site for assembly. Much like Lego blocks, these components are pre-packaged and each quadrant is designed to support about 3.2 megawatts (MW) of critical power, said Gross.
The main components of a FlexDC data center include a pre-fabricated metal building, a power module and a cooling module.
Customers select the type of cooling, electrical distribution and levels of redundancy and can populate the physical space with IT systems from any vendor, although HP wouldnt mind selling you their own.
Someone who wants to build a new data center will have the option to use storage [or other infrastructure components] from whichever vendor they choose, whether its HP storage or EMC storage, it doesnt matter, said Gross. We will offer similar modular components on the technology side cabinets, racks and IT systems as we do on the data center side.
Gross said HP can build data centers in months rather than years. Todays data centers are being built the same way they were 30 years ago. They are very customized and it is difficult to control costs and the overall process.
Pricing for a FlexDC data center varies widely, but according to Gross, an average 3 MW data center a median number for an enterprise data center will cost approximately $21 million. Compare that to the average cost of about $51 million for a traditional data center and HP is betting the FlexDC prefab approach will resonate with customers.
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