Photos: Inside Rittal's containerised data centre

The second-generation enclosure at CeBIT 2012.

By James Hutchinson on May 25, 2012
1 of 19
The second generation of Rittal's containerised data centres sees the German company ditch the standard shipping container form factor in favour of custom builds that allow companies to order 6 or 12-metre-long facilities that can be bolted together.
The facilities are aimed at the modular data centre market, one that Rittal says is growing but concedes remains "niche". It delivered a modular facility to New Zealand energy company Orion last year after the Christchurch earthquakes, and is planning to deliver an 18-metre-long facility - 6-metre and 12-metre modules bolted together - to the WA Department of Mining and Petroleum later this year to be used as a disaster recovery facility in Perth.
The core sales point for Rittal's second generation data centres is the ambient cooling method, which Rittal business development manager Mark Roberts said could be used over compressed cooling for the vast majority of time in Australia's capital cities. A solutions engineer for the company, however, said the cooling method would largely be inefficient and unavailable for use north of Byron Bay.
A version of the facility has also been deployed at a jungle-surrounded gold mine in Indonesia.
According to a Rittal solutions engineer, the ducts providing water, power and data access to the data centres are built to oil rig standard, ensuring dust and water don't get in.
Inside Rittal's containerised data centre.
The bespoke build means the data centres are slightly bigger than the standard shipping container, allowing for racks of up to 1200mm in depth and a raised floor architecture.
Standard shipping container form factors are still available from Rittal, but are sold as a "very niche" product. Roberts said the company was not trying to "shoehorn a data centre into a container".
Inside Rittal's modular data centre.
The company claims the facilities can reach a power usage effectiveness rating of 1.2, and are designed for an average five to seven kilowatts per rack.
Inside Rittal's containerised data centre.
A UPS option available for the containerised data centre.
Rittal is also pushing the custom container form factor as more fire-proof than their shipping container equivalents. The company offers standard 30-minute fire-proofing, upgradeable to a 90-minute standard.
Fire-proofing inside Rittal's containerised data centre.
Just in case you don't see the flashing yellow sign on the wall.
Rack mounts inside Rittal's containerised data centre.
Aisle inside Rittal's containerised data centre.
Sub-floor cabling beneath an empty rack in Rittal's containerised data centre. The raised floor is core to the ambient cooling method implemented by the company.
Inside Rittal's containerised data centre.

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