Toshiba is making a full-court press into the market for modular data centers.

The company announced that it has completed testing of an experimental prototype at its research complex in Tokyo and it is now aiming to take the concept global. Toshiba believes it can develop the modular data center offering into a $240 million (20 billion yen) business by 2015.

Toshiba’s modular data centers combine a steel container that houses servers on racks with an attached air conditioning module. The air conditioning module employs an outside-air cooling method, which Toshiba says cuts powers consumption by about 35 percent over traditional methods.   

The containers can contain up to nine racks of 46 servers and employ an uninterruptible power supply system.

Toshiba is entering an increasingly competitive segment of the data center market. Hewlett-Packard has aggressively marketed its Performance Optimized Data Center or POD concept, and rivals IBM and Dell have also introduced variations of the modular data center concept.

Earlier this year IBM teamed up with power systems provider APC on a Portable Modular Data Center offering. The companies are offering an all-in-one container featuring APC’s power and cooling systems, with a preconfigured IBM server infrastructure.

The advantages of modular data centers include a shorter lead time for set up and installation, built-in power and cooling systems, and smaller footprints compared to traditional installations. In some cases, the containers may be stacked.




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