Comparing costs of prefab data centres with traditional build


SchneiderElectric has introduced a Prefabricated vs Traditional Data Centre Cost Calculator, providing users with a cost analysis for considering the optimum approach to deploying new IT infrastructure capacity and delivering key insights into procurement decisions.

The digital TradeOff Tool, designed by Schneider Electric’s Data Centre Science Centre, allows decision makers to investigate whether a prefabricated, or traditional approach to deploying new data centre infrastructure is the most appropriate, based on both the IT requirements and demands of the business. Users can also examine the effects of a combined approach, utilising prefabricated modules for only one, or some of the elements.

Rapid deployment, flexibility and scalability

Today’s speed of business demands data centre infrastructure which can meet the need for rapid deployment, flexibility and scalability. Although not new, prefabricated data centres are a disruptive technology, transforming the way customers design and build data centres. By removing time and cost from facility construction and upgrades, prefab enables the industry to address the unpredictable nature of growth and technological advance through predictable data centre performance.

Schneider Electric claims that its EcoStruxure Ready Prefabricated Data Centres offer significant advantages over traditional builds. They comprise pre-engineered, pre-assembled and pre-tested physical infrastructure systems, delivered as standardised modules direct to the customer site in as little as 12 weeks.

The choice of prefab can encompass one or all of the key data centre functions including IT racks, cooling, uninterruptible power supplies, distribution and switchgear. In many cases the sizes range from small single rack-sized edge computing solutions, to data hall-sized prefabricated infrastructure modules.

When deciding how to add capacity to existing infrastructure operators have several choices, including whether to refurbish and upgrade an existing plant, build a new facility or deploy a completely prefabricated data centre.

The key cost considerations are the cooling architecture, rack density, module placement and choice to build or lease the property. The Schneider Electric Prefabricated vs Traditional Data Centre Cost Calculator uses pricing information from a number of internal and external sources, including third-party equipment suppliers and government labour statistics, to provide rough cost comparisons between each approach.

Additionally, the TradeOff Tool uses trending data to devise multipliers and estimate the effects of increasing rack density, capacity and redundancy. It calculates a summary of the capital expenditure (CAPEX) incurred via user input options and demonstrates the percentage difference. Bar charts provide a graphical overview of the equipment, design/installation and space/building costs for each approach.

“Depending on the customer requirements, there are, of course, a number of advantages and disadvantages to each approach,” said Wendy Torell, Senior Research Analyst at Schneider Electric’s Data Centre Science Centre. “With its introduction of the Prefabricated vs Traditional Data Centre Cost Calculator, Schneider Electric has simplified the task, allowing IT Professionals to model the financial implications of various deployment strategies that are accurate to within 20% or so of the costs that might be expected by choosing prefab.”

The Prefabricated vs Traditional Data Centre Cost Calculator is available at the Schneider Electric website by clicking here.


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