The idea of modular data center builds has been around for several years. One definition is the concept of modular design via the use of prefabricated, containerized POD solutions allowing data center operators to expand more rapidly than through traditional engineering design approaches. With PODs, best practices related to power, space, and cooling can be leveraged repeatedly. Each time additional rows of racks are needed, another POD can be deployed.
Another approach to modularity is to build free-standing data centers in a modular fashion. In this design approach, engineers build out a data center or computer room with necessary supporting infrastructure (mechanical and electrical rooms) to provide required, redundant power and cooling for the data center plus future adjacent data center space. This allows the data center operator to commission one room first and add a second room without having to start from scratch for the supporting infrastructure.
However, as with anything else, a modular data center design approach has its advantages and disadvantages. Thus, tread lightly and do your homework if you are considering a modular design for your next data center build, or just to supplement your space for growth.