They are an alternative to containerized data centers, which cram IT equipment into a shipping container and are another option for expanding data center capacity quickly.
Godrich said the Flexible Data Center has a PUE (power usage effectiveness) rating of 1.2. It's a measure of how much power supplied to a data center actually reaches the IT equipment, and any rating lower than about 1.5 is considered highly efficient. Most existing data centers have an average PUE of about 2.0.
HP achieves the low PUE with some novel options for power and cooling. Unlike traditional data centers there's no raised concrete floor to circulate cold air, which adds to construction costs, and there is no chiller, normally a big part of the mechanical cooling infrastructure.
Instead, HP offers several container-based options for power and cooling that attach to the outside of each data center hall. They include evaporative cooling systems, and an air handler from vendor KyotoCooling. It says it will work with customers to figure out the best option for their local environment.
"The power and cooling modules connect directly to the data center quadrant so there is no piping or heavy installation work; we're trying with all of this to minimize labor costs at the site," Godrich said.
"There's no raised floor, we just push air into the volume of the quadrant, using a hot-aisle configuration, and take it back out through the ceiling and back to the cooling unit."
Each quadrant can support 800 kilowatts of server equipment, and the structures are intended to last for 15 years, much like a traditional data center. 'These are not temporary," Goodrich said.