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Modular Data Centre Installation for Nottingham Trent University

28th, July 2014

Nottingham Trent University deploys Modular Data Centre Technology (MDC) Designed & Manufactured by Workspace Technology.

As part of an ongoing investment strategy at Nottingham Trent University, buildings located at the Clifton campus were due for imminent demolition. As a direct result, a replacement secondary data centre was required urgently. As part of University’s green commitment it was essential that any replacement data centre would have industry leading energy efficiency credentials.

The Clifton campus whilst large had no suitable capacity to construct the replacement secondary data centre within existing building infrastructure. With a large campus supporting many open spaces, the deployment of self-contained ‘modular data centre’ was the obvious solution to the University’s impending dilemma.

By combining industry leading and innovative Freecool® direct evaporative free air cooling with our proven expertise of designing and deploying modular, mobile data centre systems, Workspace Technology was able to provide an ideal solution for the University.

Modular Data Centre Overview

Workspace Technology’s Modular Data Centre (MDC) system directly met the demands required for the University’s secondary data centre project. Workspace Technology’s Modular Data Centre offering provides clients with complete flexibility, delivering a scalable approach to data centre planning and design, eliminating the need for traditional bricks and mortar buildings.

The scalable approach offered by Workspace Technology’s Modular Data Centre solution helped reduce the time to deploy the project to weeks instead of many months associated with a traditional infrastructure alternatives and helped align the University’s costs more closely to its compute deployments.

Typically, a Modular Data Centre will reduce overall capital expenditure compared to a traditional large scale data centre by over 40%.

Benefits of Workspace Technology’s Proposed Modular Data Centre Solution for the University include:

  • Reduced Capital Outlay
  • Rapid System Deployment
  • Scalable Alternative to Traditionally Constructed Facility
  • Pre Engineered Technology
  • Agile Future Proofed Design to Meet the Increasing Demands of Compute Technology
  • Creates a Green Data Centre Environment

Workspace Technology’s Modular Data Centre solution was delivered to the University with a ‘Server Ready’ pre-engineered and wired ready for instant deployment of servers. The MDC is self-contained and delivered to site complete with cabinets, cooling, UPS and power distribution. Just like Workspace Technology’s conventional bricks and mortar data centres, the MDC is based on Workspace Technology’s ‘EcoDesign’ strategy designed to reduce carbon emissions through design and technology.

MDC Configuration

Workspace Technology’s MDC pod forms the fundamental building block for modular data centre deployments. Workspace Technology’s Modular Data Centre architecture allows MDC pods to be pre-engineered, tested and commissioned prior to delivery with commissioning on site. The modular building block approach helps simplify the ability of a businesses to expand its data centre capacity.

Unlike containerised data centre solutions which are based on standard 2.4m wide containers, Workspace Technology’s Modular Data Centre platform is built with widths starting from 3.0m. The design enables unrestricted and flexible front and rear equipment rack access. Workspace Technology delivered a dual H shaped pod for Nottingham Trent University consisting of two standard 12m L x 3.5m W x 3m H MDC housings with link corridor, each configured to support 12 equipment racks providing the University with capacity to support 24 equipment racks.

Whilst Workspace Technology’s MDC system can be configured with a range of cooling technology in line with the University’s preference for high efficiency Freecool® evaporative free air cooling was selected. When combined with evaporative free air cooling, Workspace Technology’s Modular Data Centre pods are designed to support Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE3) ratings of <1.1 significantly exceeding current industry expectations.


Workspace Technology is a recognised industry leader in data centre direct fresh air cooling deployments. Freecool® was the natural technology to support the University’s green credentials.

Freecool® Evaporative Free Air Cooling by Workspace Technology delivers innovative low energy cooling for a range of applications including data centre environments. Freecool® installations are designed and built from scalable standardised modules, the University’s MDC solution was designed to support a maximum critical load of 60kW N+1 with a deployment of four 30kW Freecool® units.

Schneider Electric Elite Data Centre Partner

The Modular Data Centre system was delivered complete with high quality high performance rack, power, and management systems manufactured by Schneider Electric.

All primary switchgear was manufactured with Schneider Electric technology with end of aisle Form 4 Type 2 Critical Power Distribution Units configured with Acti9 sub pan assemblies supporting overhead critical power distribution. Schneider Electric PM750 meters were deployed throughout enabling power monitoring through Schneider Electrics industry leading StruxureWare Power Monitoring Expert energy management software.

Schneider Electric’s APC NetShelter SX multivendor equipment racks combined with APC intelligent metered rack PDU’s were installed across both pods.


Workspace Technology deployed APC’s leading Symmetra PX160kW modular UPS system complete with integrated bypass and power distribution. All Freecool® fans and control system were supported via the UPS ensuring continued cooling under power failure scenarios.

The MDC data centre is supported by Schneider Electric’s leading Netbotz Environmental Monitoring combined with StruxureWare Data Centre Expert and Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) technology.

As part of the turnkey MDC deployment a 250kVA Generator set was installed by Workspace Technology’s Power Generation division to support extended power outages

Rapid Deployment

Due to the accelerated speed of the ongoing demolition works the data centre deployment time was limited. A traditional approach was simply not an option therefore the ability to provide a pre-engineered solution within less than 12 weeks was essential. Workspace Technology’s Data Centre Solutions design team delivered comprehensive site specific design drawings within a matter of days from existing reference templates.

Throughout the process Workspace Technology’s Projects team provided a professionally managed service for the University. Working in partnership with the University’s Estates department the site was pre-prepared for pod deployment during the off site build stage. A complete turnkey deployment formed part of Workspace Technology’s package including connection and hook-up power and water services.

Amanda Ferguson Infrastructure Services Manager of Nottingham Trent University commented “The University’s team were extremely pleased with the project given the incredibly tight deadlines, due to scheduled demolition works failure to get the site ready for server relocation was not an option. Workspace Technology’s site engineering team were committed and worked extremely hard to achieve the deadline. The final Modular Data Centre installation quality exceeds our expectations and will provide the University with an energy efficient data centre for the foreseeable future.”

Andy Orton Sales Director for Workspace Technology commented “This project has highlighted our engineering expertise in both direct fresh air free cooling and Modular, Mobile data centre design. We have seen interest in pre-engineered Modular Data Centres (MDCs) increase over the last 18 months and with an extensive track record of MDC design & installation Workspace Technology are well positioned to provide expert MDC services for clients across the UK.

For more information please contract Andy Orton Sales Director at or call 0121 354 4894.

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