Tier5 first to fire up Dell’s 3rd-gen Modular Data Center

Last week, Tier5 who has taken over an old Mitsubishi facility in Adelaide was the first company globally to deploy Dell’s third generation Modular Data Center.  Tier5 is an eight-person start up that is turning the former auto plant into a state-of-the-art data center park to be leased by wholesale tenants including managed service providers, resellers and large users.

Instead of building out a traditional data center Tier5 went with Dell’s Modular Data Center (MDC) which snaps together like ginormous Legos allowing systems to be up and running in as little as a week.  The MDC’s modular nature also allows capacity to be added incrementally as needed.

For a great overview, check out the short video that ITNews did at the opening press conference on Tuesday.


To get Tier5 exactly what they wanted Dell’s DCS team worked collaboratively with the Tier5 engineers over a period of nine to 10 months to nail down the exact specs.  As Tier5 founder Marty Gauvin said, “Our engagement with Dell DCS was enormously collaborative.  We were able to achieve our objectives in a very collaborative way, and then go beyond them.”

So what is this thing?

The shell of Dell’s MDC solution is formed by a steel frame, rather than a standard rigid shipping container. As a result of this design, Dell can deploy modules with different configurations to meet the needs of different customers.  Each module houses up to 12 standard server racks and up to 2,500 servers. The design gives Tier5 the flexibility to mix and match hardware components within a module to better serve the specific needs of its customers.

The MDC solution contains two rows of custom-built racks with a center hot aisle, a design that allows  easy access to components for servicing and maintenance. The module offers an easily accessible connection point for power and cooling as well as IT management. It also offers multiple cooling options, including chilled water, evaporative cooling and outside air. This enables users to choose the cooling option that works best for the site and the climate.

Keepin’ it green

Besides allowing Tier5 to be agile and not having to tie up capital until right before its needed, the MDC also saves on a tremendous amount of power.  Tier5 estimates a best in class power usage efficiency (PUE) of 1.18 for the Adelaide modular data center.   This in turn will result in their customers saving approximately AUD $8 million in power costs per year.

Where to next?

So the first third-generation Dell MDC has surfaced down under.  Stay tuned to see where in the world the next one will pop up. 🙂

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…

4 Responses to Tier5 first to fire up Dell’s 3rd-gen Modular Data Center

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