Auckland company starts production of Kiwi-built portable data centres

Kiwi company IT Power have created a fully portable data-centre housed within an ISO shipping container. The first, they believe, New Zealand-made unit of its kind.

The Auckland-based company says that the units, dubbed databloks, allow companies to store ICT infrastructure at a fraction of the cost, space and construction time of a traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ data centre, all in a single hyper-portable package.

“We believe we’ve produced the first portable data centre designed and built in New Zealand by a New Zealand company,” says Geoff Nickles, solutions specialist at IT Power. “We’ve built and sold our first one and were in negotiation talks for the next one.”

The data centres can be transported anywhere in the world at any time and stored in hot, cold, wet or dry environments. The unit is weather-proof, shock-proof, seismically-restrained, fire resistant and climate-controlled.

Nickle says the possible application for such units include oil and gas exploration, communications companies, sports events, movie-making, military applications, anything where there’s a need to frequently change sites.

“If you’re leasing a building and you need a data centre, instead of commissioning it in the building, you can ship it to the site and just connect it. It can sit next to the building outside and you can maximise the space inside the building. You can use that space inside for other things, then unplug it and move it when you leave.”

Nickle says that even though only a single unit has been commissioned so far, the company has had a lot of interest, and a second order is likely soon.

“We’ve got interest from a telco who is in Fiji, Tonga and Samoa. One of the elements that appeals to them is they could kit out a datablok in New Zealand and send it over, rather than having to ship all their equipment and manpower over there.”

The units are custom-built in 10, 20, 40 or 45 foot ISO shipping containers with access, insulation, power, cooling, security and remote management/monitoring installed as required by the client. Fault tolerance, rack power density, internal configuration and other specific client needs are also incorporated in the final design.

The company says that pricing for similar units from multi-national vendors typically starts at around NZ$1 million, whereas IT Power can produce the datablok from NZ$100,000 including an integrated standby generator, dependent on the client’s specifications.