The total excess costs over the lifetime of an over-sized data centre is on average 30 per cent of the cost of the power and cooling infrastructure, according to industrial supplier Schneider Electric.
According to Schneider, the average data centre is over-sized by 1.5 times its design value.
The company's global director of data centre projects and professional services, Tony Day, told delegates at Computing's Data Centre Summit that the over-sizing model is "one of the biggest wastes of energy" for an organisation.
"There is a rationale to over-sizing as the business doesn't know where it will be in the future, so it asks [a vendor] to design [a data centre] that will last 10 to 15 years. So how providers cope with that is to build enough overhead that might be able to cope with what happens, as technology is continually changing. Over-sizing would be a better option in the past because if you under-size it could cost you a lot more [in the long-term]," he said.
Day suggested that modular data centres are one way of being able to deal with the issue, as it is possible for Schneider to calculate beforehand an approximate figure of how big the maximum and minimum loads are likely to be.
He claimed that a standardised data centre design removes the need for Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT), and this results in a 60 per cent reduction in cost to deploy and 25 per cent reduction in cost, compared to a traditional custom-built data centre.
He also said that modular data centres are easier to deploy and ship than traditional data centres.