A recent analyst report looked at the business model of Digital Realty Trust, which claims it can deliver a complete enterprise-class, energy-efficient data center in as little as 26 weeks, versus 16-24 months by its competitors. The real kicker, however, is that Digital Realty claims it can shave off half the cost of building a typical data center. The company claims it can deliver this faster, cheaper data center using the same techniques Henry Ford adopted a century ago for cars, and what Michael Dell did in the 1990s with PCs: by assembling standardized, pre-fabricated parts. We're also seeing this assembly-line approach in the "portable" data centers that are housed within shipping containers that can be plugged into a facility, offered by vendors such as Sun Microsystems and Microsoft. This may be an essential element in driving down the escalating costs of data centers.
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