Did you know that the Savile Row tailors in Mayfair, London, were responsible for coining the term “bespoke tailoring”, from which we get the concept of bespoke book publishing, bespoke training and bespoke data centre solutions? Savile Row itself, known as “the golden mile of tailoring”, was built between in the 1730s, originally housing British military officers who increasingly wanted to look dapper. Beau Brummell in particular, a friend of the Prince Regent (the future King George IV), was a fan of bespoke tailoring, and is responsible for introducing today’s business suit and tie, although his version was a dark coat, full-length trousers that replaced the traditional breeches and stockings, a linen shirt and an elaborately-knotted cravat. The term “bespoke” was used by the tailors to refer to cloth as being “spoken for” by an individual customer, and it has translated relatively well to the world of IT. If you think about it, a huge number of service providers now offering “bespoke web design solutions”, “bespoke products”, or “bespoke data centre solutions”. Just like getting measured up for a suit, bespoke data centres rely on the end-user organisation calculating their requirements, specifying exactly what they need from their IT infrastructure, and ensuring they get a facility that best fits their individual use case and budget. Modularity rocks One of the most helpful trends underpinning modern bespoke data centre design and build is the increasing modularity of building blocks such as storage, server, networking, power and cooling. Some of the next-generation data centre solutions that are available use preconfigured components in their design to ensure lower costs and delivery certainty of more readily available elements of the infrastructure that matches customer load. This allows a competitive edge and more flexibility in the overall solution. Meanwhile, some of the smaller-scale data centre components that are emerging use converged or hyper- converged technology, which are both software-centric architectures. These are based on server appliances that tightly integrate compute, storage and networking with software aspects such as virtualisation and analytics. The goal is to minimise compatibility issues and simplify management. There are many advantages that come from modularity. For example, it makes for shorter implementation times as many subsystems come pre-integrated. Also, you can quickly scale up or down your data centre resources as demand requires. In addition, modular components can be deployed flexibly and in a way which yields the best ROI, and they are much easier to move physically if required. Performance improvement Another advantage that bespoke data solutions can offer is the ability to deliver performance where you need it. For example, if you need to process and analyse large volumes of data quickly, a bespoke solution will focus on the server, storage and networking capacity required for high performance. For particular operations, you might need dense racks with high-power and cooling requirements to support analytics, simulations or 3D rendering, for example. Conversely, it might be better to focus your technology firepower on having a reliable and robust infrastructure, prioritising business continuity and failover, and backup and restore capabilities. Uninterruptible power, backup generators, and dual path multi-fibre might be more useful to you. Hybrid cloud The majority of data centres are transitioning to support hybrid workloads, offering burst capabilities to private or hyper-scale cloud to meet demand for computing capacity spikes. From a data centre perspective, that might mean incorporating a rack-level solution, such as the Microsoft Azure Stack appliance, or private network access via cross-connects to major cloud providers like AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. This is another area where bespoke data centre solutions can offer value: helping you to determine what the best hybrid model is for your requirements and workloads, and the best data centre mix of private, public and even multi-cloud. Ordering à la carte Finally, taking a bespoke approach to your data centre and working with operators who offer true flexibility in base designs means you can build it to your exact specification in terms of energy, security, capacity, bandwidth and so on within an existing shell building. DC operators spend a great deal of time and effort choosing the absolute best locations so you don’t have to. Having more than one option within a group data centre portfolio gives you the ability to further bespoke your solution to your staff and application needs in terms of geography. More and more data centre service providers allow you freedom of choice when it comes to designing, customising and implementing your own modular data centre system. Plus you also get the expertise and assistance of the service provider. At the end of the day, much like tailoring, bespoke comes down to the best fit for you.