Subzero Engineering: Sustainable Solutions for Data Centers

Subzero Engineering: Sustainable Solutions for Data Centers

Article Featured in AI Magazine

Consultancy and customised containment – which complement the data centres they work with – is the global calling card of Subzero Engineering

Subzero Engineering recognises data centres are dynamic environments, so they have created customised containment solutions which make energy-efficient savings for their customers.

Subzero Engineering is the industry leader in bespoke containment solutions using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to show measurable results for their customers which includes the following savings; $300 million in energy costs, 1.5 billion gallons of water, and three million tonnes in the reduction of carbon dioxide since 2015.

“We believe that a data-driven approach is essential to drive data centre performance and efficiency,” commented Andy Connor, Director EMEA Channel, who points out they offer CFD checks for free.

“We help our customers do this with our customised, streamline, and energy efficient containment solutions which result in a lower total cost of ownership and reduced carbon emissions.”

Subzero Engineering has manufacturing facilities in Salt Lake City, US, where they were founded in 2005 (starting out as a data centre airflow consulting company), and in Dublin, Ireland.

“We have a large team of leading industry experts that help us operate globally, and at speed, and we work with customers ranging from the hyperscalers and colocation communities through to well-known brands and sports, retail, HPC, and AI,” said Connor.

Partnership with atNorth
Subzero Engineering has been working with atNorth, a high performance sustainable data centre in Iceland, for the past three years.

“When atNorth began the process of building their data centre halls they got in touch with us to provide the hot and cold aisle containment systems. Their facility is unique in its structure, so we moved from simply providing containment solutions to working with them consultatively to create a standardised ultra-efficient and performance focused system and something that could be repeated across multiple sites as their business grew.”

Climate neutral data centre pact
One of the drivers which is currently influencing data centre design is the fact hyperscalers and members of the colocation community have signed up to the climate neutral data centre pact.

“New data centres are being designed for sustainable operations, but it needs to be more flexible to accommodate the needs of GPUs chip and processing power, so there’s a real challenge to find that balance,” said Connor. “However, I think the real challenge in the market is the legacy facilities. These really need to be updated and modernised to become more efficient in order to reduce their OPEX, energy consumption, and CO2.”

Balance performance and efficiency
Connor says Subzero Engineering helps operators balance performance and efficiency. “We started life back in 2005 as a CFD consultancy when data centres were using raised floors and experiencing issues with leakages. Our software solution showed customers how they could analyse the infrastructure and improve efficiency.

“Fast forward 16 years and that approach has stayed with us. We’re an engineering-led solutions provider who helps businesses reduce their carbon footprint and operating costs – but it all starts with the data we produce from our CFD reports,” he said.

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The Role of Containment in Mission-Critical Edge Deployments

The Role of Containment in Mission-Critical Edge Deployments

Article Featured in Data Centre & Network News
By Gordon Johnson, Senior CFD Engineer at Subzero Engineering

Today, edge data centers need to provide a highly efficient, resilient, dynamic, scalable and sustainable environment for critical IT applications. SubzeroEngineering, believes that containment has a vital role to play in addressing these requirements.

In recent years, edge computing has become one of the most prevalent topics of discussion within our industry. In many respects, the main purpose of edge data centers is to reduce latency and delays in transmitting data and to store critical IT applications securely. In other words, edge data centers store and process data and services as close to the end user as possible.

Edge is a term that’s also become synonymous with some of the world’s most cutting-edge technologies. Autonomous vehicles have often been discussed as one of the truest examples of the edge in action, where anything less than near real-time data processing and ultra-low latency could have fatal consequences for the user. There are also many mission-critical scenarios, including within retail, logistics and healthcare, where a typically high density computing environment, packed into a relatively small footprint and a high kW/rack load is housed within an edge environment.

Drivers at the edge
According to Gartner, by 2020, internet capable devices worldwide reached over 20 billion, and are expected to double by 2025.  It is also estimated that approximately 463 exabytes of data (1 exabyte is equivalent to 1 billion gigabytes) will be generated each day by people as of 2025, which equates to the same volume of data as 212,765,957 DVDs per day!

While the Internet of Things (IoT) was the initial driver of edge computing, especially for smart devices, these examples have been joined by content delivery networks, video streaming and remote monitoring services, with augmented and virtual reality software, expected to be another key use case. What’s more, transformational 5G connectivity has yet to have its predicted, major impact on the edge.

Clearly, there are significant benefits in decentralizing computing power away from a traditional data center and moving it closer to the point where data is generated and/or consumed. Right now, edge computing is still evolving but one thing we can say with certainty, is that the demand for local, near real-time computing represents a major shift in what types of services edge data centers will need to provide.

Efficiency and optimization remain key
An optimized edge data center environment is required to meet a long list of criteria, the first being reliability as edge facilities are often remote and have no on-site maintenance capabilities. Secondly, they require modularity and scalability, the ability to grow with demands. Thirdly, there’s the issue of a lack of a ‘true’ definition. Customers still need to define the edge in the context of their business requirements, deploying infrastructure in line with business demands, which can of course affect the design of their environment. And finally, speed of installation. For many end-users time to market is critical, so an edge data center often needs to be built and delivered on-site in a matter of weeks.

There is, however, one more important factor to consider. An edge data center should offer true flexibility, allowing the user to quickly adapt or capitalize on new business opportunities while offering sustainable and energy efficient performance.

Edge data centers are, in many respects, no different from traditional facilities when it comes to the twin imperatives of efficiency and sustainability. PUE as a measure of energy efficiency applies to the edge as much as to large, centralized facilities.

And sustainability, especially the drive towards net zero, is a major focus for the sector in its entirety. However, what will change over time is the ratio of edge data centers. By 2040, it’s predicted that 80% of total data center energy consumption will be from edge data centers, which begs an obvious question: what will make the edge energy efficient, environmentally responsible, reliable and sustainable all at the same time?

The role of containment
Containment is almost certainly the easiest way to increase efficiency in the data center. It also makes a data center environmentally conscious because, instead of consuming energy, containment saves it. This is especially true at the edge.

Containment helps users get the most out of an edge deployment because containment prevents cold supply from mixing with hot exhaust air. This allows supply temperatures at the server inlets to be increased.

Since today’s servers are recommended to operate at temperatures as high as 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius), containment allows for higher supply temperatures, less overall cooling, lower fan speeds, increased use of free cooling and reduced water consumption – all important factors when it comes to improving efficiency and reducing carbon footprint at the edge.

Further, a contained solution consumes less power than an application without it, which means an environmentally friendly, cost-effective environment. Additionally, it improves reliability, delivering longer Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) for the IT equipment, as well as lower PUE.

Uncertainty demands flexibility
Subzero believes that an edge data center needs to be flexible and both quick and easy to install. It needs to be right-sized for the here and now, but capable of incremental, scalable growth. Further, it should allow the customer to specify the key components, such as the IT, storage, power and cooling solutions, without constraining them by size or vendor selection.

Thankfully, there are edge data center providers who now offer an enclosure built on-site in a matter of days, with ground-supported or ceiling-hung infrastructure to support ladder racks, cable trays, racks and cooling equipment.

These architectures mean the customer can choose their own power and cooling systems and, once the IT stack is on-site and the power is connected, the data center can be up and running in a matter of days.

Back in 2018, Gartner predicted that, by 2023, three-quarters of all enterprise-generated data would be created and processed outside a traditional, centralized data center. As more and more applications move from large, centralized data centers to small edge environments, Subzero anticipates that only a flexible, containerized architecture will offer end-users the perfect balance of efficiency, sustainability and performance.

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atNorth, Subzero Standardize Approach to HPC Colocation

atNorth, Subzero Standardize Approach to HPC Colocation

Article Featured in Data Centre Magazine

A case study by Subzero Engineering shows how leading Nordic data centre services firm atNorth was able to standardise its approach to HPC colocation

SUMMARY
atNorth is a leading Nordic data centre services organization based in Reykjavik, Iceland. It offers environmentally responsible, power-efficient, and cost-optimized data centre hosting facilities, with the capabilities to deliver high-performance computing (HPC) services.

By working with Subzero Engineering, a leading provider of data centre containment solutions, the company was able to standardize its approach to HPC colocation; using a scalable, energy-efficient, and ultra-secure, fault-tolerant cold aisle containment (CAC) methodology to replicate its sustainability and performance capabilities across multiple sites.

CUSTOMER BACKGROUND
atNorth is a leading Nordic data centre services company offering environmentally sustainable, power-efficient, and cost-optimized data centre hosting facilities. Its Tier III, redundant design and its innovative ability to support rack densities ranging from 40kW – 100kW make it the perfect partner for organizations using high-performance computing (HPC) to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems.

With operations in Stockholm, Sweden and Reykjavik, Iceland, the company’s mission is to offer more compute for a better world, leveraging innovative data centre designs, power efficiency, and intelligent clusters to support the disruptive technologies used by customers. This includes workloads that require High Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure, such as simulations, scientific calculations, artificial intelligence (AI), deep learning, and blockchain applications.

At its Icelandic Thor DC and Mjölnir DC colocation campuses, the company continues to push the boundaries of Nordic data centres; using 100% renewable energy resources from hydropower and geothermal sources to power their facilities, which are optimized for ultra-energy efficiency, maximum reliability, and industry-leading performance.

With this approach that incorporates Direct Free Air cooling and carbon-free energy, atNorth delivers a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating below 1.2 at its Tier III Mjölnir DC. A strategy that offers customers a reduced total cost of ownership (TCO), increased operational and energy efficiency, and a secure, scalable data centre platform to protect the long-term lifecycle requirements of their infrastructure deployments.

CHALLENGES
When designing its second 80MW, Mjölnir DC data centre campus in Reykjanesbaer, Iceland, atNorth was looking for a containment partner that was able to deliver to demanding timescales.

The company required a high-quality, robust, and secure containment solution that would offer the ability to standardize their design, while delivering repeatable performance, sustainability, and efficiency capabilities across multiple sites.

Further, due to its reputation for sustainable HPC and colocation, and for building long-term customer relationships, the company was looking to establish a new supply chain partner who could work with them as the company grew.

PROPOSED SOLUTION
Working to meet the company’s requirements for speed, efficiency, and precision, Subzero Engineering quickly engaged with Jóhann Þór Jónsson, atNorth’s Director Project Management and Business Development. Rather than offer a simple proposal containing a product specification and cost, the companies’ engineers provided consultative expertise from a remote location in the USA, offering valuable insight that would help to future-proof the data centre and meet growing customer demand.

Once a relationship was established, Subzero specified its Essential Plus+ product line, offering a vendor-neutral, quick-to-deploy, and flexible containment system. Available globally, the Essential Plus+ products would provide atNorth with a standardized containment architecture, which would accommodate any customers’ HPC rack, server, or storage requirement.

“Subzero’s response time was exceptional,” said Jóhann Þór Jónsson, Director Project Management and Business Development, atNorth. “They not only specified a cold aisle containment architecture complete with security doors and top roofs, but worked with us consultatively to engineer a robust, clean, and energy-efficient system that would look visually impactful and fit with the site’s geothermal surroundings.”

RESULTS
The sleek look and feel, best-in-class materials, and energy-efficient architecture of the Essential Plus+ products met atNorth’s requirements for a customizable, robust and high-quality containment solution. Moreover, it would enable them to standardize and quickly scale across new sites, using a methodology that delivers increased security, performance, and sustainability. This is a pivotal approach, and has informed the design, construction and development of its third climate-positive data centre in Stockholm.

“Subzero Engineering has given us a standardized, repeatable, and physically secure containment system, which fits well with our own philosophy,” said Jóhann Þór Jónsson, Director Project Management and Business Development, atNorth. “They have offered us a flexible containment solution, focused on both performance and efficiency, but which is easy to customize with the changing requirements of our intensive computing customers.”

Further, the synergies between the companies were clear from the outset, both having values ingrained with pushing the boundaries of performance, sustainability, and energy efficiency. Subzero’s containment solutions would not only contribute towards atNorth’s industry-leading low PUE, but their approach would deliver exceptional value: establishing them as a long-term partner for the company’s high performance, sustainable, colocation services.

“As a business, we’re always focused on the long-term objectives of our customers, and we choose to work with companies whose values are aligned with ours,” continued Jóhann Þór Jónsson, Director Project Management and Business Development, atNorth. “Subzero Engineering remained service-minded, agile, and worked to truly understand our business: providing a consultative, value-add and intricate data centre solution that meets our demands for performance and efficiency both now, and in the future.”

To download the atNorth Case Study click here.

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Keeping the Edge Customer-Focused

Keeping the Edge Customer-Focused

Article Featured in Data Centre Review
By: Andy Connor, Director – EMEA Channel at Subzero Engineering

For many years, the data centre industry has been engaged in a deep discussion on the concept of edge computing. Yet the definition varies from vendor to vendor and from customer to customer, creating not only mass confusion, but a fixed mindset in terms of solutions design.

One might argue that through its lack of a true definition, the subjective nature of the edge has led the industry down an often singular path, where edge technologies have been designed to hypothetically meet the customers’ needs, but without the application in mind.

IDC defines the edge as the multiform space between physical endpoints such as sensors and the ‘core’, or the physical infrastructure – the servers, storage and compute – within cloud locations and data centres. Yet within more traditional or conservative sectors, some customers are yet to truly understand how the edge relates to them, meaning the discussion needs to change, and fast.

Defining the edge
When the trend of edge computing began to gain traction, the Infrastructure Masons were one of the first to try and define it. But even they recognised its largely subjective nature was beginning to cause market confusion, and stated that a widely accepted definition would become more essential as the industry began to confront the challenges that will arise at the edge.

What’s clear is that the business case for edge technologies is becoming more prevalent, and according to Gartner, “by 2022, more than 50% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the data centre or cloud.” All this data invariably needs a home and depending on the type of data that is stored, whether it’s business or mission-critical, the design and location of the infrastructure will undoubtedly need to vary.

One size fits all?
Today in our industry, there’s a very real danger that, when it comes to the edge, many end-users will be sold infrastructure defined by the manufacturer and not based on the customer’s needs. And that’s because edge solutions are often found in one size, type or variable form factor. This creates a market whereby potential customers are persuaded that ‘one size fits all’, and that’s a far cry from the modular and agile approach that the industry has turned towards in recent years.

The reality is that the edge has almost as many definitions as there are organisations trying to define it. And, while there are a range of well-defined and well-understood edge applications already in use such as micro data centres in retail locations, localised infrastructure providing low latency content delivery to avid viewers, there are many edge applications yet to be fully understood, defined or implemented.

Many existing edge applications remain unpredictable in terms of their data centre and IT resources. And often local infrastructure is required to support the continued roll-out of a service looking to scale.

In summary, most, if not all, organisations are faced with making frequent decisions about the best place to build, or access, edge infrastructure resources. And in today’s dynamic, digital world such decisions need to focus on the customer’s business requirements, providing them with a flexible, agile and optimised architecture that’s truly fit-for-purpose.

Finding flexible solutions
A standard-size container or micro data centre might be far too big for the business’ needs – but the assumption is that maybe the user will grow into it. And then there’s the question of customisation. What if the solution needs to be liquid-immersion cooling enabled for GPU-intensive computing at the edge? Not every micro data centre architecture can be built for that technology, and certainly not if the customer needs to scale quickly.

There’s a question of cost. Micro data centres in standard form factors, or pre-integrated systems, often contain CAPEX-intensive server and storage technologies from manufacturers defined by the vendor. This, again, is a far cry from a solution that is defined to meet the business needs.

In our industry, relationships are everything, and one must acknowledge that customers will want to specify power, cooling and IT infrastructure from their own choice of suppliers, and at a cost that meets their budgetary requirements.

At Subzero Engineering, we believe customers need a solution that supports their business criterion, and one that helps them capitalise on the emerging opportunities of the edge. What’s more, we believe that containerised edge data centres, which are optimised for the application, built ready to scale and vendor-neutral for any type of infrastructure, are those that can truly meet the needs of the end-user.

What’s clear is that with the advent of edge computing, the customer needs to define their edge. And as design and build consultants, our goal must be to support their needs with flexible, mission-critical solutions.

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Defining Your Edge – Re-Thinking the Concept of Micro Data Center Designs

Defining Your Edge – Re-Thinking the Concept of Micro Data Center Designs

By Sam Prudhomme, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Subzero Engineering

For many years the industry has been in a deep discussion about the concept of edge computing. Yet the definition varies from vendor to vendor, creating confusion in the market, especially where end-users are concerned. In fact, within more traditional or conservative sectors, some customers are yet to truly understand how the edge relates to them, meaning the discussion needs to change, and fast.

According to Gartner, “the edge is the physical location where things and people connect with the networked, digital world, and by 2022, more than 50% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the data center or cloud.” All of this data invariably needs a home, and depending on the type of data that is secured, whether it’s business or mission-critical, the design and location of its home will vary.

Autonomous vehicles are but one example of an automated, low- latency and data-dependent application. The real-time control data required to operate the vehicle is created, processed and stored via two-way communications at a number of local and roadside levels. On a city-wide basis, the data produced by each autonomous vehicle will be processed, analyzed, stored and transmitted in real-time, in order to safely direct the vehicle and manage the traffic. Yet on a national level, the data produced by millions of AVs could be used to shape transport infrastructure policy and redefine the automotive landscape globally.

Each of these processing, analysis, and storage locations requires a different type of facility to support its demand. Right now, data centers designed to meet the needs of standard or enterprise business applications are plentiful. However, data centers designed for dynamic, real-time data delivery, provisioning, processing, and storage are in short supply.

That’s partly because of the uncertainty over which applications will demand such infrastructure and, importantly, over what sort of timeframe. However, there’s also the question of flexibility. Many of the existing micro data center solutions are unable to meet the demands of edge or, more accurately, localized, low-latency applications, which also require high levels of agility and scalability. This is due to their pre-determined or specified approach to design and infrastructure components.

Traditionally, the market has been met with small-scale, edge applications, which have been deployed in pre-populated, containerized solutions. A customer is often required to confirm to a standard shape or size and there’s no flexibility in terms of their modularity, components, or make-up. So how do we change the thinking?

A Flexible Edge

Standardization has, in many respects, been crucial to our industry. It offers a number of key benefits, including the ability to replicate systems predictably across multiple locations. But when it comes to the edge, some standardized systems aren’t built for the customer – they’re a product of vendor collaboration: One that’s also accompanied by high-costs and long lead times.

On the one hand, having a box with everything in it can undoubtedly solve some pain points, especially where integration is concerned. But what happens if the customer has its own alliances, or may not need all of the components? What happens if they run out of capacity in one site? Those original promises of scalability, or flexibility disappear, leaving the customer with just one option – to buy another container. One might consider that that rigidity, when it comes to ‘standardization’, can often be detrimental to the customer.

There is, however, the possibility that such modular, customizable, and scalable micro data center architectures can meet the end user’s requirements perfectly, allowing end-users to truly define and embrace their edge.

Is There a Simpler Way?

Today forecasting growth is a key challenge for customers. With demands increasing to support a rapidly developing digital landscape, many will have a reasonable idea of what capacity is required today. But predicting how it will grow over time is far more difficult, and this is where modularity is key.

For example, pre-pandemic, a content delivery network, with capacity located near large users groups may have found itself swamped with demand in the days of lockdown. Today, they may be considering how to scale up local data center capacity quickly and incrementally to meet customer expectations, without deploying additional infrastructure across more sites.

There is also the potential of 5G-enabled applications, so how does one define what’s truly needed to optimize and protect the infrastructure in a manufacturing environment. Should an end-user purchase a containerized micro data center because that’s what’s positioned as the ideal solution? Or, should they customize and engineer a solution that can grow incrementally with demands? Or would it be more beneficial to deploy a single room that offers a secure, high-strength, and walk-able roof that can host production equipment?

The point here is that when it comes to micro data centers, a one-size-fits-all approach does not work. End-users need the ability to choose their infrastructure based on their business demands – whether they be in industrial manufacturing, automotive, telco, or colocation environments. But how can users achieve this?

Infrastructure Agnostic Architectures

At Subzero Engineering, we believe that vendor-agnostic, flexible micro data centers are the future for the industry. For years we’ve been adding value to customers, and building containment systems around their needs, without forcing their infrastructure to fit into boxes.

We believe users should have the flexibility to utilize their choice of best-in-class data center components, including the IT stack, the uninterruptible power supply (UPS), cooling architecture, racks, cabling, or fire suppression system. So by taking an infrastructure-agnostic approach, we give customers the ability to define their edge, and use resilient, standardized, and scalable infrastructure in a way that’s truly beneficial to their business.

By taking this approach, we’re also able to meet demands for speed to market, delivering a fully customized solution to site within six weeks. Furthermore, by adopting a modular architecture that includes a stick-built enclosure, and the ability to incorporate a cleanroom, and a walk-able, mezzanine roof, users can scale as demands require it, and without the need to deploy additional containerized systems.

This approach alone offers significant benefits, including a 20-30% cost-saving, compared with conventional ‘pre-integrated’, micro data center designs.

For too long now, our industry has been shaped by vendors that have forced customers to base decisions on systems which are constrained by the solutions they offer. We believe now is the time to disrupt the market, eliminate this misalignment, and enable customers to define their edge as they go.

By providing customers with the physical data center infrastructure they need, no matter their requirements, we can help them plan for tomorrow. As I said, standardization can offer many benefits, but not when it’s detrimental to the customer.

 

Click here to download a pdf version of this article.

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Subzero Engineering Launches ‘Essential Micro Data Center’, Allowing Users to Define Their Own Edge

Subzero Engineering Launches ‘Essential Micro Data Center’, Allowing Users to Define Their Own Edge

  • Turnkey solution is building and infrastructure agnostic, providing 20%-30% cost-savings compared to other solutions in the market.
  • Standardized solution meets demanding timescales, shipping within as little as 36 hours, while fully customized micro data centers can be delivered, installed and operational in 4-6 weeks.
  • Provides flexible micro data center system for colocation, 5G, retail, enterprise and industrial applications.

 

October 13, 2021Subzero Engineering, a leading provider of data center containment solutions, has today introduced its Essential Micro Data Center, the world’s first modular, vendor agnostic and truly flexible modular micro data center architecture. Available for order in the United States of America, United Kingdom and Europe, the Essential Micro Data Center meets customer demands for a standardized, premium quality, cost-competitive and quick-to-install edge infrastructure system, that provides a reduced total cost of ownership of between 20%-30%.

Based on its Essential Series and AisleFrame product lines, the Essential Micro Data Center is a small-footprint, on-premises data center, engineered for distributed and remote infrastructure environments. Its modular architecture includes white-glove installation and support, power, cooling, infrastructure conveyance and containment. All of which are housed within a pre-fabricated, factory-assembled, modular room, and shipped flat-packed to site.

With increased requirements for real-time data processing, low latency, greater security and automation, the Essential Micro Data Center ensures predictability and performance for distributed applications. Furthermore, its customizable, modular design offers a fast, flexible and easy-to-build micro data center system, perfectly suited for colocation, 5G, retail, enterprise and industrial environments.

 

Strength, security, customization

The Essential Micro Data Center is comprised of two-parts including a physically secure, modular room containing critical power and cooling infrastructure, and Subzero’s high-strength AisleFrame. Using this approach, the Essential Micro Data Center can support a variety of load requirements and includes built-in, customizable containment, integrated with self-supporting ceiling modules and insert panels available in ABS, acrylic, polycarbonate, aluminum or glass.

The pre-fabricated system can accommodate all ladder racking, busway, fiber trays and infrastructure necessary for micro data center applications, and offers support for hot or cold aisle applications, regardless of cooling methodology. For example, the high-strength ceiling can support a range of cooling systems, including overhead Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) units. This feature offers complete customization for users who can deploy their infrastructure in aisle, row or rack configurations.

Further, its flexible, vendor-agnostic design provides users with the ability to custom-specify their own choice of power and cooling infrastructure. This approach helps overcome the challenge of having to use inflexible, pre-specified power and cooling systems in a containerized system, while retaining the ability to standardize, repeat and scale quickly, as business requirements change.

“The Essential Micro Data Center’s flexible design makes it a perfect fit for customers searching for an alternative to the obstinate and expensive, pre-integrated solutions currently available,” said Sam Prudhomme, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Subzero Engineering. “Our vendor-agnostic approach to component specification, combined with rapid speed of and installation and lower TCO, ensures customers can truly define and scale the edge on their own terms.”

The Subzero Engineering Essential Micro Data Center joins its recently launched Essentials Series, demonstrating the company’s commitment to delivering customer-focused, efficient and precision-engineered digital infrastructure solutions.

To learn more, click here.

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Containment at the Edge – Making the Edge Efficient, Scalable, and Sustainable

Containment at the Edge – Making the Edge Efficient, Scalable, and Sustainable

Each day, technology touches nearly every aspect of our lives in one way or the other. For example, how many times a day do each of us access one or more apps on our smart phone? This trend of needing, creating, transferring, and accessing data in fractions of a second isn’t going away either. According to Gartner Research, by 2020, internet capable devices worldwide reached over 20 billion, and this number is expected to double by 2025. It is also estimated that approximately 463 exabytes of data (1 exabyte is equivalent to 1 billion gigabytes) will be generated each day by people as of 2025, that’s the equivalent of 212,765,957 DVDs per day!1 Along with this increase comes the need to have this data as fast as possible, with minimum delay or latency, something most of today’s data centers are not capable of.

The increase in data and the need for high-speed data transfers has inspired the recent trend known as edge computing. What exactly is the edge? What is an edge data center? How are edge data centers evolving and how can facility and data center managers be ready without being left behind? What about the challenge of making a resilient, modular, and scalable edge data center while maintaining high efficiency and reliability? This paper will answer these and many more questions about the edge in the following topics:

  • What is an Edge Data Center
  • The Evolution of Edge Computing
  • How Organizations are Responding to Edge Data Centers
  • Solving the Challenge of Modular and Scalable Edge Infrastructures
  • Reliability and Efficiency Needed at the Edge
  • Containment’s Critical Role in Edge Deployments
  • Bridging the Gap to the Edge, Now and Future

Read the full white paper here.

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5 Steps to Improving Data Center Performance & Energy Efficiency

5 Steps to Improving Data Center Performance & Energy Efficiency

By Sam Prudhomme, Vice President of Sales & Marketing

Recently, I was interviewed by a Computer Weekly journalist, Fleur Doidge, who was writing an article focusing on the quick wins when it comes to improving systems performance in the data center. Inspired by our discussion, I’ve come up with Subzero’s top 5 ways to boost data center utilization.

The data center industry, quite rightly, has an ongoing, major focus on how it can improve both the performance and energy efficiency of its facilities. That’s partly down to the perception that our industry are major consumers of energy and contribute a high volume of carbon emissions each year.

According to an article published in Science Magazine, data centers account for around 1% of global energy use. It’s clear that we need to improve our environmental performance and to ensure we never forget we’re part of the sustainability solution, but we should also remember that data center performance and energy efficiency improvements make great business sense.

While there are many, many issues to consider as part of a comprehensive, long-term strategy to both improve data center performance as well as to achieve carbon neutral status, this article focuses on the ‘low hanging fruit’ – relatively simple actions, which will have an immediate positive impact on your facility, and with an ROI measured in months rather than years.

Step 1 – As Easy as (free) CFD

Those of you who know Subzero Engineering well will not be surprised that Step 1 involves a Environmental Impact Evaluation (CFD) of your data center. We believe it all starts with the data and offer this service for free. It is a simple, efficient, and super-fast way of discovering just how your data center is performing right now – where the power is, where the heat is, and isn’t, hence where the cold air does or doesn’t need to be.

Step 2 – Using the Data

Once the Environmental Impact Evaluation (CFD) has been carried out, you’ll be armed with a large quantity of data about how your data center is performing. It’s highly likely that you’ll be presented with some really quick wins. For example, you’ll discover where the hotspots (points of efficiency leakage) are; and part of the solution may be something as simple as installing any necessary blanking panels.

Then again, the CFD data may highlight that Row 5 in Rack 6 is running 15 degrees hotter than anywhere else in the data center. You’ll be able to decide whether you need to move this stack to a better location where more cooling is available, or maybe you just need to open up the grate to optimize or increase the airflow.

Step 3 – The 3 ms: Measuring, monitoring & Modulation

A data center is a live environment. So, although the CFD analysis can identify and help to resolve what we might call any ‘permanent’ power and cooling issues, it’s essential that you monitor and measure the performance of the power and cooling plant in real-time. This is because data center variables such as the IT load and operating temperatures are in constant flux. With the right system you are able to modulate the airflow accordingly. For example, if the cooling needs to react to the load inside each rack and cabinet, as well as respond to the impact of, say, an extremely hot outside temperature.

Rather than blast a load of cold air into the data center and ‘hope’ that it keeps the IT hardware within operating tolerances, with the right monitoring solution, you can be confident that you can modulate the cold air as required right down to the rack level. This ensures that the cooling usage is as effective and energy efficient as possible.

Step 4 – Contain Your Excitement

How would you like to reduce your PUE by 0.4? Or to achieve a 29% reduction in data center energy consumption? Well, these are the average savings we achieve for our customers when they deploy one of our containment solutions.

The initial Environmental Impact Evaluation (CFD) we carry out also proves how this can be achieved – it compares and contrasts hot vs cold aisle containment and containment vs no containment. Furthermore, a containment solution ensures that Steps 1-3 really do achieve the maximum performance and energy efficiency improvements within the data center.

Without containment, you’ll still have hotspots – separating hot and cold air will be hit and miss and far from being optimized.

With containment, you can bring down the power consumption to cooling ratio close to a 1:1 match in KW consumed – that’s how the energy consumption/utility bill reduction is achieved.

As for the PUE reduction? Well, that’s achieved by smarter, more efficient use of an optimized combination of chilled water and the air conditioning fans. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that containment can reduce fan energy consumption by up to 25% and deliver 20% savings at the cold water chiller.1

One final containment benefit – we supplied a containment solution to a colo customer and by separating the hot and cold air in their facility, we helped them to not only eliminate hotspots, but also to increase rack density by an average of 14%.

Step 5 – Turn the Lights out

This breadth of knowledge brings me to my final data center performance and energy efficiency improvement: turn out the lights. By that, I actually mean remove anything incandescent and go with an LED retrofit kit within your existing tray system. And then automate the lighting system.

It may be a while before a true lights out data center becomes the norm, if ever, but that’s no excuse not to ensure that your lighting system is as energy efficient as possible. By using LEDs and only using the lights when needed you’ll improve your energy efficiency as well as your bank balance.

While Subzero Engineering’s major focus is data center consultancy, using CFD analysis and containment solutions, to help drive performance and efficiency improvements we can also help owners/operators with their critical power infrastructure, DCIM and other solutions as required.

Download the 5 Steps to Improving Data Center Performance & Energy Efficiency pdf here.

 

References

1Recalibrating global data center energy-use estimates – Science Magazine 2018

CFDContainmentdata centerdata center energy consumptiondata center performanceEnergy EfficiencyEnvironmental Impact EvaluationPUErack densitysustainability
Subzero Engineering and Armstrong World Industries partner to serve U.S. data center market

Subzero Engineering and Armstrong World Industries partner to serve U.S. data center market

  • This partnership is the latest development in the portfolio expansion of data center products and services from Armstrong and Subzero Engineering
  • The Armstrong DynaMax™ structural ceiling solution combines seamlessly with Subzero Engineering’s high-performance and energy efficient, Essential Series and Essential Plus+ (formerly Elite Series) containment systems
  • Subzero will exclusively utilize the Armstrong DynaMax™ structural ceiling solution to complement Subzero Engineering’s high-performance and energy efficient data center containment systems
  • The partnership enables Subzero Engineering to deliver a secure, turnkey solution, combining Armstrong ceiling systems with containment for rapid installation and reduced cost

 

San Antonio, TX June 14, 2021 – Subzero Engineering, a leading provider of data center containment solutions, and Armstrong World Industries (AWI), a leader in the design and manufacture of innovative commercial and residential ceiling, wall, and suspension solutions, have announced a strategic relationship for the Americas markets.  Subzero Engineering and AWI have come together to create a combined containment and structural ceiling solution for data centers that is high-strength, flexible, and quick-to-install.  Further, this secure, turnkey solution offers cost savings and reduced time-to-market and eliminates construction inefficiencies.

The Armstrong DynaMax™ ceiling solution is an aluminum suspension system that serves as a structural and conveyance component in data centers. It provides a suspension plenum or attachment platform for cable trays, equipment, partitions, and hot and cold aisle containment barriers, while eliminating penetrations in the ceiling system. Available in 2′ x 2′, 2′ x 4′, and 4′ x 4′ suspension system layouts with coordinated ceiling options, the DynaMax™ suspension system can support up to a 900 lb. point load rating using 3/8″ threaded rods at 4′ x 4′ connection points.

Subzero Engineering will seamlessly combine the DynaMax™ structural system with its Essential Series and Essential Plus+ product lines, offering hyperscale, colocation, and enterprise data center operators a standardized, vendor-neutral and flexible containment solution with a fully accessible ceiling system. The new collaboration enables Subzero to incorporate the Armstrong DynaMax™ system into their US data center market offerings and allows Subzero to provide any combination of non-structural and structural ceiling components for data centers, including an ultra-secure containment barrier to protect servers from debris.

“Subzero Engineering equals our own passion for innovation and their expertise in the data center market is a great match for us,” said Charlie Chiappone, Senior Vice President, Ceiling and Wall Solutions, Armstrong World Industries. “The Subzero Essential Series and Essential Plus+ products combined with our DynaMax™ ceiling solution offers a seamless approach to infrastructure provision at a time when cost optimization, performance, and efficiency are key objectives for data center owners and operators alike.”

“A company with Armstrong’s status in the commercial construction industry is the perfect organization for Subzero to partner with, enabling us to meet customer demands for turnkey solutions that combine customer needs with cost efficiency,” said Sam Prudhomme, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Mission Critical Environments Division, Subzero Engineering. “This strategic relationship will enable Subzero Engineering to quickly deliver a robust, structural conveyance system that includes high-quality containment, ensuring a customer-first approach to data center design and optimization.”

Rapidly expanding solution portfolio

Incorporating the Armstrong DynaMax™ structural ceiling system into the latest offerings from Subzero Engineering, including the recently introduced Essential Series, creates a comprehensive portfolio of data center infrastructure solutions, engineering consultancy, and modernization services, delivering industry-leading technology designed to address major customer challenges.

“Subzero Engineering has established a market-leading reputation for consultancy and innovative products, at a time when traditional approaches are unable to meet the demands of the digital age,” added Sam Prudhomme. “From the launch of our Essential Series and partnering with Armstrong to incorporate the DynaMax™ ceiling system into our products, we are directly addressing market needs, and will continue to do so with new partnerships, products, and services over the coming months.”

==Ends==

 

About Subzero Engineering

At Subzero Engineering we believe that a data-driven approach to data center design, build, and operation is essential to drive performance and efficiency. To help customers achieve this, we provide customized, streamlined, and energy efficient containment solutions that result in a lower total cost of ownership, and reduced carbon emissions.

https://www.subzeroeng.com

 

About Armstrong World Industries

Armstrong World Industries, Inc. (AWI) is a leader in the design and manufacture of innovative commercial and residential ceiling, wall, and suspension system solutions in the Americas.  With $937 million in revenue in 2020, AWI has about 2,800 employees and a manufacturing network of 15 facilities plus six facilities dedicated to its WAVE joint venture.

https://www.armstrongceilings.com/commercial/en/

 

Download the press release – here.

 

AisleFrameContainmentcontainment solutiondata centerefficiencyEssential Plus+essential seriesEssential Structureperformancereduced containment costs
Subzero Engineering Announces New Essential Series Data Center Containment Solutions, Designed for Increased Functionality and Speed of Deployment

Subzero Engineering Announces New Essential Series Data Center Containment Solutions, Designed for Increased Functionality and Speed of Deployment

  • Essential Series provides adaptable, quick-to-deploy and cost-effective data center containment for hyperscale, supercomputing and enterprise facilities.
  • The vendor-neutral products have been engineered to enable data center design flexibility, with ease of customization and ordering.
  • Offers the high quality design synonymous with the Subzero Engineering brand, at a more accessible price point.

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States, 23rd  March, 2021Subzero Engineering, a leading provider of data center containment solutions, has today announced that it has launched its Essential Series product line; offering hyperscale, colocation, high performance computing (HPC) and enterprise data center operators a vendor-neutral, quick-to-deploy and flexible containment system, at an accessible price point. Available globally, in three scalable form factors, the Essential Line, Essential+ and AisleFrame solutions provide end-users with a standardized containment architecture, which can accommodate any rack, server or storage requirement.

By utilizing a flexible, standards-based approach to design and installation, the Essential Series helps operators to quickly scale or retrofit their facility with a solution that drives both performance and energy efficiency. Further, by utilizing Subzero hot or cold aisle containment systems, data center customers can reduce PUE by 0.4 on average and save approximately 29% on energy costs.

“The Essential Series was born from fifteen years of data center design and engineering experience, and a strong track record for helping customers improve performance and PUE,” said Sam Prudhomme Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “With growing demands for a flexible, low-cost and high-quality data center containment line, the Essential Series offers the perfect mix of blue collar functionality and innovation, wrapped in world-class customer service.”

 

The foundations of performance and efficiency
Subzero Engineering Essential Series products are engineered to be ultra-efficient, quick to deploy, and offer reduced containment costs of up to 30%. The Essential Series uses high quality materials with standardized sizes to minimize lead times, allowing customers to meet demanding timescales with a reliable solution. Subzero have also taken the guesswork out of choosing a containment solution, with the Essential Series customers simply select the type of door (hinged or sliding, dual or single), the size of the roof or length of the aisle, and add how many racks or panels are needed.

 

Essential Plus+
The Essential Plus+ system allows data center customers to quickly upgrade their containment products and design experience. Available upgrades include pre-engineered customizations, upgraded materials, increased functionality, white glove on-site support, and an extended lifetime warranty.

 

AisleFrame – The Essential Structure
The Essential Structure is a highly adaptable infrastructure conveyance system, facilitating advanced scalability in middle infrastructure construction. There are endless design, configuration and functionality possibilities with Essential+ Upgrades. Not only is the engineering behind the Essential Structure simple, efficient, and straight forward, so is the pricing structure. Essential Structure pricing is determined by identifying four simple project requirements: frame type (normal or seismic), load requirements (regular, medium, high), rack sizing (5, 10, 15, or 20 racks), and Essential Plus+ upgrades.

“With its lower price point and design flexibility, Subzero is able to offer fifteen years of engineering experience and energy efficient data center solutions to a broader marketplace,” said Andy Connor, Channel Director, EMEA. “And with manufacturing facilities in the USA and Europe, the company is perfectly positioned to offer high-quality systems with a reduced lead time, helping customers to quickly overcome supply chain issues and reduce their total cost of ownership.”

The Subzero Engineering Essential Series is available globally via our channel partners.

Download the press release – here.

 

AisleFrameContainmentcontainment solutiondata centerefficiencyEssential Plus+essential seriesEssential Structureperformancereduced containment costs