Meeting the Demand for Truly High Performance, Sustainable and Flexible Data Centers

Meeting the Demand for Truly High Performance, Sustainable and Flexible Data Centers

Article Featured in Networks Europe Magazine
By: Andy Connor, Director – EMEA Channel

The data center industry faces potentially opposing challenges over the next few years. On the one hand, the demands of our digital age show no sign of stopping, and with 5G expected to reach mainstream adoption, one could reasonably argue that the digital infrastructure required to support such applications is going to increase significantly. What’s clear is that it needs to be agile, scalable, quick-to-deploy, and, above all, efficient, if it is to meet the users’ expectations.

At the same time the data center industry, as a major power consumer, must become more sustainable, and move forward from the easy wins of carbon offsetting to a much more sophisticated programme of carbon reduction and eventual elimination – Net Zero.

Set against these twin objectives, optimising data center performance has never been more important, and in order to achieve this, at Subzero Engineering, we believe a number of things have to happen:

Data drives decision-making
Cliché or not, the saying that ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage or improve it’ remains true. For data center owners and operators, this means understanding either how your existing facility performs under varying environmental conditions and identifying ways to improve it. This may mean major modernizations work will need to take place where efficiencies are lacking. Or designing a new facility, which offers the layout, optimum flexibility and environmental performance to meet the constantly changing requirements of digital customers alongside sustainability targets.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software will play an increasingly important role when it comes to data center design and construction, retrofit and helping to improve the efficiency and performance of legacy data centers. It allows the simulation of an endless combination of racks, cabinets, cabling and mechanical and engineering (M&E) equipment, with the anticipated IT load, to ensure optimization. In providing data-driven analysis of the cold and hot air within the data center, CFD analysis also delivers optimized layout recommendations and highlights how energy costs can be reduced by optimising and maximising cooling usage throughout the data center. Such an Environmental Impact Evaluation provides valuable information to help operators reduce energy usage and carbon emissions and will play a critical role in meeting Net Zero data centers.

Modernization is critical
Armed with the data, it’s time for action. And this is where I believe that data center containment solutions can play a critical role – especially as data center owners/operators look to improve both the IT and environmental performance of new and legacy facilities. The benefits are many, and both hot and cold aisle containment solutions optimize the interaction of the cold supply and hot exhaust air within the data center. This eliminates hot spots and significantly reduces the prospect of equipment failure. It also applies to the M&E and the IT hardware, both of which might otherwise be challenged to cope with extreme, unregulated temperatures. Improved reliability is a prerequisite for today’s digital applications.

A new kind of micro data center will emerge, that is truly vendor agnostic, with the user’s choice of data center components

Once installed, containment solutions provide major environmental benefits, including higher cooling supply temperatures, lower CRAC fan speeds, a lower carbon footprint and a lower PUE. Another key containment outcome is significantly reduced energy usage, hence a smaller energy bill. Combined with an energy management and monitoring programme, containment solutions also allow operators to extend the lifecycle of their systems, which is a major sustainability win.

Greater flexibility at the edge
The edge infrastructure market is predicted to surge over the next two years, but today is dominated by small-scale micro data centers which are often pre-populated, single rack solutions. This can mean little flexibility in terms of their make-up, size or ability to scale up a single system in a modular manner and that the key needs of our digital age – flexibility, agility, scalability, speed – may not be met.

We believe that a new kind of micro data center will gain momentum in the coming months, one that can be truly vendor agnostic, and designed with the user’s choice of data center components (power, cooling, racks, cabling, safety systems). Such systems can be provided as standardized, but highly flexible or fully customized solutions, enabling the user to define their edge based on the business requirements. Furthermore, they can offer a 20-30 percent cost saving when compared to a fully containerized micro data center.

As we look towards Net Zero, sustainability and performance demands must be met. It requires greater flexibility in our infrastructure and a data driven approach to design and deployment.

Data Center Containmenthigh performancemicro data centersustainability
It’s Time to Rethink the Concept of Micro Data Centers

It’s Time to Rethink the Concept of Micro Data Centers

Article Featured in Inside_Networks Magazine Page 14-15, Letter to Editor
By: Andy Connor, Director – EMEA Channel

Hi Rob

Data centres that are designed to meet the needs of standard or enterprise business applications are plentiful. Yet flexible and user defined data centres for edge applications, which rely on dynamic real time data delivery, provisioning, processing and storage, are in short supply.

That’s partly because of the uncertainty over which applications demand such infrastructure and over what sort of timeframe. However, there’s also the question of flexibility. Many of today’s existing micro data centre solutions meet a predefined concept of edge or, more accurately, localised, low latency applications, which also require high levels of agility and scalability. This is due to their predetermined or specified approach to design and infrastructure components, often led by the vendor.

To date, the market has been met with small scale edge applications, which have been deployed in pre-populated, containerised solutions. A customer is often required to conform to a standard shape or size and there’s no flexibility in terms of their modularity, components or make-up.

One might argue it comes with the subjective nature of edge computing, which is often shaped to support a vendor defined technology. Standardisation has also been beneficial for our industry, offering several key advantages including the ability to replicate systems across multiple locations. But when it comes to the edge, some standardised systems aren’t built for the customer – they’re a product of vendor collaboration. This is also accompanied by high costs and long lead times.

On the one hand, having a piece of pre-integrated infrastructure with everything in it can undoubtedly solve some pain points, especially where deployment is concerned. But what happens if the customer has their own alliances, their own definition of the edge, or may not need all of the components? What happens if they run out of capacity in one site or need a modular system that scales?

Then those original promises of scalability or flexibility disappear, leaving the customer with just one option – to buy another container. One might consider that rigidity, when it comes to standardisation, can often be detrimental to the customer. The point here is that when it comes to micro data centres, 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 in industrial manufacturing, automotive, telco or colocation environments. But how can users achieve this?

Vendor agnostic and flexible micro data centres are the future for the industry – an approach that builds containment systems around customers’ needs, without forcing their infrastructure to fit into boxes. Users should have the flexibility to utilise their choice of best in class data centre components including the IT stack, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), cooling architecture, racks, cabling or fire suppression systems.

By taking an infrastructure agnostic approach it’s possible to give customers the ability to define their edge, and use standardised and scalable infrastructure in a way that’s truly beneficial to their businesses.

Andy Connor Subzero Engineering

Editor’s comment
Growing data demands are forcing engineers to think creatively about the ways they design and develop data centres. Andy’s point about the rigidity of some micro data centre solutions is pertinent and one that needs to be addressed in order to fully meet the potential of the edge.

Data Center Containmentedgemicro data center
Subzero Engineering Appoints New UK/EMEA Channel Manager

Subzero Engineering Appoints New UK/EMEA Channel Manager

Article Featured in Data Centre Network News

Subzero Engineering has announced it has appointed Craig Brown as its new UK/EMEA Channel Manager. Craig brings with him a wealth of data centre industry and IT Channel expertise, having held a variety of sales, marketing, and management roles throughout his career. Over the past 25 years Craig has worked for some of the industry’s foremost infrastructure vendors, including APC, Anixter, Eaton, Geist and Vertiv, and has been appointed to support Subzero’s expansion strategy as it scales across the EMEA region.

Subzero Engineering’s impressive track record for technology innovation, engineering consultancy, data-driven design, and environmental impact services, combined with its dynamic expansion plans, were a major factor in Craig’s decision to join the company. The company has a strong and demonstrable track record of working with the hyperscale and colocation communities and supporting the digital transformation efforts of world-leading industrial manufacturers, retail, and fashion brands. Craig’s experience of working with the Internet Giants, and with customers of the financial and telco sectors, will be crucial to the company’s efforts.

In his new role, Craig will be responsible for scaling the company’s partner base, building on its engineering, structured cabling, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) partners to drive growth across the region. With technological expertise in thermal dynamics, the data centre powertrain and in white space technologies, he understands the critical role that M&E consultants play in the industry. Further, he will continue to develop the company’s new services offering, which utilises computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software to evaluate and analyse legacy systems and form a data-driven basis on which to build businesses digital transformation and modernisation efforts.

“The data centre industry is one of the world’s most important sectors, and the work of its mechanical and engineering (M&E) professionals is essential, as digitalisation efforts accelerate,” says Craig Brown, UK/EMEA Channel Manager, Subzero Engineering. “I believe our environmental impact services, and innovative approaches to vendor-agnostic data centre solutions, provides our partners with an opportunity to address end-user challenges, add considerable value, and drive long-term growth.”

“I want to build a Channel program which showcases Subzero’s world-class engineering capabilities, which are dynamically delivered and supported with a high-quality service and support package,” he continues. “Our primary ambition, however, is to develop a Channel program that is based on true partnerships, and one which will push the industry to better support its partners.”

“I’m delighted that Craig has joined the company as part of our European expansion plans, bringing the perfect blend of ambition, energy and experience to this key role” says Andy Connor, EMEA Channel Director, Subzero Engineering. “We believe that our technologies offer partners a major opportunity to deliver a true combination of flexibility, modularity, scalability, and sustainability, all of which are crucial to help customers on their digital transformation journeys.”

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.

data centerData Center Containment
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.

atNorthCase StudyData Center Containment
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.

data centerData Center Containmentedgemicro data center
Enhancing Performance with Computational Fluid Dynamics

Enhancing Performance with Computational Fluid Dynamics

Article Featured in Data Centre Review
By: Gordon Johnson, Senior CFD Manager, Subzero Engineering

The current and growing industry focus on sustainability has highlighted the need to work towards energy efficient data center designs, which, in turn, should provide the perfect combination of sustainable operating conditions. The end result being truly optimized data center performance.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) plays a vital role when it comes to data center construction, retrofit, and helping improve the efficiency and performance of legacy data centers. It allows the owner or operator to simulate endless combinations of racks, cabinets, cabling, and mechanical and engineering (M&E) equipment for greater optimization.

The owners and operators of these facilities may not be aware that they are literally blowing a lot of (unnecessary) cold air into the aisles in order to keep the servers, switches, routers, and the storage units cool. What they will know, however, is that this wasted air is wasted money. Worse still, emissions will be increased, hot spots will remain an issue, and they will eventually experience equipment failures.

Many data center managers know that something has to change to overcome this unsustainable situation, but they may not have a plan or strategy. This is where CFD is critical.

CFD is essentially an MRI of the data center, and when it comes to informed decision-making, the mantra ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’ still holds strong. However, in the case of CFD, ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it’ may be more appropriate.

What is a CFD analysis?
CFD software creates a 3D model of the physical attributes within a data center, as well as the location and performance characteristics of the cooling units, IT equipment, power systems, and other significant components of the data center.

This ‘data center MRI’ provides a complete, detailed thermal understanding of the data center, providing insight relating to the physical layout of the space and equipment; the power equipment thermal dissipation and rack power density; environmental conditions; cooling capacity and air distribution effectiveness.  This is the baseline model or the “as is” snapshot of how the data center is currently operating.

From the information obtained, additional CFD modeling will recommend how to optimize the operating environment while reducing energy and maximizing efficiency.

Many key benefits of CFD analysis include assessment of the data center layout and its performance; validation of proposed design changes, considerations for efficiency and reliability; accurate prediction/simulation of the cooling design process; the ability to assess temperature and airflow modeling; and reconditions for a cost-effective and energy efficient design.

CFD provides clarity
A data center CFD analysis provides the visibility that is essential when it comes to understanding both your existing operating environment and any potential design changes. CFD can also be used to test out ‘what if’ scenarios when it comes to new data center construction or modernization projects.

In essence, a CFD provides detailed, data-driven analysis of the cold supply air and the hot exhaust air throughout the data center, and identifies the potential overheating of IT equipment “hot spots”. Such analysis highlights the way in which energy costs can be reduced by optimizing and maximizing data center cooling. CFD is a tool used to virtually test legacy (and new) data center environments for active temperature, pressure and airflow, and to optimize the mechanical system directly to server heat loads (kW).

Armed with data from the CFD analysis, a suitably experienced technology partner, such as Subzero Engineering, can advise customers on impactful data center design changes, upgrades, or tweaks to improve operating improvements – all of which will help optimize and reduce energy usage.

For example, CFD modeling can demonstrate what impact a cold aisle containment (CAC) system will have versus a hot aisle containment (HAC) system. It will advise which method will save more energy, full or partial containment. After containment is installed, it will show if computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units can be turned off and how low fan speeds can be reduced on computer room air handlers (CRAHs). Finally, it will also inform the user on how high the operating temperature can be increased, while following the recommended thermal guidelines from AHSRAE.

The end result is that CFD based design improvements will provide customers with significant PUE, WUE, KW, kWh, carbon, and water reductions.

A logical conclusion
One of the major benefits of using CFD modeling and analysis is that it can quickly demonstrate how a containment solution will immediately reduce a data center’s energy cost and lower its environmental footprint.

Regardless of which type of containment is used, large energy savings can be achieved by optimizing the airflow and raising the supply temperature, while simultaneously eliminating hotspots. Additionally, containment improves the benefits and economic feasibility of other efficiency measures, such as digital scroll compressors, electronic commutation (EC) and variable speed drives, data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software, and building controls.

Further, by separating the cold supply air from the hot exhaust air, containment saves energy, thus reducing operating costs. Yes, there is the initial investment cost of installing the containment solution, but the potential return on investment (ROI) of 10-14 months means that, very quickly, end-users will achieve payback. What’s more, from that point onwards, they’ll be saving energy, reducing operating expenditure (OpEX) money, and reducing carbon emissions to become more sustainable.

A savings summary
Since 2015, we’ve kept track of the various savings we have achieved for our customers through the careful, considered optimization of their data center environments. The numbers are impressive: our customers have saved just under 3.5 billion Kilowatt hours, reduced water consumption by one and a half billion gallons and have a total carbon reduction of over 3.2 million tons – the equivalent of planting 17 million trees.

Along the way, we’ve also been able to help customers achieve up to a 29% energy cost reduction, and been able to reduce PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) by an average of 0.4 and WUE (Water Usage Effectiveness) by an average of 0.3.

Subzero Engineering believes that a data-driven approach to digital infrastructure is essential and thanks to the use of CFD, we can simultaneously help our customers increase data center density, operating efficiency, and environmental sustainability by implementing optimized containment solutions.

However you choose to address the challenge and opportunity of improving the efficiency of your data center, it’s essential that CFD is used as a key tool in this process. Without CFD, whether you choose to implement an optimization program yourself, or to engage with a technology partner, you’ll neither be able to understand how your data center is performing right now, nor what improvements can be made into the future.

CFDComputational Fluid Dynamicsdata centerData Center Containmnetdata center performance
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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