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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.

AisleFrameCold Aisle Containmentdata centerData Center ContainmentData Center Infrastructure Managementedgeedge data centerEssential Micro Data CenterHot Aisle ContainmentInfrastructure Conveyancemicro data center
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.

AisleFrameCold Aisle ContainmentData Center ContainmentData Center Infrastructure Managementedgeedge data centerEssential Micro Data CenterHot Aisle ContainmentInfrastructure Conveyancemicro data center
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.

ContainmentData Center Containmentdata center efficiencyedgeedge computingedge data centerefficientinfrastructuremicro data centerscalablesustainable
Containment Helps Data Centers Go Green

Containment Helps Data Centers Go Green

A Subzero White Paper by Gordon Johnson

Data centers are a huge part of today’s economy, with both businesses and people connected 24/7. However, along with this usage comes a huge drain on our energy resources. Recent studies show that energy consumed by data centers in the U.S. alone has doubled over the last five years. With the growth of cloud computing and High Performance Computing (HPC) and the energy required to operate them, this trend is not disappearing anytime soon. Fortunately, many realize that this high level of energy consumption cannot continue indefinitely, and the push for greener and more environmentally friendly data centers is being taken seriously.

What can data center and facility managers do to stop this runaway train? While there are several options to get greener and thus lower the overall cost to operate a data center, this paper specifically focuses on containment. Why? Containment is the fastest, easiest, and most cost effective strategy to going green while simultaneously lowering operating costs without adding additional CapEx to the data center. In addition, containment makes other options either possible or economically feasible. This paper will show why this is true, while discussing the following topics:

  • Why Being Green Matters
  • Containment is the Smallest Action with the Greatest Outcome
  • Containment = High Efficiency = Green Data Center
  • Containment’s Role in HPC
  • Efficiency: Full Containment Versus Partial Containment
  • Efficiency: Cold Aisle Containment Versus Hot Aisle Containment
  • CFD Predicts Energy Savings & Environmental Footprint

Read the full white paper.

 

About the Author
Gordon Johnson is the Senior CFD Engineer at Subzero Engineering, and is responsible for planning and managing all CFD related jobs in the U.S. and worldwide. He has over 25 years of experience in the data center industry which includes data center energy efficiency assessments, CFD modeling, and disaster recovery. He is a certified U.S. Department of Energy Data Center Energy Practitioner (DCEP), a certified Data Centre Design Professional (CDCDP), and holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology. Gordon also brings his knowledge and ability to teach the fundamentals of data center energy efficiency to numerous public speaking events annually.

ContainmentData Center ContainmentEnergy EfficiencyPUEroi
Data Center Containment 101

Data Center Containment 101

A Subzero White Paper by Gordon Johnson

Regardless of if we’re entering a data center for the first time or have been doing so for
years, most data centers have something in common. As you walk through rows of racks,
you’ll alternate between cold and hot aisles. You’ll hear expressions like “CRACs”, “PUE”,
“White Space”, “Cold Aisle Containment”, “Hot Aisle Containment”, and many more. The
purpose of this White Paper is to assist those new to the data center and those assigned
with making key decisions to get the most out of existing “legacy” and newly designed data
centers.

Since energy efficiency and data reliability are key goals for anyone managing or associated
with data centers, how can we achieve both in the shortest amount of time while getting
the quickest ROI (Return of Investment)? When is it more appropriate to use one type of
containment instead of another type? Which saves more money? This paper will answer
these and other questions.

Read the full white paper.

About the Author
Gordon Johnson is the Senior CFD Engineer at Subzero Engineering, and is responsible
for planning and managing all CFD related jobs in the U.S. and worldwide. He has over
25 years of experience in the data center industry which includes data center energy
efficiency assessments, CFD modeling, and disaster recovery. He is a certified U.S.
Department of Energy Data Center Energy Practitioner (DCEP), a certified Data Centre
Design Professional (CDCDP), and holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
from New Jersey Institute of Technology. Gordon also brings his knowledge and ability
to teach the fundamentals of data center energy efficiency to numerous public speaking
events annually.

ContainmentData Center ContainmentEnergy EfficiencyPUEroi
Containment’s Role in Energy Efficiency and Rapid ROI

Containment’s Role in Energy Efficiency and Rapid ROI

A Subzero White Paper by Gordon Johnson

Everyone today is interested in saving money, and that’s especially true in data centers. Between the cost of electricity and the increasing trend for higher power densities per rack (20 kW and above is no longer uncommon), the desire to be energy efficient and to reduce cost on the annual utility bill is a major concern throughout the data center industry.

So what can be done to save energy and thus save money? How can we lower our PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) while increasing energy efficiency without sacrificing reliability? What technology will deliver a rapid ROI, often between 6 and 18 months? Containment is the answer.

How does containment provide energy savings for data centers? Is there a way to estimate the annual savings and PUE for containment installations? This White Paper will provide an answer to these questions.

Read the full white paper.

 

About the Author
Gordon Johnson is the Senior CFD Engineer at Subzero Engineering, and is responsible for planning and managing all CFD related jobs in the U.S. and worldwide. He has over 25 years of experience in the data center industry which includes data center energy efficiency assessments, CFD modeling, and disaster recovery. He is a certified U.S. Department of Energy Data Center Energy Practitioner (DCEP), a certified Data Centre Design Professional (CDCDP), and holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology. Gordon also brings his knowledge and ability to teach the fundamentals of data center energy efficiency to numerous public speaking events annually.

ContainmentData Center ContainmentEnergy EfficiencyPUEroi
AisleFrame from Subzero – The Scalable Containment System

AisleFrame from Subzero – The Scalable Containment System

Build Faster, Build Better

AisleFrame by Subzero takes a simplistic approach to a typically complex design. The flexible system is designed to provide a complete solution for not only aisle containment, but also provide a sleek floor-supported platform that serves as the infrastructure carrier for busway, cable tray, and fiber runner.

AisleFrame delivers and endless array of fixing options for cable tray, fiber runner, busway, and more.

Fast design, manufacturing, and installation times are all expertly handled by Subzero.

AisleFrame is a completely customizable freestanding support structure, built to support your critical environment from the ground up.

Subzero will ensure your AisleFrame addresses all your specific deployment needs from Engineering to Implementation.

For more information on AisleFrame click here.

AisleFrameData Center ContainmentHot Aisle Containmenthyperscalescalable containmentscalable data centers
NYC Raises the Roof

NYC Raises the Roof

New York City Approves the Polar Cap 2 Retractable Roof

In a Buildings Bulletin dated October 19, 2016, NYC Buildings Department establishes acceptance criteria for retractable-type horizontal cold aisle containment systems installed in information technology equipment areas.

The installation of a retractable-type horizontal cold aisle containment system installed in information technology equipment areas (horizontal cold aisle containment system) is used to minimize the consumption of energy by providing an overhead thermal containment barrier used to create a cold aisle. However, the overhead containment barrier may obstruct the performance of code-required fire suppression systems (BC Chapter 9). This bulletin establishes acceptance criteria for horizontal cold aisle containment compliance with the NYC Construction Codes.

Read the Buildings Bulletin

 

The Subzero Polar Cap 2 is a fully electric roof system that retracts into a metal housing when the fire suppression system is alarmed. Having a pre-action system that reacts to a smoke detector will ensure that the containment roof is fully retracted long before the fire suppression system is discharged. Additionally, the roof material meets the stringent flame and smoke requirements of ASTM E-84 Class A Rating. The Polar Cap 2 can also be manually opened and closed when maintenance is required above the containment space.

Learn More About the Polar Cap 2

ASTM E-84Buildings BulletinCold Aisle ContainmentData Center ContainmentNew York CityNYCNYC Buildings DepartmentNYC Construction CodesPolar Cap 2Retractable Roofretractable-type containmentroof systemSubzeroSubzero Engineering
Warming the Data Center

Warming the Data Center

For decades the idea of running a hot or warm data center was unthinkable; driving data center managers to create a ”meat locker” like environment – the colder, the better.

Today, the idea of running a warm data center has finally gotten some traction. Major companies like eBay, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are now operating their data centers at temperatures higher than what was considered possible only a few years ago.

Why? And more importantly… How?

The “why” is easy.
For every degree the set point is raised, the cost of cooling the servers goes down 4%-8% depending on the data center location and cooling design. Additionally, some data centers can take advantage of free cooling cycles when the server intake temperatures increase. This is of course taking into account the manufacturers recommended temperature settings, and not surpassing them.

Now on to the “how”. Or we might ask why now? What changed?
The answer has to do with the ability to provide a consistent server intake temperature. Inconsistent intake temperatures are a result of return and supply airflows mixing. When this happens it creates “hot spots”, which causes cooling problems. Without a consistent supply temperature the highest temperature in those “hot spots” would determine the data center cooling set point temperature, resulting in a lower set point.

A few years ago containment was introduced to the data center industry. Containment fully separates supply and return airflow, which eliminates “hot spots” and creates a consistent intake temperature. Containment is the key to accomplishing consistent intake temperatures. With consistent intake temperatures data center managers can increase cooling set points, creating a warmer data center. A warmer data center means less money spent on cooling costs.

Airflow ManagementConsistent Intake TemperaturesData Center ContainmentHot SpotsRaise Set PointSubzero EngineeringThe World's Hottest Data Centerswarmer data center
Let Subzero help make your data center more efficient.

Let Subzero help make your data center more efficient.

Our team of experts can design a custom data center solution that can be installed in just a few weeks.

• Hot & Cold Aisle Containment
• Isolated Equipment Containment
• CFDs (Computational Fluid Dynamics)
• Power
• Cabinets
• Energy Assessments

Cabinets

The Subzero Arctic Enclosure was designed to support the dynamic needs of today’s data centers by supporting airflow management needs out of the box. This enclosure can support all types of data center demands from low density, to high density; data closets, to enterprise data centers.

• 81%+ Open Perforation Pattern
• All 5 Airflow Areas Sealed
• Chimney Cabinets Available
• Static Weight Load Capacity: 3,000 lbs.
• Dynamic Weight Load Capacity: 2,400 lbs.
• Available in white, black & color matching

InfraStrut Technology
Four sides of 1-5/8″ strut on the top of each cabinet can connect cable trays, power equipment, and containment systems. Spring nuts used for drill-free and easy installation.

 

Power

Subzero now combines our cutting edge containment and cabinet solutions with power management. These items combined create the most powerful ‘plug and play’ solution in the industry. Over 200 configurations of the Polar PDUs are available to be custom configured.

• Remote Monitoring and Alarms
• Easy To Read Central Display
• Secure Array – Connect Up To 32 PDUs
• Quick and Easy Network Setup
• HAC Ready – High Temperature Rating Up To 149°F
• Basic Polar PDU
• Monitored Polar PDU
• Monitored Plus Polar PDU
• Switched Polar PDU
• Switched Plus Polar PDU

 

Containment

Subzero’s cutting edge containment is custom built to meet our customer’s most daunting challenges. Hot Aisle Containment, Cold Aisle Containment, Isolated Equipment Containment, Doors, Roofs, Retractable Roofs, Floor Panels, Above Rack Panels… We have your data center covered.
Containment Benefits

• Reduced Energy Consumption
• Increased Rack Population
• Increased Equipment Up-time
• Longer Hardware Life
• Increased Cooling Capacity
• Consistent Acceptable Supply to IT Intake
• More Power Available for IT Equipment

Cold Aisle Containmentdata centerdata center cabinetsData Center Containmentdata center racksHot Aisle ContainmentInfraStrut TechnologyPDUPolar PDUPower ManagementSubzeroSubzero Engineering