When we think of Data Centers, we usually visualize large sexy facilities with row upon row of servers neatly arranged in aisles, often glowing under blue and green Hollywood style lighting!
That's not what I'm going to blog about today.....
I'm going to talk about the "Micro" data center. There's a niche market - small, but out there nevertheless, that focuses on a few racks, sometimes a few servers bundled in an enclosure that's either simply secured or elaborately weather tight. It makes sense for certain applications where the need for deploying IT servers is choked by the facility's ability to provide proper space, power or cooling. The idea is that the enclosure is environmentally isolated, fully cooled and powered, and tightly secured. It can be assembled in a factory, tested, shipped and dropped anywhere ready for plug and play.
They are branded as:
- Micro Data Centers,
- Data Centers in a Row,
- Tactical Mobile Data Center
The market for Micro Data Centers was somewhat limited to isolated clients with needs for HPC rapid deployments. That is until 2012 when FAA and AOL announced plans to install Micro Data Centers provided by Elliptical Mobile Solutions on a large scale. (FAA in April 2013 and AOL in July 2012). The news was well publicized but we didn't see a stampede of other companies anxiously signing similar deals. I would say much of the current interest is driven by the military with demand for tactical mobile high performance computing needs. Servers in vault-like enclosure that can be transported to remote locations and can withstand harsh weather conditions.
But maybe I'm mistaken so your input is welcome.
I'll say a closing remark here before adding the list of vendors. As energy windows from ASHRAE are widened (think ambient cooling minus chillers, large UPS') and software applications for this type of install are worked out, I see a growing contender worthy of consideration.
Who's currently out there in the world of Micro Data Centers; below is a list of several selected vendors but is by no means inclusive of this niche industry.
1. Elliptical Mobile Solutions takes the lead in this arena. They offer indoor/outdoor solutions and have demonstrated demand for their product.
2. Emerson Liebert SmartRow TM.
3. SGI Mobirack
4. MicroTech MicroPodd
5. Black Box Climate Cabinets.
6. Huawei. Small Modular Data Center.
8. Rittal. Data Center Container.
9. Fire & Ice
If I missed a vendor, please chime in and add your comments!