Is your Building, “The Edge”

Continued from last weeks article

Vapor IO’s Kinetic Edge relies on its combination of software and high-speed connectivity in order to bring numerous micro data center facilities into one virtual facility with multiple availability zones. Modules are brought together via high-speed fiber across a collection of data centers. Similar to the “availability zone” approach Amazon Web Services uses, Vapor IO’s design creates a bunch of local data centers that can hand off data and traffic easily.

Edge Computing

According to Crawford, the infrastructure will be appealing to developers, who can use the company’s API’s to create “edge native” applications that are responsive to the  changing environmental conditions and can deliver features like software-based failover and real-time load balancing. The process also includes workload migration for devices in motion. This element is crucial in helping self-driving cars as they will go through numerous networks at high speeds. Prototype installation for the Vapor Edge Module and Kinetic Edge is already happening in the Chicago area, according to Crawford.

“We are deploying Kinetic Edge right now,” Crawford told Data Frontier Center. “We will be delivering Vapor Edge modules in 2018 in new markets. We start by placing multiple Vapor edge data centers in a geographic region, spaced 15 to 20 kilometers apart. We then connect them with high speed fiber so that our software can stitch these sites together into a highly-reliable and customizable edge presence that can span an entire city or region.”

In terms of reliability, the company says its Kinetic Edge concept builds upon software-based reliability systems that hyperscale providers use. These providers can shift workloads between data centers to sidestep outages and decrease reliance on redundant equipment every data center. When multiple data centers are connected with a low-latency network, the data can move more easily between locations. Meanwhile, software monitoring environmental conditions can copy workloads, so there’s no single point of failure.

According to Crawford, the design permits a Kinetic Edge installation with five sites to deliver 12 “nines” of availability without the costs that come with copying critical infrastructure at all of the sites.

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On the hardware side of the equation, Vapor IO revealed its Vapor Edge Module. This multi-tenant modular data center is optimized to provide colocation services at telecom towers’ bases. It can support 150 kW of capacity in an N+1 design with generator support, or up to 200 kw in an N configuration without a generator.

The design features a module for housing racks and interconnection equipment and another module for cooling. This way, the company can deploy a variety of cooling modules depending on the climate. The cooling module options are direct expansion (refrigerant), chilled water or adiabatic economizers.

Other design features include power distribution, cooling, fire suppression, security and racking systems for information technology (IT) equipment. It can even operate in “lights out” mode when staff is not around. The IT equipment lives in a Vapor Chamber, an enclosure that can support six racks set up in a ring. Outside cool air comes in and waste heat is contained in a central verticle column, which lets airflow be managed without a lot of fans.

The module design sees each Vapor Chamber rest on a motorized turntable that can rotate 180 degrees in each direction so it can position racks in a service access alcove. The alcove is only as wide as the rack opening. The setup offers security and decreases how much space is needed to house and service the equipment simultaneously. Tenants may lease capacity in partial rack increments as the racks have locking doors on them.

Vapor IO software will continuously monitor the critical environment and make automatic adjustments based on the actual IT load. The software supports remote operations and security through an API and a web-based application lets operators monitor numerous locations, build dashboard, create reports and do enhanced remote hands operations.

The Vapor Edge Module can be delivered on an 18-wheeeler and can fit under just about any bridge, according to Crawford. Being able to transfer the modules without complications is key, and Crown Castle operates 40,000 mobile access locations throughout the United States. Crawford is also confident the company’s module will be attractive to land owners, building owners, infrastructure providers and anyone else who wants to build an edge presence right away.

“We’ve removed vast amounts of complexity and cost, and designed this to be multi-tenant,” he said. “What we’ve done is moved the carrier hotel, metro office and data center to the edge.”

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