Wave2Wave Intros Portable 'Data Center-In-A-Box' Solutions

As an alternative to traditional, fixed data centers, Wave2Wave Solutions has introduced a series of portable, data center-in-a-box solutions.

Wave2Wave, originally a China-based manufacturer of IT cables and wavelength management accessories, is entering the portable data center enclosure business with solutions manufactured in its Milpitas, Calif.-based headquarters, said Steve Wong, director of marketing for the company.

The company is not looking to replace traditional data centers with its modular data center solutions, Wong said. Instead, it is providing an alternative for IT customers who may already have one or more data centers in place and who are looking to house part of their IT infrastructure outside those data centers, he said.

"If you build a new data center today, you'll rack your brains over the design costs, building costs, and operating costs," he said. "With our system, this is not an issue."

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Going with modular data center-in-a-box solutions can mean major cost savings, in many cases, for customers, Wong said.

For instance, because the infrastructure, construction, and future capacity costs of a traditional data center are eliminated, the Wave2Wave solutions could result in decreased capital costs of up to 80 percent, he said.

Operating costs can be reduced by 40 percent to 65 percent because of reduced electricity costs, floor space, and maintenance, he said.

Wave2Wave introduced three data center-in-a-box solutions which can be used for disaster recovery, cloud computing, remote office, mobile SAN, or military or security applications, Wong said.

The first is the w-MetroExpress, a 24U enclosure with the ability to handle a 2.5-kWh IT power load and NEMA (National Electronics Manufacturing Association) level 12 electrical protection for indoors use. The company also offers a NEMA 4 option for use outdoors, Wong said.

The w-MetroExpress, which sits on wheels for portability, also has an optional battery-powered drive train option which allows it to be easily moved up to 10 miles on a single charge, he said.

The second model, the w-MetroMono, features a 36U rack for industry-standard, high-density server and storage blades, as well as 6U of rack space on the side for network switches and KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) devices. This unit does not have wheels. It can handle power loads of up to 12 kWhs, Wong said.

The third is the w-MetroVault, a 22U enclosure which is rated NEMA 3R for electrical protection and which is armor plated for use in hostile environments. "It can withstand a crush force of up to 70,000 pound, or a .30-cal bullet, making it ideal for military or similar applications," he said.

The three enclosures, which can be configured with industry-standard rack mount servers, storage, and networking equipment, feature closed loop cooling which separates air inside the enclosures from the outside air, Wong said.

"The air conditioning unit is outside the enclosures," he said. "The main enclosures are sealed. When the AC on the outside runs, it pulls warm air inside the enclosure through, cools it, and sends it back. Outside and inside air is not mixed."

That is an important part of keeping costs down, Wong said.

"A lot of people don't realize that the cost to operate a data center is a lot more than the acquisition cost," he said. "About 75 percent of the power used for cooling a data center is wasted. Only about 25 percent of cooling makes it to the items being cooled. We switched that ratio around with our w-Metro family."

Next: Keeping The Data Centers Cool, Secure

Traditional data centers cool IT racks by putting them in a big room and cooling the room, Wong said. "Ours put the storage, servers, networking, and other equipment inside the enclosure to keep them cool efficiently," he said.

The w-MetroMono also includes a mission-critical venting system in which a battery-operated vent on the side and top open and a battery-operated fan pulls room air through the enclosure in case of main power loss, giving the servers the chance to power down without overheating, Wong said.

All three models also have as an option Wave2Wave's CyberLock Multi-tier Security System, which is an electric lock that provides secure access to all front, side, and back doors. "Customers can assign permissions to individual users with access to the inside," Wong said. "They can set permissions according to day of week, or time of day, or even to the distance which a unit can be moved by the battery-powered drive train."

Wave2Wave also provides a couple of fire safety options.

The first is an active fire suppression system with fire extinguishers which use 3M's non-toxic Novec 1230 dielectric fluid. "If there's a fire inside, and the enclosures reach a certain temperature, this floods the enclosure with the Novec fluid to put out the fire without damaging the equipment," Wong said. "If you use water or a regular fire extinguisher, the equipment will be destroyed."

The second is fire-proof Aerogel insulation, which protects the enclosure against heat of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, he said.

Wave2Wave is initially launching its data center-in-a-box solutions in North America, and is currently reaching out to customers directly and through individual sales rep firms, Wong said. Later this year, as it starts to open sales to other areas, it will add a distribution channel, he said.

The company will eventually use solution providers, and is looking at how to do so, Wong said. "We have historically used manufacturer reps for our products, so this why we are using the route to market initially," he said.