Vapor.IO -> HoneyComb DCs coming up

I came across Vapor.io and instantly got intrigued by its circular chamber based data-center layout which is in stark contrast to the typical long rows of racks. I would suggest a quick view of the impressive introductory video by the CEO before reading further:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY1ck6f3jZY

The first thing that strikes in this solution is the cool looking chamber which up close looks like a kiln but with a very different purpose. This solution seeks to replace the traditional racks in the data-center with the chamber which in turn is fundamentally six racks arranged in a circular fashion with their front facing outward. The Gaps in turn are sealed in a manner that heat is transferred to the center and then sucked upwards by the cooling system. This way exhaust is focused on the chambers’ center. The cooling for the DC remains in the traditional manner….Actual implementations may change based on the current cooling system’s design available in the facility and according to the video the chamber being added to existing DCs would improve PUE [Definition , How to calculate] .

Further they also seem to have adopted OpenCompute standards for their racks and will be using DC Bus Bars to power the servers. I’ve always pondered that Everything from the Motherboard to the fans run on DC but every server manufacturer pushes a AC Power Unit to power the server …AC Power units while converting AC to DC waste 20-30% of energy. This 20% adds to the Heating introduced into the DC. I’m a supporter of DC Electronics and do like this move from vapor.io.

Vapor.io also have their own open (as in free) IPMI solution called openDCRE to monitor the Power and cooling of the chamber….If you want ready to use, user friendly solution then they have the not so free Vapore Core solution for chamber management.

Now for things that may not work in vapor.io’s favor:

  • The chamber’s heat concentrating mechanism could make regular physical server maintenance a hazardous job. Imagine the situation where a engineer needs to replace a network cable and he is faced by hot air from six racks full of server concentrated on his face…Not a job I would take without protective gear…
  • OpenCompute adoption is yet to take off in a big way right now … In an environment where IT has halted all investments on physical DCs and instead focusing on Cloud solutions, this may not find great favor in the Enterprise market….CSPs on the other hand have no reason not to love this solution.
  • DC power strategy only reduces the loss of Power into heat in a distributed manner, the Central PDU would still be ensuring that the loss happens but cooling will be more efficient.. The gains unfortunately may not be much. On the other hand Using Revewable energy like Solar, Wind, Tidal etc which are DC from the Source could be used more efficiently in the vapor.io solution …of course if they are located very close to/ in the dc facility…DC is still by default lossy when transported over long distances…L
  • CEO needs better PR. Don’t know why Cole Crawford has an angry face in all videos… Not very Salesy… Mr Cole, Sales Guys need to smile to sell your awesome product
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