Data Center Knowledge


AOL’s Outdoor Micro Data Centers Weather Sandy

By Rich Miller

AOL’s outdoor servers performed flawlessly during SuperStorm Sandy, demonstrating the durability of the company’s new micro-data center, the company said this week.

The storm marked the first serious test of AOL’s new unmanned data centers, which are part of the company’s ambitious plan to reshape its infrastructure. The first unit entered production in July on a concrete slab outside an AOL data center in Dulles, Virginia. Although conditions in Virginia were nowhere near the severity of the storm’s impact further north in New Jersey and New York, Sandy brought heavy wind and tropical storm force winds to the area.

….“The R.A.S.E.R. DX performed wonderfully through Hurricane Sandy,” said Scott Killian, Senior Tech Director, Data Center Services at AOL. “We experienced no hardware issues or alerts from our NOC, nor did we find any issues with the unit leaking.”

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AOL’s Outdoor Micro Data Center, Designed by Elliptical Mobile Solutions Withstands Sandy

As Hurricane Sandy rolled into the Eastern Seaboard, Elliptical Mobile Solutions’ R.A.S.E.R. DX, purchased by AOL, sat on a concrete slab outside its data center in Dulles, VA, running at full production, impervious to the incredible wind, tumultuous rain, and storm related damage everywhere.

While the conditions in Dulles were nowhere near the severity of the conditions that impacted New Jersey and New York, problems experienced by data centers there could have been mitigated or completely eliminated using Elliptical Mobile Solutions (EMS) Micro-Modular Data Center platform….

“We’ve created a mobile data center that stands up to the stress of the outdoors and delivers high performance at the same time,” said Tony Cole, CEO of EMS. “Our Micro-Modular Data Centers offer the most viable and versatile solution on the market today.”

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CSIAC – HPC news for supercomputing professionals


AOL Moves Micro Data Centers (MDCs) Powered by Penguin Computing Into Production

AOL, Inc. and Penguin Computing today announced that AOL has successfully moved its first outside Micro Data Center (MDC) into production. The system currently handles about 20% of the traffic to AOL’s main website AOL’s MDCs are small ‘Data Centers in a Box’. There are two MDC versions: one for outdoor, one for indoor use. Each MDC unit is self sufficient and includes high density servers and storage nodes from Penguin Computing’s Relion product line as well as PDU’s, switches, load balancers and external hookups for power and networking. The outdoor MDC is housed in a ruggedized 42U rack-size enclosure provided by Elliptical Mobile Solutions that is NEMA 3 rated and protects against fire, water, humidity and vandalism. It is cooled by a direct expansion cooling module integrated with the enclosure, and has an option for using air-side economization.

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Loose Bolts


On Micro Datacenters, Sandy, Supercomputing 2012, and Coding for Containerized Data Centers

By Mike Manos, CTO of AOL

….I As I mentioned before, Super Storm Sandy threw us another curveball as the hurricane crashed into the Mid-Atlantic. While Virginia was not hit anywhere near as hard as New York and New Jersey, there were incredible sustained winds, tumultuous rains, and storm related damage everywhere. Through it all, our outdoor version of the MDC weathered the storm just fine and continued serving traffic for without fail.

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The Storage Effect – All Things Storage


Spoke too soon – AOL wants Data Centers to be smaller too

By Mark Wojtasiak, Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Seagate

Yesterday, I posted, “Computers are getting smaller, but data centers are getting bigger.” Perhaps, I spoke too soon given AOL’s recent blog that has garnered much attention in the cloud space… think about the capabilities of moving cloud compute capabilities even closer to the edge. Having your compute and storage resources closer to your business without being inside your business could be a game changer. Of course, you would want to ensure some level of disaster recovery or data center mirroring to ensure an act of nature does not take out your building and your data center…that would defeat one of the principle values of moving your compute and storage off premise.  But, the game changing element of smaller data centers is obvious: mobility.  Just like tablets and smartphones, the opportunity to utilize data center resources anywhere, anytime, and for any purpose is appealing. And it may just open up even more new business opportunities like ‘Community-in-a-box’ as suggested in the GigaOM post. The opportunities could be endless

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Meet the Company Buiding AOL’s Micro Data Centers

By Derrick Harris

Elliptical Mobile Solutions is hardly a household name in the data center world, but don’t bet against it becoming one. The Chandler, Ariz.-based company that started inside a founder’s garage builds one of the world’s smallest data centers and has already secured some big-name customers including,most famously, AOL. While bigger data centers seem to be better for webscale companies such as Google and Facebook, many are happy to grow on a lot smaller scale — about 105 cubic feet at a time.lar and mobile space to provide fast growth.

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Loose Bolts, Thoughts on Cloud Computing, Infrastructure at Scale, and Data Centers


AOL’s Data Center Independence Day

By Mike Manos, CTO of AOL

….The Micro Data Center strategy built out with the latest, our most dense server standards and infrastructure would allow us to have 5X the amount of total TCC in less than 10% of the cost and physical footprint.   If you think about how this will allow us to aggregate and grow over time it ultimately drives us to a VERY LOW operational cost structure for delivering our products and services.   Additionally it positions us for the future in very significant ways.

  • It redefines software architecture for greater resiliency
  • It allows us an incredibly flexible platform for driving and addressing privacy laws, regulatory oversight, and other such concerns allowing us to respond rapidly.
  • It further reduces energy consumption and carbon footprint emissions (important as taxation evolves around the world, as well as ongoing operational costs)
  • Gives us the ability to drive Edge Computing delivery to potentially bypass CDNs for certain content.
  • Gives us the capability to drive ‘Community-in-a-box’ whereby we can quickly launch new products in markets, quickly expand existing footprints like Patch in a low cost, but still hyper-local platform, allow the Huffington Post a platform to rapidly partner and enter new markets with minimal cost turn ups.
  • The fact that the technology mix in our SKUs is comprised of compute, storage, and network capacity maximizes the amount of products and services we can deploy to it.

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Phoenix Business Journal


Data Center Industry is Going Mobile – Two Valley companies leading the pack: IO and Elliptical Mobile

By Patrick O’Grady

Phoenix’s niche in the data center market is expanding as two regionally based companies eye the modular and mobile space to provide fast growth.

Elliptical Mobile Solutions LLC is targeting a smaller business market with several modular products, and IO is developing products aimed at larger users that want to keep their data close, but still want room to grow.

“It’s kind of our vision that within the long term, whether that’s five or 10 years, all the data centers being installed have some form of modular equipment,” said Bill Stockwell, CEO of Chandler-based Elliptical.

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Data Center Knowledge


Hot Water? Three Projects Making it Work.

By Rich Miller

….Recent testing found that Elliptical Mobile’s newest enclosure can cool high-density loads using water in a range of 65 degrees all the way up to 85 degrees. The R.A.S.E.R. HD is a 42U enclosure designed to handle IT loads from 20 kW to 80 kW.

The testing was conducted at the United Metal Products facility in Tempe, Arizona, with the enclosures placed outdoors on a 100-degree day. The testing used a 23kW load bank to simulate IT loads, and found the unit was able to maintain a server inlet temperature around 85 degrees after the water temperature was raised to 85 degrees.

The cooling system for R.A.S.E.R. HD consists of an air loop and a water loop. The fans of the cooling unit draw warm air from the rear section of the cabinet and into an air/water heat exchanger. The air is cooled and then blown into the front area of the cabinet. Inside the air/water heat exchanger, the heat energy of the warm air is transferred to the medium of water. The heat exchanger is connected to an external reciprocal chiller unit, where the water is cooled again.

In this video, Scott Good of gkworks provides an overview of the testing and a closer look at the enclosures in action

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San Francisco Chronicle


Elliptical Mobile Solutions Accepted Into Con Edison’s Market Partner Network for Energy Efficiency Program

Elliptical Mobile Solutions, the global leader in energy efficient, cost-effective Micro-Modular Data Centers announced it was recently accepted as a Market Partner for the Con Edison Commercial and Industrial (C&I) Energy Efficiency Program. The plan provides cash rebates and incentives to encourage companies to reduce energy consumption.”

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Yahoo Finance


Leading Analyst Firm Research Identifies Elliptical Mobile Solutions Among the Key Players in Modular Data Center Market

A recent report, by Gartner Research Vice President Jeff Hewitt, identified Elliptical Mobile Solutions (EMS) as a key player in today’s modular data center market.

The report, titled “Competitive Landscape — Modular Data Center Solutions,” published on March 23rd said, “A number of competitors offer noncontainer modular data center solutions to provide increased installation, power, and cooling efficiencies for data center infrastructure.”

“We are pleased that Gartner recognized our solutions within the modular data center market,” said Tony Cole, Vice President of North American Sales at EMS. “Having affirmation from the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company is exciting and we believe provides confirmation that our products are viable solutions for many different client use cases.”

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San Francisco Chronicle


EMS Brings Standardization Process to the Data Center Industry

A recent white paper written by Director of Critical Facilities Scott Good of GKK works said Elliptical Mobile Solutions (EMS) is driving data center designs in a manner that is equal to the standardization process that Henry Ford introduced to the car manufacturing industry in the 1920s. Good wrote the white paper after completing secondary alpha testing on EMS’ newest rack-level, container based data center, the R.A.S.E.R. HD.

Good noted that the data center industry has always been reactive to the needs of IT. “Designs today are developed to make space readily available ahead of the business need and at a great expense to any one industry.”

With the R.A.S.E.R. HD, “developing entire data center solutions can now be packaged into standardized deliverable systems. These systems are coupled together on site and brought online, pre commissioned, and burned in from a software readiness standpoint.”

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