Why you should use micro data centers

Micro data centers are an innovation designed to bring data processing back to the user end. In the past, businesses and organisations that required large amounts of data processing would do so using their own on-site data centers; these were often large specialised computing facilities that took up swathes of floor space or were housed in their own dedicated building and required high levels of maintenance. Some larger corporations still use their own and use on-site data centers, but cloud computing technology has allowed businesses to access data centers housed far from their business premises. Though the recent leap to cloud computing has removed the need for many businesses to have their own on-premises data center, accessing a data center via the cloud comes with its own issues.

Accessing a data center via the cloud enables the user to quickly and easily process high volumes of data without the need for an on-site dedicated data center. This rapid data sharing ability enables services such as streaming, online gaming, instant messaging, AI technologies and more, and is essential for businesses that require instant access to their data for purposes such as E-commerce. However, due to high demand and increased need for rapid data processing in the modern age, lag and latency issues are becoming more common, increasing wait times and causing problems. Large shared data centers accessed via the cloud often sit miles or even continents away from where the business operates, and this distance can cause significant delays in data transfer that could impact efficiency and performance.

Micro data centers are an edge computing solution that brings together the best of both worlds of cloud computing and on-site data centers, offering many benefits. As the name implies, a micro data center is a small data center that takes up just a square meter of floor space and acts as a bridge between the cloud and the user. By enabling some data processing capability at the user end, dependency on the cloud data center is decreased, and the benefit of this is an increase in data processing speed. Micro data centers allow the rapid processing of important data to ensure things run smoothly, whilst being unobtrusive and low maintenance. A soundproof micro data center eliminates the noise generated by the computing equipment to minimise workplace distractions, and the micro data center manages its own cooling environment meaning minimal interference and engineer maintenance is required. In summary, a micro data center offers a solution to latency issues, enables the rapid processing of vital data, and is much more compact and easy to manage than the large data centers of the past.

USystems offer state of the art micro data center solutions that keep your data moving. If you’re concerned with data latency issues, a micro data center could help your business increase productivity. Whatever the size or needs of your business, our range covers soundproof, air-conditioned and rear door cooled micro data centers that bring efficient and innovative edge computing solutions to you.


Methods of data center cooling

Cooling is a vital part of running a data center, preventing the high-end computing equipment from overheating and getting damaged or becoming a fire hazard. As data centers have increased in capability and size over the years, so has data center cooling had to adapt and increase in efficiency in order to keep up. There are several methods employed in data centers to keep equipment cool, each with its own benefits and shortfalls.

The most common of data center cooling solutions is air-based cooling, particularly hot aisle/cold aisle cooling. Cooled air is distributed throughout the data center, blown towards the row of servers and cooling the equipment as it goes. This method means that the air at the back of the row is hotter than at the front, which is where aisle containment comes into play. By facing the front of the rows towards each other, this creates an alternating hot and cold aisle structure so that no hot air is being directed towards the front of the servers, maximising cooling efficiency. It is often debated whether it is more efficient to then contain the hot aisles to prevent excess heat escaping, or to contain the cold aisles to maximise the cooling within those zones. Containing the hot aisles prevents the need for further air conditioning of the data center as a whole to maintain low temperatures, so it is argued that hot aisle containment is the more effective option. Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) is a common, fairly effective and inexpensive method of data center air cooling, however it is not the most energy-efficient option. Data centers are consuming more and more energy, and the need for efficient cooling to reduce environmental impact is key for the future of data centers.

In row cooling is another type of air cooling that involves placing the coolers in between each server in the rack, creating a horizontal cooling flow throughout the aisle. This allows for precise, even and efficient cooling, drawing air from the hot aisle and cooling it to create a constant flow. However, water cooling has become a more popular method of data center cooling in recent years as it is more energy-efficient than air cooling. Rear door heat exchangers employ liquid cooling: they are affixed to the back of the server to remove the heat generated by the computing equipment directly at the source. They operate with a closed-loop water system preventing the risk of leaks and keeping all active equipment safe as well as sufficiently cooled. Immersion cooling is another growing method of liquid data center cooling that involves submerging hardware in a coolant liquid that extracts heat from the source, though this method is currently not as popular as other types of liquid cooling.

If you’re in need of an efficient cooling solution for your data center, USystems provides a range of industry-leading options including rear door coolers, in-row coolers and aisle containment solutions. We’re committed to providing the most efficient data center solutions to minimise environmental impact and to make sure your data center stays achieves optimal cooling.


Who uses data centers?

Over the last twenty years, technology and the way we use it has grown and changed exponentially. The world has gone from analogue television to digital to streaming, from simple mobile phones to smartphones, and the internet is involved in every aspect of our lives. You may not realise it but data centers are at the core of our digital lives, both at home and in the workplace. So what are data centers, why do we need them, and who uses them?

In short, almost everyone uses data centers. If you have ever streamed a movie, used instant messaging, shopped online, played an online video game or stored files in the cloud you have used a data center. Data centers are specialised facilities that house high-end computing systems capable of processing vast amounts of data. Data is processed in the data center and then sent back to the user at rapid speeds, allowing for instant data access and enabling services such as streaming services to function.

Many businesses also utilise data centers in their day to day runnings. Data centers are used by retailers, educational bodies, telecommunications companies, government offices and much more. Depending on the size and scale of the business or organisation and their needs, they may have their own dedicated data center on the premises, which was more common in the past. However, many businesses and organisations now opt to outsource to an off-premises data center accessed via the cloud as technology has made this model more efficient. Businesses may own a dedicated off-site data center or they might share a large data center used by many businesses. With increasing demand, many data centers are housed miles away from the businesses they serve, sometimes on the opposite side of the globe. This can cause lag and latency issues which can be very detrimental in situations where instant data sharing and processing is vital. Larger organisations may have multiple data centers in many countries to ensure that users around the world can have a smooth data sharing experience, but this is not always the case. However, latency issues can be remedied with the recent innovation of micro data centers; small and easy to manage data centers that can process some data at the source and act as a bridge between the user and the cloud. This can keep data running quickly and smoothly, and aren’t as expensive or high maintenance as full size on-site data centers.

USystems aims to be at the forefront of modern data center solutions, offering data center products and cooling solutions for data centers of all sizes. Technology is a constantly evolving landscape and the amount of data we generate and process is increasing daily. Innovations such as live streaming and 5G mean that data center solutions have to evolve to keep up and to keep data centers functioning as they should. Our solutions are ready to meet 5G data center cooling demands and more, ensuring that data centers are kept future proof, and we prioritise energy efficiency to ensure environmental impact is kept at a minimum.


What is high performance computing?

High performance computing is at the heart of many major technological innovations and advancements in the modern age. High Performance Computing or HPC refers to aggregated computer systems with the ability to perform extremely complex tasks and process data at incredibly high speeds. Where a personal desktop computer can complete around 3 billion calculations per second, an HPC can perform quadrillions. One of the most commonly known types of high performance computer solutions is the supercomputer; thousands of computer nodes joined together to perform tasks, combining power to complete those tasks faster.

But what does a high performance computer do? With more and more data being generated every second in today’s world, HPC is vital to analysing and processing this data. HPC’s can be used in a variety of fields; it is used in scientific applications to track the weather and find new sources of renewable energy and to help develop cures for diseases, in media it’s used to live stream events, it’s used in AI and machine learning, and has many many more possible uses. HPC systems are becoming more and more accessible to small businesses and startups, with rapid processing saving time and money. Most HPC data centers are on-premises and specialised for their field, but there is an increasing amount of off-premises and cloud-based HPC data centers emerging. An on-site HPC data center can be an expensive investment to implement so cloud-based HPC’s are becoming more accessible and popular, with Nordic European countries being a popular place to build the data centers due to the favourable climate and efficient electricity costs. Some businesses also use hybrid systems, with a combination of on-site and cloud HPC data center usage, allowing them to invest in infrastructure whilst also making the most of the flexibility and money saving options offered by the cloud. As cloud performance improves and continues to become more reliable, High Performance Computing is expected to rapidly grow over the next few years, and computing power is expected to increase leading to even more groundbreaking innovations being made in the scientific sectors and beyond.

Like any data center, a High Performance Computing data center requires cooling. The most efficient and common type of HPC data center cooling is liquid cooling as it is the most energy-efficient option with approximately 1000 times the cooling efficiency of cold air. Temperature regulated water circulates through the heat exchangers throughout the HPC system, cooling the vital computing equipment as it goes. Some HPC data centers have also found ways to recycle waste heating, using it to heat offices and other areas of the building where the data center is housed. Like most modern data center cooling solutions, high performance data center cooling should prioritise energy efficiency to reduce environmental impact.

With the growth of HPC data centers, energy efficiency is paramount. USystems aims to provide efficient data center cooling solutions that save money and leave a minimal impact on the environment. We supply industry-leading data center cooling equipment for data centers of all sizes, from High Performance Computing data centers right down to micro data centers on the user end.


A short history and future of data center cooling

The modern data center as we know it today has evolved steadily over the years. The data center dates back as far as the 1940s when large military computer rooms were created to perform specific data tasks, and by the 1960s the mainframe computer was invented, marking the beginning of a significant change in the data landscape. Data centers have always required some kind of cooling solution, but as technology continues to rapidly evolve and demand increases, data centers are producing more heat and consuming more power. Trends in data center cooling have grown and changed along with the data center itself to meet demand and keep data centers running smoothly while consuming as little power as possible.

Although liquid immersion cooling has been in use since the 1960s, it has shifted in and out of popularity and efficiency. For the past fifty years, the most commonly used method of data center cooling has been raised floor cooling, employing a CRAC (Computer Room Air Conditioner) under a raised floor to constantly move cold air through the computer units. This cooling system worked well for a time when computer densities were relatively low and energy efficiency wasn’t a high priority. But as time went on, problems with this system became more obvious. Raised floor cooling uses high amounts of power and does not allow for even cooling, with units closer to the floor being cooled more efficiently than those at the top.

Advances in data center computing technology have made it necessary to develop improved cooling solutions to keep up. The recent development of cold aisle and hot aisle containment solutions prevent the cold and hot air in the data center from mixing, making cooling systems much more efficient. In row coolers and rear door coolers both allow for more precise and energy-efficient cooling than a CRAC system, and with variable fan speeds, energy outputs can be controlled to the exact level that is needed rather than running fans at a constant speed. Intelligent micro data centers for the user end are also a more recent phenomenon, with smart systems that manage their own temperature environments and cooling, requiring minimal intervention from technicians.

Finding the most energy-efficient cooling solution has been at the forefront of recent developments, to keep power usage low and ensure that data centers have a sustainable future. The future of data center cooling promises innovative solutions to minimise environmental impact and maximise productivity, such as the use of rain or sea water in water cooling systems, and the employment of AI and robots within the data center to analyse and manage cooling systems in real-time. Evidence also suggests that liquid immersion cooling may represent the most efficient cooling solution for mainstream data centers in the near future. At USystems we’re dedicated to providing data center solutions that are ready to keep up with technological innovations and reduce the impact on the environment, offering in row coolers, aisle containment solutions and much more to make sure your data center is ready for the future.


Cold vs hot data center aisle containment

Aisle containment refers to the layout of a data center, designed to optimise airflow throughout the data center, ultimately conserving energy and lowering cooling costs. Both cold aisle and hot aisle containment are viable containment options for data center cooling, both with the same goal in mind to separate the cold and hot air in the data center. But every data center is different and both methods have different benefits. Whichever works best for you and your data center will depend on several factors.

Most IT and server equipment in a data center will draw cold air in through the front of the unit and expel hot air from the back. With the server racks placed in rows all facing the same way in a data corridor, then a consistent cold airflow will be achieved through all units. However, the orientation of each corridor must be alternated, else the hot air exhausted from the back of the first row will be drawn into the front of the second row and so on with each row getting hotter. This can cause significant overheating risks, and so the solution is to orient the racks with the front of the servers facing each other. The hot air will be expelled out into its own aisle, creating the alternating hot aisle and cold aisle structure.

Containing these hot and cold aisles can prevent the mingling of the hot and cold air and enable more precise temperature control and more effective cooling. Cold aisle containment is considered to be much easier to implement in an existing data center, and involves placing doors at each end of the aisle and some form of a roof over the top to keep the cold air fully separated from the hot air. It is easy to fit cold aisle containment solutions and is generally less expensive than hot aisle containment. However, with the cold aisle contained the data center room itself becomes the hot aisle as a whole, which can reduce the overall efficiency of the system.

Hot aisle containment also involves placing doors at the end of the data corridor and utilises elements such as baffles and in row cooling to cool the air and recycle it into the cold aisle. Hot aisle containment is generally considered to be more effective in cooling a data center and in reducing energy costs.  It creates a cold environment in the data center, which is much better for efficiency, however this means the contained hot aisles can reach very high and uncomfortable temperatures for technicians to work in should they need access to the hot aisle. Hot aisle containment is also the more expensive option as it involves the installation of additional equipment to contain and return the exhausted hot air.

Both options come with benefits and drawbacks, but both have the same aim to improve airflow and efficiency. Whether hot aisle or cold aisle containment works for you can depend on the size and layout of your data center as well as budget and resources. USystems aims to offer effective data center cooling solutions such as data racks and in row cooling that reduce energy usage, improve productivity and save you money. Whether you’re looking for a hot aisle or cold aisle containment solution, see how our product range can help to keep your data center running smoothly.


Why do data centers need cooling?

Data centers are advanced, specialised buildings that house important server equipment that allow  businesses to access and transfer their important data. With the demand for instant data transfer constantly rising, most modern businesses and organisations now rely on large, off-site data centers to manage their data on the cloud rather than using their own on-site data centers which can be large and expensive to run. Data centers use huge amounts of energy and electricity to stay running around the clock, and keeping the data center cool is vital to ensuring everything runs correctly and there are no issues. But why does a data center need cooling?

Specialised computing equipment designed to handle large amounts of data every second can put out large amounts of heat. If you have ever used a personal computer, you may have noticed that it can get quite hot throughout the day, especially when performing more strenuous tasks. The large amounts of computing equipment housed in a data center are much more powerful and can put out very high levels of heat especially when the data center is running 24/7. Overheating can be very damaging to server equipment, and if any crashes occur and the equipment is damaged and needs to be repaired or replaced, this can cause significant delays for businesses who need to access their data. Computing equipment that is overheating can also pose a fire hazard, so it is important to prevent this for health and safety reasons. This is why data center cooling is so central to the running of a data center. Keeping the temperature of a data center carefully regulated can prevent these problems before they happen and keep everything running without issue.

Data center equipment can be kept cool with proper aisle containment and air conditioning systems, designed to blow cold air throughout the aisles to keep the hardware cool and to extract the warm air so the air flow is kept constantly temperate. The second option to cool data center equipment is using water cooling, which chills the air in the room and keeps the hardware from overheating. Traditional data center cooling usually involved a combination of raised flooring, air conditioning and hot air/cold air aisles. Cold air would be pushed through the units while the hot air would be vented out into the hot air aisles to be recycled through, but this method has become increasingly inefficient as data center processing power and demand increases. A water cooled data center is more modern and efficient, and increasingly data centers are relying on water cooling or liquid coolants to keep the temperature of the data center better regulated at a lower cost.

USystems aims to offer data center cooling solutions that are energy efficient and save on important space. Whether you require inrow or rear door cooling, our cooling solutions reduce your environmental impact without losing efficiency. If you require full-scale data center cooling or even cooling solutions for a micro data center, we can help to keep your data running smoothly.


Who makes the best server racks?

Good server racks are vital to the smooth running of a data center or server room. Server racks (also known as server cabinets, data racks or data cabinets) house the important server equipment within the data center, but they are much more than a storage solution. They help to keep all servers, routers and equipment cool and properly ventilated as well as keeping everything well organised. Keeping server equipment cool is essential, but a good server rack can also help to save on space and keep everything in its right place and easily accessible when needed. But who makes the best server racks? Usystems guarantee state of the art manufacturing and unbeatable quality and style for all of our server rack solutions. Here are some of the best data racks that Usystems has to offer.

The USpace 4210

Our Uspace 4210 is a multi-function cabinet, designed to house all major server brands and can be set up in a variety of configurations to suit the needs of you and your data center. This server rack can be customised with our range of solid or vented doors with left or right hinges and can be kept secure with key override swing handles and intelligent locks to keep your vital data and equipment safe. It is an adaptable, easy to use rack designed with both the installer and end-user in mind, with cable access through the top and the base. We believe that aesthetic choice and style are just as important as functionality, and the 4210 comes in a choice of grey or black finish to complement the overall look of your data center.

The USpace 5210

The 5210 data rack solution is from our premium range. Available in three sizes, it’s our larger and more robust server rack option. Comprising of four aluminium posts and an aluminium frame, it is a rigid and secure rack with a variety of upgradeable locking options. The two available widths make the 5210 rack suitable for housing a range of equipment, and it is compatible with all major server brands and products, keeping all of your hardware neatly organised in one place. With bandwidth demand constantly increasing and technological advancements being made every day, the Optical Distribution Frame (ODF) rack in the 5210 range is specially designed to house high-density fibre deployments, allowing a unique working and access environment. Our 5210 server racks ensure that your data center is future-proof and ready to work with the latest technologies, keeping your data moving faster than ever.

USystems aims to offer the best data center racks on the market that not only improve the productivity of your data center but reduce your environmental impact with innovative cooling solutions. Our adaptable server racks can be customised with a variety of unique options and upgrades such as shelving, multi-depth mounting and locking options to suit your requirements exactly. We provide data center solutions for small and large businesses alike, from micro data centers to soundproof server rack options to keep your data moving quickly, securely and as unobtrusively as possible to keep you working at maximum output.


What is the difference between a Micro Data Center and Edge Computing?

Edge computing and micro data centers are recent innovations that aim to decrease the delay issues cloud users often face when processing large amounts of data. Understanding the difference between micro data centers and edge computing can be confusing, but even though the two are closely connected, the two terms are not interchangeable. Put simply, edge computing is the process itself (the “what”) and a micro data center is the technology that makes the process happen (the “how”).

Edge computing brings data processing closer to the source, reducing latency issues, and the micro data center helps to achieve this goal. Computing at the edge increases the speed of data transfer and improves overall performance. Many modern businesses and organisations rely on the use of large cloud-based data centers, often located miles away from where the business itself operates. This distance can create lag and latency issues, slowing down data processing which can be very detrimental in today’s age of instant sharing. Edge computing allows important data to instead be processed at the site where it is created, reducing reliance on the external data center to achieve faster results. By reducing the amount of processes run in the cloud and moving these processes to local computers, performance is improved and bandwidth use is decreased.

The convenience of the advent of cloud computing meant that a lot of businesses no longer needed to house large and expensive server rooms at their site of operations. However, as the demand for instant data transfer has increased, cloud computing cannot always keep up. Micro data center solutions bring data processing back to the user end, without taking up swathes of office space. Our micro data centers bridge the gap between the user and the cloud, whilst taking up less than one square meter of floor space and requiring little maintenance, managing their own micro-climate with compact cooling systems. The micro data center is what facilitates edge computing, ensuring that your important data is processed exactly when you need it, without delays or complications. The micro data center is the best of both worlds, allowing the convenient use of an off-site large data center whilst preventing latency and rapidly processing data at the source. It’s an innovative modern solution to the problem of slow data processing.

USystems provides data center management for businesses and organisations of all sizes. If you think that edge computing could be the right solution for you, we provide a range of micro data centers that can bring your business up to speed without feeling obtrusive in your workspace. Our range includes soundproofed and air-cooled options, creating as little noise and distraction as possible so you can get on with the important work and worry less about your bandwidth.

We also provide management and components for large, traditional data centers, from in row cooling to effectively manage heat loads, to specialised racks and frames. We know how important your data is and we’re committed to helping to keep your data moving from A to B without any interruptions or issues.


The benefits of Edge Micro Data Centers

With the increased demand for instant data transfer in our homes and offices, data is taking longer to reach its destination. Most businesses and organisations today rely on large outsourced data centers, usually located far away from their place of business. This demand and distance can cause significant delays and frustrations that affect businesses productivity, but edge micro data centers aim to tackle this problem and bring data computing back to the source, which comes with several benefits.

Computing at the edge means processing the data closer to the source where it is created, rather than in the cloud. Before the cloud, most businesses and organisations would manage their own on-site data center, which was usually a large server room that took up a significant amount of space on the business premises. However, the shift to cloud-based data processing meant businesses no longer had to house their own large and expensive data centers, and were instead able to make use of external data centers. But as demand has grown,  data centers are placed further from the source, and more and more users are experiencing latency issues. Edge data center solutions are designed to tackle this problem by bridging the gap between the user and the cloud.

The biggest benefit of the micro data center is the reduction in latency and bandwidth use and the increase in productivity. If you need to handle and process large volumes of data, the micro data center processes this important data at the client end rather than at the cloud end, giving much faster results. By utilising a micro data center, businesses can still benefit from the convenience of cloud computing, but with none of the latency issues. Modern micro data center solutions are also much smaller and cheaper than full-size data centers, requiring less upkeep. There is no need to construct a specialised building to house the micro data center as it takes up roughly a square meter of office space, and soundproofing options ensure there are no distractions to your workday.

Processing important data in the cloud also comes with a small cybersecurity risk, which micro data centers help to navigate by processing vital and sensitive data at the source instead, keeping your data safer. By processing more data at the source and relying on the cloud less, money in cloud costs can also be saved, making edge computing both efficient and cost-effective.

Edge micro data centers are an efficient way of dealing with the problems of data latency and bandwidth use that many businesses face. If you’re concerned with your data speed and how this could be impacting your business productivity, our data center solutions can help bring you back up to speed. Our micro data centers are compact, unobtrusive and energy-efficient, increasing your  processing speeds with minimal environmental impact. We also provide full-size data center solutions if you’re in need of more powerful data processing capability. Whatever your needs, our data center solutions can help to keep your data moving safely, quickly and efficiently.

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