Texas-based edge data center manufacturer VaporIO has teamed up with free-cooling specialist BasX Solutions, and will be installing its cooling equipment as part of Project Volutus later this year.

Traditionally supplying hyperscale data centers, BasX engineered the cooling element for Vapor’s edge module using its compressor-based free air cooling system. According to Cole Crawford, founder and CEO of Vapor IO, this amounted to reconfiguring the system for “a small footprint and remote operation in rugged edge locations.”

Basic IO

Vapor Edge
Vapor Edge Module – Vapor IO

With Project Volutus, due for launch in Q3 2018 and deployments “at scale” expected in Q4, Vapor IO plans to build a network of edge data centers, which it calls Vapor Edge Modules (VEM), all of which will be installed at the base of cell towers owned by Crown Castle.

Companies specializing in edge computing, but also telcos themselves, are touting cell towers as prime locations for building small data centers, since the communications towers tend to be located close to end-users and are effectively a crossing point between cellular networks and backhaul fiber networks that connect to large data centers.

By integrating the cooling system directly into Vapor’s module, the micro data center’s footprint can be reduced to a minimum, a necessary factor when building for edge deployments.

The pair claims to have designed the module on a collaborative basis, accounting for the specific needs of edge in terms of capacity, as the module can contain and cool up to 150kW of IT equipment; efficiency, since it promises a PUE of 1.2 or less; and resilience, as it does not require any water piping or external air filtering.

The partners add that the edge module has redundancy built in at the component level, and can function autonomously thanks to integrated sensors and remote monitoring software.

Matt Tobolski, president and co-founder of BasX, said: “Each and every data center space has its own challenges in regards to space constraints, cooling density, and many other factors. In order to deliver the Vapor Edge Module, we had to uniquely configure our cooling system to perform in that compact space and create safe and exact air handling conditions in frequently rugged conditions.

“The Vapor Chamber’s patented airflow system inside the Vapor Edge Module is a great match for BasX’s cooling technology, making it possible for us to jointly deliver a high-performance multi-tenant edge data center. We also found the capabilities of Vapor’s software-based telemetry systems ideal for analyzing, tuning and remotely operating edge data centers to ensure we are able to accurately track cooling system performance.”