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Self-Healing Cables: The Next Frontier in Data Center Resilience

Self-healing wires and cables for data centers - featured image for blog

Data center outages are a nightmare scenario for any business. A single hour of downtime can cost millions of dollars in lost revenue, productivity, and damaged reputation. The advent of self-healing materials (trending technology) is transforming the cable industry, offering a new frontier in data center resilience. Imagine cables that can automatically repair themselves after being damaged, virtually eliminating the risk of unexpected failures. This isn’t science fiction – it’s the reality of self-healing cables.

In this article, we’ll explore the science behind self-healing cables and their numerous advantages for data centers.

Self-healing wires and cables for data centers

What Are Self-Healing Cables

Self-healing cables are a revolutionary innovation in cable technology designed to address weaknesses of traditional cables. These cables are engineered with special materials that enable them to repair damage autonomously, such as cuts, punctures, or cracks, without human intervention.

There are two main types of self-healing cables:

  1. Self-Healing Wire Insulation – This type of cable features insulation that can mend itself after being damaged. When the insulation is breached, the self-healing material reacts to the exposure, flowing into the damaged area and effectively sealing it. This healing reaction prevents electrical shorts, ensures the integrity of the signal transmission, and extends the cable’s lifespan.
  2. Self-Healing Wire – This type refers to cables where the conductive core possesses self-healing properties. In the event of a break in the conductor, the material can re-establish electrical connectivity, restoring the flow of current and preventing a complete cable failure.

The science behind self-healing cables is rooted in developing advanced polymers with unique chemical properties. Scientists designed these polymer materials to respond to damage by triggering a chemical reaction that forms new bonds, effectively “healing” the damaged area. This self-healing process happens at a microscopic level, but its impact on cable performance is significant.

Advantages of Self-Healing Cables in Data Centers

Self-healing cables offer many benefits for data centers, addressing critical challenges and paving the way for a more resilient and efficient future.

Enhanced Reliability

The most significant advantage of self-healing cables is their ability to reduce the risk of unplanned outages. These cables can maintain continuous operation by autonomously repairing damage, ensuring uninterrupted power delivery and data transmission. This reliability is crucial for data centers, where even a brief outage can have severe consequences.

Extended Cable Lifespan

Self-healing technology can dramatically extend the lifespan of cables. By repairing minor damage before it escalates into significant failures, these cables can last significantly longer than traditional cables. Long-life cables translate to reduced maintenance costs, less frequent cable replacements, and a lower total cost of ownership.

Improved Safety 

Damaged cables can pose electrical hazards, especially in high-voltage environments like data centers. Self-healing cables minimize these risks by quickly sealing insulation breaches, preventing electrical shorts and potential fires.

Cost Savings

While self-healing cables may have a higher upfront cost than traditional cables, their long-term cost benefits are substantial. The reduced need for maintenance, repairs, and replacements can lead to significant savings over time, making self-healing cables a wise investment.

Sustainability

By extending cable lifespans and reducing the need for frequent replacements, self-healing cables contribute to a more sustainable data center ecosystem. It aligns with the growing emphasis on environmental responsibility in the tech industry.

Self-healing network cables for data centers operations

Applications of Self-Healing Cables in Data Centers

Power Cables

Self-healing cables are ideal for power delivery systems in data centers, where reliable power is paramount. They can be used for primary power feeds, backup power supplies, and distribution networks, ensuring uninterrupted power to critical equipment.

Data Cables

In a data center’s data-centric environment, self-healing cables can safeguard against data loss by maintaining continuous connectivity and preventing signal disruptions. They are well-suited for high-speed data transmission cables, server interconnects, and storage area networks.

Other Applications

We can also apply self-healing technology to various other cables within data centers, such as those used for cooling systems, monitoring equipment, and security systems. This versatility further enhances the overall resilience of the data center infrastructure.

Challenges and Future Outlook

Despite the promising advantages of self-healing cables, several challenges must be addressed to realize their potential in data center applications. One significant limitation is the current cost of self-healing materials, which can be higher than traditional materials. This cost factor can hinder widespread adoption, particularly for smaller data centers with limited budgets. Integrating self-healing technologies into existing cable infrastructure can also be complex, requiring careful planning and significant investment.

Another area of concern is the performance of self-healing materials under extreme conditions. Data centers often operate in environments with varying temperatures, humidity, and electromagnetic interference. Ensuring that self-healing cables maintain integrity and self-repair capabilities under these conditions is crucial for their long-term viability.

Future Developments

Advancements in self-healing materials and technologies are continually being made, paving the way for more effective and affordable solutions. Researchers are exploring new polymers and composites that offer enhanced self-healing properties at lower costs. For example, developing more efficient microencapsulation techniques and using bio-inspired materials could lead to significant improvements in self-healing capabilities.

Another exciting development area is the integration of intelligent technologies with self-healing cables. Sensors and IoT (Internet of Things) devices in cable systems could enable real-time monitoring and predictive maintenance. These smart cables, like Smart PDU, could detect potential issues before they cause significant damage, activating the self-healing process proactively and further reducing downtime and maintenance costs.

In the long term, adopting self-healing cables could become a standard data center design and construction practice. As the technology matures and becomes more cost-effective, it will likely see broader acceptance and implementation. The potential for self-healing cables to enhance data center resilience, reliability, and sustainability is critical to future infrastructure development.

Discover the EDGEasyair All-In-One Cabinet

AnD Cable Products sells EDGEasyair All-in-One Cabinet, a forward-thinking cabinet that aligns with the core principles of resilience and adaptability championed by self-healing cables.

All-in-One cabinet for small-scale data centers and other facilities

By integrating power, cooling, security, and monitoring into a single, efficient unit, EDGEasyair simplifies data center management for universities, retail stores, hospitals, and HR agencies. This system reduces deployment time and optimizes resource utilization. Its self-regulating climate control helps mitigate environmental stressors that could contribute to cable damage, extending the lifespan of existing infrastructure. 

EDGEasyair is designed for scalability, ensuring your data center can seamlessly integrate with emerging technologies like self-healing cables as they become more readily available. By choosing EDGEasyair today, you’re investing in a future-proof solution that bridges the gap between current needs and tomorrow’s innovations.

Paving the Way for Resilient Data Centers

Both challenges and opportunities mark the journey toward integrating self-healing cables into data centers. Overcoming limitations will require years (even decades) of continued research, innovation, and collaboration between industry stakeholders. However, the potential benefits – from increased reliability and cost savings to reduced environmental impact – make this pursuit worthwhile.

As advancements in self-healing materials and technologies continue to unfold and become commercialized, the future of data center resilience looks promising. Embracing these innovations will be vital to building more robust, efficient, and sustainable data centers capable of meeting the demands of an increasingly digital world.

At AnD Cable Products, we are dedicated to helping data centers achieve peak performance. We offer a range of quality power cables, network cables, and cable management solutions. Explore our product offerings and ensure your data center operates at its best with our innovative solutions.

About the Author – John Lester

John Lester, General Manager at AnD Cable Products, brings a rich tapestry of IT and project management experience to the forefront of cable management solutions for data centers. His career, spanning over three decades, includes significant roles in IT project management and consultation with renowned companies. A former Marine Corps Lance Corporal, John’s journey in the tech world is further distinguished by his proficiency in advanced programming and systems expertise. 

His leadership at AnD Cable Products encapsulates a blend of innovation, strategic planning, and a relentless commitment to delivering excellence in the field of data center infrastructure.  John was with AnD Cable Products when Louis was designing his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cable labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the co-author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and rack space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.Visit https://andcable.com or shop online at https://andcable.com/shop/

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Power Struggles: Addressing Crypto’s Energy Demands through Strategic Cable Management

Crypto mining data center using new-generation GPUs - featured image

The cryptocurrency boom has been a double-edged sword. While generating excitement in the tech and finance worlds for its versatile uses, major debates around energy consumption have sparked everywhere. 

Crypto mining operations are notoriously power-hungry, with global estimates suggesting their energy use rivals that of entire nations. For data centers accommodating crypto rigs – stacks of graphics processing units (GPU) that consume up to 120 watts per GPU or 1000 watts per rig – addressing power efficiency is not just good environmental practice – it’s a business necessity!

That number may seem small if we’re talking about small-time crypto miners. However, crypto mining facilities or data centers with at least 50,000 rigs (consuming 180 megawatts) can quickly translate to millions of dollars in monthly electricity costs. To put things into perspective, 180 megawatts is enough to power 180,000 U.S. homes! 

This is where strategic cable management plays a surprising but crucial role. It might seem like a minor factor, but how cables are organized within crypto mining rigs, server racks, and throughout the data center can significantly impact power usage and overall efficiency. 

Crypto mining data center using new-generation GPUs

Challenges of Crypto Mining in Data Centers

Massive Power Draw

Crypto mining rigs are designed to run at full capacity 24/7, consuming vast amounts of electricity. Unlike typical data centers that store and transfer data to where it is needed, where the operating parts are storage devices, crypto mining uses GPUs. These processing units are extremely power-demanding and are used all day at maximum capacity to acquire cryptocurrencies like BitCoin.

Heat Generation 

This continuous operation creates substantial heat output, straining traditional cooling systems and increasing energy costs. GPUs generate more heat than storage devices. GPUs can peak at 203°F (95°C). Storage devices like SSDs operate only at around 86°F to 122°F (30°C to 50°C), which dwarfs in comparison to the average operating temperature of GPUs at around 158°F (70°C).

Density Demands  

To maximize computing power, crypto rigs are often packed tightly into custom racks, increasing the thermal and power management challenges. Moreover, crypto mining facilities are relatively new, unlike traditional data centers that are now more standardized and with proper facility regulations. Hence, crypto mining data centers can design and create racks with poor efficiency. 

Crypto mining facility using old-gen GPUs and power cable rigging methods

How Cable Management Helps in Crypto Mining Data Centers

Optimizing Airflow  

Tangled cables create obstructions that hinder efficient airflow around servers. Well-organized cables, using proper management tools and techniques, improve airflow and reduce the strain on cooling systems. This directly saves energy.

Streamlined Power Delivery 

Chaotic power cable routing leads to voltage drops, wasted power, and potential equipment instability. Clean cable pathways ensure consistent power to rigs, maximizing their utilization and preventing costly inefficiencies.

Easier Maintenance and Upgrades  

Unmanageable cables make troubleshooting and replacing components within racks a nightmare. Strategic cable organization simplifies maintenance, reducing downtime and conserving power that would be wasted on idle equipment during extended repairs.

Practical Cable Management Solutions

Custom Metal Fabrication: Building Better GPU Rigs

While cable management optimizes existing setups, Custom Metal Fabrication takes crypto mining rigs to the next level. Here’s how it can benefit data centers and dedicated mining facilities:

  • Maximized Airflow: Precision-designed metal frames and enclosures for your specific GPU configurations ensure optimal airflow around each card. This translates to better cooling and the ability to push your hardware further.
  • Enhanced Scalability: Open frame designs built to your exact specifications allow easy expansion and reconfiguration, future-proofing your mining operations.
  • Sturdier Construction: Custom metal fabrication delivers robust rigs that withstand continuous mining operations’ constant vibration and thermal stress. This increased durability means less downtime for repairs and more excellent long-term value.
  • Unique Space Constraints: Custom-built solutions adapt to challenging layouts or unusual spatial requirements, ensuring you maximize computing power within your available footprint.
AnD Cable Product's Custom Metal Fabrication Service

Y Power Cables and Ethernet Cables – see all

Partnering for Success

AnD Cable Products doesn’t just provide cable management solutions; we have extensive capabilities in custom metal fabrication. Our team can work with you to design and produce:

  • Specialized GPU mounting frames
  • Multi-rig enclosures and racks
  • Integrated cooling system supports
  • Custom branding and design elements

Let us help you design and build crypto mining rigs that perform exceptionally, look professional, and stand the test of time. Contact us today to explore custom Custom Metal Fabrication

Beyond the Thousands of GPU Rigs

While focusing on GPU rigs is crucial, also consider broader cable management practices throughout the crypto mining facility.

  • Overhead Trays and Pathways: Use pathways that distribute power cables efficiently, reducing the need for excessively long runs and minimizing clutter.
  • Underfloor Management: Strategically routed power cables under raised floors create cleaner pathways and improve airflow. 

The Future of Industrial-Scale Crypto Mining

In the high-energy world of crypto mining, every optimization counts. Effective cable management isn’t just about neatness; it translates to lower operating costs, reduced environmental impact, and greater operational reliability for your data center.At AnD Cable Products, we’re here to help crypto mining data centers get all the quality cables and cable managers they need. If you’re operating a crypto mining facility, please see our range of products relevant to your industry here.

About the Author

Louis Chompff - Founder, AnD Cable Products, Rack and Cable ManagementLouis Chompff – Founder & Managing Director, AnD Cable Products
Louis established AnD Cable Products – Intelligently Designed Cable Management in 1989. Prior to this he enjoyed a 20+ year career with a leading global telecommunications company in a variety of senior data management positions. Louis is an enthusiastic inventor who designed, patented and brought to market his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cable labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the principal author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and rack space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online at https://andcable.com/shop/

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Exploring the Significant Advancements in Rack PDU Power Quality

Rack PDU Used in New Data Center Featured Image

When asked about the most critical aspect of running a data center, you might think of components and network infrastructure. Although they are essential, there’s something more valuable that many new data center operators are focussed on – power. 

Electric power is the crude lifeblood of data centers – it’s what makes everything work. To ensure that everything runs smoothly and that expensive equipment and systems stay reliable and in top condition, your power quality is imperative. 

How do we make sure our servers and network devices get quality electricity? Common options include quality transformers and switchgear to UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) and PDUs (Power Distribution Units). 

In this article, we will focus on Rack PDUs and how far this technology has advanced. Let’s dive into some recent PDU advancements and explore how they set new efficiency, reliability, and sustainability standards.

Rack PDU (Power Distribution Unit) Used in New Data Center

Rack PDU Evolution and Significant Advancements 

Rack PDUs Back Then

Traditionally, rack PDUs were simple power distribution devices designed to deliver electrical power to various equipment within a data center rack. Think of the cheapest extension cord you can buy today – yes, those were once the relied-on PDUs before the internet boom. However, as data centers have grown in complexity and scale, power quality and management demands have intensified. 

New systems and network devices are more sensitive to power surges, and the old electricity-only PDUs have become more of a liability. This demand has spurred innovation in rack PDU technology, transforming it into intelligent power management solutions that optimize power quality and distribution, enhance energy efficiency, and provide real-time monitoring and control capabilities.

Introduction of Metered and Monitored Server Rack PDUs

The next phase in the evolution of server rack PDUs saw the introduction of metered PDUs. These units came equipped with digital displays showing power usage, enabling data center managers to monitor power consumption at a glance. While a step up from their predecessors, these first-generation PDUs could not provide detailed power usage data or alert managers to potential power quality issues.

The development of monitored PDUs marked a significant advancement. These PDUs could not only measure power consumption but also transmit this data to a central management system. This capability allowed for remote monitoring of power usage and the early detection of potential issues, improving the overall efficiency and reliability of data center operations. It also helped data center operators see which clients/customers are consuming more power, allowing data centers to create better pricing options for customers based on their needs with accurate data. 

The Rise of Switched PDUs

As technology advanced again, switched PDUs emerged, allowing remote control of individual power outlets. This feature enabled data center operators to reboot servers and turn off unused equipment remotely, further enhancing power management capabilities. It also helped technicians only visit the data center room when there was an actual need for troubleshooting.

Smart or Intelligent Rack PDUs

The most significant leap forward, however, has been the advent of intelligent PDUs. These devices represent the pinnacle of rack PDU evolution, incorporating various features such as environmental monitoring, individual outlet metering, remote management, and real-time alerts. Intelligent PDUs provide unparalleled visibility and control over power distribution, allowing data center managers to optimize energy usage, prevent downtime, and manage power distribution more effectively.

Integration with DCIM Systems

A key aspect of the evolution of rack PDUs has been their integration with Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) systems. This integration allows for comprehensive monitoring and management of all data center power and environmental conditions, offering a holistic view of operations. Through DCIM systems, intelligent PDUs can automate power management tasks, enhance capacity planning, and contribute to more sustainable data center practices.

Data center technician installing new rack PDUs on server cabinet

Why Is Power Quality at the Rack Level So Important?

Power quality at the rack level in data centers is crucial for several compelling reasons, impacting everything from operational reliability to financial efficiency and equipment longevity:

Ensuring reliability and uptimeHigh power quality prevents downtime and keeps critical services running smoothly, avoiding equipment malfunctions and system failures.

Protecting sensitive equipment – Stable power safeguards sensitive and costly equipment from damage, prolonging its lifespan and ensuring data integrity.

Optimizing energy efficiencyGood power quality leads to better energy efficiency, reducing power consumption and operational costs while contributing to sustainability goals.

Facilitating scalability – Maintaining power quality allows for predictable and efficient data center expansion, ensuring new equipment integrates seamlessly without power issues.

Reducing maintenance and operational costs – High power quality decreases the need for repairs and maintenance, lowering downtime and operational expenses, and minimizing data loss risks.

Complying with Service Level Agreements (SLA) and avoiding penalties – Adhering to SLA is easier with good power quality, helping avoid financial penalties and maintain customer trust.

Enhancing safety – Effective power quality management minimizes safety hazards like overheating and fires, ensuring a safer environment for equipment and personnel.

Looking to the Future of PDUs

The journey of Rack PDUs from simple power distribution units to intelligent power management solutions illustrates the rapid pace of innovation in data center technology. As we look to the future, we can expect Rack PDUs to continue evolving, incorporating advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and sustainability practices. If you’re looking for the latest PDU products, we can help:

Reduce Downtime and Increase Savings With AnD Cable Products’ PDUs

We offer a wide range of Power Distribution Units that are highly capable of offering various features mentioned in this article – from ultra-low profile PDUs for exceptional space-saving on your server cabinets to intelligent PDUs that can monitor performance, equipped with hydraulic-magnetic circuit breakers for added safety. 

Power Distribution Unit Request a Quote Ad

Elevate your data center efficiency with real-time monitoring, remote control capabilities, and energy-saving features. Ensure reliability, optimize power usage, and enhance your network’s performance with enhanced safety and high-quality power at the rack level. 

These future advancements will further enhance the efficiency, reliability, and environmental friendliness of data centers, ensuring they can meet the growing demands of the digital world.

About the Author

Louis Chompff - Founder, AnD Cable Products, Rack and Cable ManagementLouis Chompff – Founder & Managing Director, AnD Cable Products
Louis established AnD Cable Products – Intelligently Designed Cable Management in 1989. Prior to this he enjoyed a 20+ year career with a leading global telecommunications company in a variety of senior data management positions. Louis is an enthusiastic inventor who designed, patented and brought to market his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cable labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the principal author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and rack space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online at https://andcable.com/shop/

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Data Center Liquid Cooling – Is It Time for an Upgrade?

Featured image of a Liquid Cooling Data Center using immersion cooling

As the demand for cloud services, big data analytics and AI computations grows, data centers are housing increasingly dense and powerful computing equipment. This trend has led to higher heat loads, making efficient cooling not only desirable but necessary. In some situations, traditional air-cooled systems, once the backbone of data center cooling, are now being supplemented and even replaced by data center liquid cooling solutions.

In this article, we explore how far our cooling innovations have come and uncover the reality of today’s liquid cooling landscape. We’ll break down the tech news outlet hype around liquid-cooled data centers – what are the options? What makes it special? Is it suitable for every data center? And is this technological shift inevitable? Let’s dive in.

A Liquid Cooling Data Center using immersion cooling technology

Immersion Cooling Technology for Data Centers

Why is Liquid Cooling Superior?

Liquid cooling is superior in data centers due to its higher thermal conductivity – liquids conduct heat up to 1,000 times better than air – allowing it to efficiently remove heat directly from high-power computing components. 

This direct heat removal leads to significantly lower operational temperatures, enhancing the performance and longevity of sensitive electronic equipment. Additionally, liquid cooling systems are more energy-efficient than traditional air cooling, reducing operational costs and a creating a smaller carbon footprint.

Energy Savings

Another core benefit that liquid-cooled data centers enjoy is energy savings. In quantitative research conducted by NVIDIA and Vertiv, data centers that use liquid cooling systems reduced their total data center power consumption by 10.2% – an 18.1% reduction in facility power! From a financial perspective, this reduction is $740,000 less than from power-hungry data centers that consume $7.4 million annually.

Types of Data Center Liquid Cooling Systems

There are many data center liquid cooling systems in place – some more complex than others. However, these three are the most dominant ones in use today:

Direct-to-Chip Liquid Cooling

Direct-to-chip (D2C) cooling involves circulating a coolant directly over the heat-generating components, such as CPUs and GPUs. This method significantly increases cooling efficiency by removing heat directly at the source. D2C systems can use a variety of coolants, including water, dielectric fluids, or refrigerants, depending on the application’s needs and the desired cooling capacity.

Immersion Cooling

Immersion cooling takes liquid cooling a step further by submerging the entire server, or parts of it, in a non-conductive liquid. This technique is highly efficient as it ensures even and thorough heat absorption from all components. Immersion cooling is particularly beneficial for high-performance computing (HPC) and can dramatically reduce the space and energy required for cooling.

Rear-Door Heat Exchangers

Rear-door heat exchanger units are a hybrid solution, combining air and liquid cooling. These units are attached to the back of server racks, using a liquid-cooled coil to remove heat from the air exiting the servers. This method is often used as an intermediary.

Direct-to-Chip Liquid Cooling solution for CPU in a Data Center

Close-up view of Direct-to-Chip Liquid Cooling

Data Center Liquid Cooling Cons

“If liquid cooling is so great, why haven’t we implemented it in every data center?” you may be asking yourself. The answer is simple: we haven’t perfected the technology. There are still a number of cons that make this solution more of an option for massive data centers who are willing and can afford to take the risk.

Higher Initial Setup Cost

Implementing liquid cooling in data centers requires a substantial initial investment. This includes the cost of the cooling system itself, such as pumps, pipes, and liquid handling units, and potential modifications to the existing infrastructure to accommodate these new components.

Complex Maintenance Requirements

Liquid cooling systems are day-and-night more complex to maintain than traditional air cooling systems. They require regular monitoring for leaks, proper handling of the cooling liquids, and maintenance of additional components like pumps and liquid distribution systems, necessitating specialized skills and training (more initial expense). Moreover, modern servers that use denser equipment and computers require crane-system assistance for immersion cooling setups, which can be a massive infrastructure endeavor for data centers considering making the shift. 

Risk of Leaks and Liquid Damage

There is an inherent risk of leaks in any liquid cooling system, which can significantly damage expensive data center equipment. Ensuring leak-proof systems and having emergency response plans are essential, but they add to the operational complexity and costs.

Should Your Data Center Opt for Liquid Cooling Solutions?

Probably not. With the current tech and innovation, upgrading to a full liquid-cooled data center can be incredibly expensive with many unknowns. Even apart from its complexity and cost, there are no currently established standards for data centers to follow. However, we’re not saying that it’s a bad idea. 

Liquid cooling data centers have their place in the tech world, but it’s mainly for data centers ready to shell out billions of dollars. The ones eager to be at the forefront of the industry and pave the way for better big data analytics, AI computations, and cloud services. 

For edge computing and businesses requiring a more straightforward, more reliable solution – Modular Data Centers and All-in-One Data Center Cabinets can provide the same benefit without the hefty price tag. 

Are Liquid-Cooled Data Centers the Future 

Based on the current forecast, it looks like it. 

The global data center liquid cooling market is projected to grow from USD 2.6 billion in 2023 to USD 7.8 billion by 2028

But is it for every data center operator? Not at the moment. 

In the future, as more and more innovations come up, standards are created, and OEMs create more liquid-cooled-stable equipment, liquid cooling will become a more dominant cooling technology due to its efficiency and eco-friendliness. In the meantime, there are other ways you can increase airflowcontact us to find out more!

About the Author

Louis Chompff - Founder, AnD Cable Products, Rack and Cable ManagementLouis Chompff – Founder & Managing Director, AnD Cable Products
Louis established AnD Cable Products – Intelligently Designed Cable Management in 1989. Prior to this he enjoyed a 20+ year career with a leading global telecommunications company in a variety of senior data management positions. Louis is an enthusiastic inventor who designed, patented and brought to market his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cable labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the principal author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and rack space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online at https://andcable.com/shop/

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Edge Computing – A Contrast to Colocation

Featured image of edge computing server cabinets

Edge computing is an innovative strategy that moves data storage and processing closer to users and data sources. On the contrary, colocation utilizes a third party’s centralized area and data to share resources and space with our clients. Although it may appear that location differentiates the two, there are still many other distinctions that make them suitable for different uses and needs. 

In 2025, the world’s data creation is forecast to hit a new record high of over 180 zettabytes. Of course, this will inevitably increase the demand for low-latency and high-bandwidth applications. As a result, it paved the way for new and improved data processing paradigms like edge colocation. As the name implies, it combines the best of edge computing and colocation to address the drawbacks of both and provide a better and more convenient solution to customer needs. 

Rows of server cabinets used for Edge Colocation

What Is Edge Computing

Edge computing is a method that places data processing and storage at the network’s “edge,” where it’s closer to both resources and users. Since discovering the “edge,” edge computing has become a vital modern technology. After years of relying on huge rooms as centralized data centers, edge computing decentralized the processing across multiple edge nodes or devices to create local networks and servers. Since then, it has provided numerous functions and solutions to a wide range of users. 

Because it reduces the distance between data sources and users, edge computing has a faster response time, less bandwidth consumption, better security, and many other benefits. Since it processes data on-site, it’s highly reliable, provides real-time data, works efficiently on on-demand applications, and more.

Read Specific Use Cases for Edge Computing

Advantages of Edge Computing

Edge computing offers several benefits that make it an attractive and valuable approach in today’s digital landscape:

Reduced Latency

Edge computing reduces data transmission latency to centralized data centers by processing data closer to the source or end-users. This reduction in latency is critical for applications that require real-time data processing, such as autonomous vehicles, industrial automation, and immersive virtual reality experiences.

Improved Performance

Because data processing occurs locally, performance and response times improve, enhancing the overall user experience and allowing time-sensitive applications to function smoothly.

Bandwidth Optimization

By processing and filtering data at the edge, edge computing helps optimize bandwidth usage. The central cloud or data center receives only relevant or summarized data, reducing network traffic. As a result, it saves bandwidth and minimizes the costs associated with data transmission.

Enhanced Reliability

Edge computing improves reliability by reducing reliance on centralized data centers. This function guarantees the continuity of data processing during connection or network failures. Hence, edge computing is particularly essential for mission-critical applications that cannot afford any downtime.

Scalability and Flexibility

Edge computing makes it possible to scale applications efficiently as demand changes. This means that services and applications can be changed at the network edge without requiring significant infrastructure changes for the company.

These advantages of edge computing make it a compelling solution for various applications and industries. In today’s data-driven, interconnected world, edge computing can open new doors, boost efficiency, and improve user experiences.

Person looking at graph with edge computing text overlay

Use Cases for Edge Computing

Edge computing has been beneficial to many use cases, such as the following:

  • Autonomous or Self-driving Cars

Edge computing allows real-time data processing from the vehicle’s sensors. As a result, it enables cars to process information quickly, allowing them to avoid obstacles, make decisions, and navigate autonomously. 

  • Healthcare

It allows accurate data collection and processing from medical devices in real time. Additionally, it’s essential for medical devices that must monitor a patient continuously and aren’t reliant on network connectivity. Furthermore, edge computing can improve healthcare services in rural and remote areas by allowing faster access to patient information, diagnosis, and treatment. 

  • Manufacturing and Industrial

Edge computing can also improve efficiency and productivity in factories and industrial settings. It monitors operations, controls equipment and machines, and performs other real-time tasks. It’s also useful for energy efficiency monitoring, predictive maintenance, and more. 

  • Retail

It is also helpful in processing retail sensors and other applications, allowing faster and more accurate inventory management, better customer service, and even loss or fraud detection. 

  • Human Resources (HR)

Edge computing offers numerous advantageous use cases for Human Resources (HR) departments across various industries. One prominent use case is the integration of edge devices and sensors in the workplace to gather real-time data on employee attendance, well-being, and safety.

Edge computing also makes security more robust for organizations, reducing the amount of data transmitted and processed in the cloud. That means sensitive data are less vulnerable to attacks. HR departments from established companies can deploy more secure tools exclusive to the organization for employee queries, performance, and requests. 

  • Universities

Edge computing enhances a university’s capabilities in processing and analyzing large volumes of data significantly faster. For academic researchers and doctoral students, this means more frequent breakthroughs and innovation.

Edge computing also enhances Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities. By installing servers closer to devices, they can perform better. End users will experience reduced latency, while universities will benefit from less bandwidth consumption.  

Edge computing has become a significant part of many businesses and industries by processing data from sensors, cameras, machines, smart devices, etc. 

What Underlying Concept Is Edge Computing Based On

Edge computing is based on the concept of distributed computing. The idea is that instead of a centralized data center or central cloud, it distributes data processing and storage across multiple devices. Edge computing processes data closer to the “edge,” where the users and sources are. Since it’s not reliant on a central cloud for data processing, it reduces the number of “hops” the data must travel. As a result, it saves on bandwidth, makes real-time responses, performs better, and can function independently even with a poor network connection.

What Is Colocation

Colocation is the method of renting a space from a third-party colocation data center facility. It gives you access to the facility’s resources, infrastructure, and services other renters share. Colocation can be a more cost-effective and secure option than building and maintaining your data center. 

What Is a Colocation Data Center

Colocation data centers are huge facilities that house servers and resources many users share. These centers offer physical security, hardware maintenance, storage, servers, and other efficiency resources. Typically, space is rented per rack, room, cabinet, or area unit. Many companies and businesses prefer colocation, particularly if they need space to house the equipment and wish to avoid the hassle of maintaining network servers and infrastructure. 

Advantages of Colocation

Colocation has several advantages that make it ideal for many companies, such as:

Space and Lower Expenditure Costs

Of course, the most appealing colocation assets are space and cost savings. Whether you’re a startup, a small business, or a large corporation, space is valuable. Colocation provides space and security, power systems, cooling, etc., so you can save on overhead expenses.

Scalability and Flexibility

Because you can easily rent more space and add more applications, scaling as your business expands is also convenient.

Skilled Staff and Maintenance

Experts and personnel in data centers can help monitor and maintain hardware, equipment, and other systems to ensure everything runs at peak performance. 

Better Security

Security personnel can ensure that no one comes into contact with any of the company’s sensitive information or data. Furthermore, experts in data centers can also help design applications and network security to help manage risks and other cyber threats. 

Colocation is becoming a more popular option for businesses of all sizes – not just giant organizations. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a cost-effective, secure, and scalable way to host your data and applications. 

Use Cases for Colocation

Colocation is excellent for small businesses and large corporations requiring space and security for their tech infrastructure. Here are a few use cases that work well with colocation

  • Financial institutions

Financial institutions, such as banks that need an extra level of security benefit from colocation. Physical security and expert risk managers help protect clients’ personal information and the company’s assets.

  • E-commerce

Online businesses can thrive with strong connectivity without building additional infrastructure, cutting costs, and saving space. 

  •  Technology Companies

Many tech companies also use colocation to house high-powered hardware and other applications that require reliability and security. 

As the digital world expands and the need for connectivity of resources becomes more valuable, colocation will undoubtedly play a significant part in the future and evolution of data centers. 

Key Differences Between Edge Computing and Colocation

Edge computing and colocation have many key differences. Here are some of them:

Edge ComputingColocation 
Location and Proximity to End-UsersCloser to the end-usersA separate and distant area away from the end-user
Infrastructure and HardwareSmaller, more distributed data units or devices

Hardware is smaller, more efficient, and can be moved anywhere
Large and centralized data centers

More extensive and powerful hardware that can handle big operations shared by multiple users
Scalability and FlexibilityScalable as you can add resource requirements based on business needs

Flexible because it can be used to support a wide variety of applications
Also scalable since you can simply rent more or less space Also flexible because you can customize it on demand

Biggest difference is that colocation data centers can handle massive upgrades
Cost and MaintenanceTypically more expensive since it requires specialized hardware and software to process on the “edge”

Regular maintenance and updates can also be costly
It can be less expensive as multiple users can share maintenance costs

Users only pay for bandwidth and resources that they need
Best forApplications that require real-time processingApplications that require high availability and depends more on data storage than dynamic processing

What Is Edge Colocation

Simply put, edge colocation is edge computing implemented through colocation. It’s a combination of strategically located data centers and high-performance systems. Its edge data centers have eliminated the need for businesses to construct new facilities for their edge computing needs and have it handled by a third-party organization that offers colocation and edge computing services. Additionally, since the data travels a shorter distance because these data centers are located close to the end user, performance is also better and more efficient. 

Black colocation server cabinets that are edge ready

What Is an Edge Data Center

Edge data centers are smaller “colocation” facilities located closer to the network’s edge. An edge colocation data center is a type of edge data center that provides faster content delivery with minimal latency because it is located close to the population it serves. 

When choosing a data center, there are several factors you should consider aside from location, such as:


Save Thousands and Generate Millions in Revenue

For data centers, on the other hand, one way to ensure savings and smarter hardware expansion and footprint usage is to use optimization devices. One that allows your data center engineers to use all of your server rack units (RU) is through a Zero U Cable Manager

This server rack cabinet management tool allows you to replace the traditional 1RU or 2RU cable managers that use unnecessary space. For already established data centers, you can recover up to 30% of your rack units by installing a Horizontal Zero U Cable Management Shelf. That means you get to free one whole server rack cabinet for every three optimized cabinets to secure more storage, switches, and other devices without paying thousands of dollars. 

For edge colocation data centers where floor space management is paramount, Zero U cable managers are no longer a “nice-to-have” upgrade but a necessity. 

Side-by-side comparison of 1U and Zero U cable manager

Who Is Edge Colocation For

Edge colocation can be an exceptional option for companies that need high-performance applications or services for many users in a particular area or region. It can benefit organizations and industries looking to enhance their software and services’ efficiency, security, reliability, and cost-effectiveness.

Use Cases of Edge Colocation

Here are some use cases that benefit from edge colocation:

  • Telecom

As we move to 5G, there is a greater opportunity to place network function virtualization (NFV) nodes further from antennas while keeping base stations near their communities. Instead of building a bigger server in one location, they can cut costs by creating smaller servers and distributing them to different areas. 

  • Bare-metal Services 

Meta’s bare metal offerings on edge colocation allow applications and services to run on physical servers at the network’s edge at a lower cost because you can rent space or pay by the hour. Edge colocation can offer high performance, flexibility, and more control.

  • Virtual Machines (VMs) or Containers

Edge colocation’s reduced latency, better connectivity, improved security, rapid scaling, and portability can benefit high-powered VMs and containers. For example, a gaming company could use edge colocation to host its game servers closer to end users. Of course, it’s expected to result in better connectivity and performance.  

Edge colocation is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years due to the increased use of the IoT, 5G, and the demand for greater security. 

Data Center Companies

There are already a growing number of data center companies worldwide. Here are some of the leading names:

  • Digital Realty

Another leading data center and cloud solution provider, it has a global footprint that connects over 310+ data centers across 25+ countries.

  • Equinix

Equinix is another global leader in data center and colocation services for enterprise networks and cloud computing. It has 248 data centers in 27 countries on five continents. 

  • NTT Communications

NTT Communications is a global provider of cloud, managed data center services, and IT solutions. They have over 200 data centers in 70 markets across the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

These are just some of the many data center companies around. When selecting an edge data center provider, it is critical to consider your specific company’s needs and requirements.

Should Your Organization Use Edge Colocation Services

As the amount of data used and created at the edge boosts, colocation at the edge is becoming increasingly crucial. Selecting the right data center is crucial if you think edge colocation will benefit your company. You also need the right equipment and configuration to maximize efficiency and space in the data center. 

Data Center Cabinets

The 5G revolution, Edge Computing and the demand for Distributed Data requires data centers to become greater in capacity and ability. This simultaneously increases the complexity and difficulty in managing the data center infrastructure.

The amount of data centers required for processing the exponentially increasing amounts of data for streaming, Al, AR and the Internet of Things (IoT) also puts a greater demand on capital expenditures. Companies must scale upwards quickly but efficiently with an eye on both performance and economy. lT executives are given a seemingly impossible task to expand services, improve efficiencies, manage the growth and stay within an already stretched budget.

All-in-One IT Cabinet by Rakworx with text overlay showing  benefits

Modular Data Center Solutions

In addition to precisely prefabricated, modular structures and components, these high-quality Modular Data Centers efficiently utilize natural air and an evaporative cooling system to help maximize productivity from the lT infrastructure. Intelligent power distribution systems help self-monitor and regulate all activities within the structure.

Find out more about Modular Data Centers

At AnD Cable Products, we understand these challenges. We offer everything your data center needs, from Zero U Rack Solutions to every type and style of cable you need. We can customize cables for your application and offer various other hardware solutions to help your business succeed and grow. When you are ready to upgrade your cables, make moves and changes, or even deploy a new colocation or edge colocation data center or edge computing center – contact us at (800) 394-3008 or click HERE for a FREE 30-day TRIAL of our Zero U Cable Managers.

About the Author

Louis Chompff - Founder, AnD Cable Products, Rack and Cable ManagementLouis Chompff – Founder & Managing Director, AnD Cable Products
Louis established AnD Cable Products – Intelligently Designed Cable Management in 1989. Prior to this he enjoyed a 20+ year career with a leading global telecommunications company in a variety of senior data management positions. Louis is an enthusiastic inventor who designed, patented and brought to market his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cable labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the principal author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and rack space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online at https://andcable.com/shop/

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Faster Polymer Plastic Cables? Not So Fast!

Faster Polymer Plastic Cables? Not So Fast - AnD Cable Management Blog

Just about a year ago a group from MIT demonstrated a polymer plastic cable the size of a human hair that could transmit data faster than copper – much faster. 

How fast? Well, they recorded speeds of more than 100 gigabits per second! So where is this new technology and where is it headed? Well, here are some answers for you.

Faster Polymer Plastic Cables? Not So Fast - AnD Cable Management Blog
MIT demonstrated a plastic polymer cable the size of a human hair. Photo: MIT, https://news.mit.edu/2021/data-transfer-system-silicon-0224

The Need for Speed

First, perhaps we need to qualify what this speed is, and why computers and data centers need it. 

The first big deal is that these cables act like copper – they can directly connect devices without the need to reformat data. While standard fiber cables are faster, they require a converter to change light signals to electrical signals at each end of the connection. 

Of course, there are a lot of immediate uses for faster cables like these, including in data centers. Artificial intelligence applications like self-driving cars, manufacturing, and countless other applications where data provided as close to “real-time” as possible makes a huge difference. 

But of course, as with all such applications, speed is not the only factor.

Distance

At the moment in a laboratory setting, these cables are only good for short distances, not long ones. That doesn’t mean researchers are not confident in the impact these cables can have. 

Think of a polymer plastic cable that is both durable and lightweight, and can transmit terabits of data over a meter or beyond? Theoretically, this is the possibility, with the idea that such cables could replace USB and even the faster USB-C cables. 

Even at shorter lengths, such cables could be exceptionally useful for transferring data between more than one chip inside a device. The thinner fibers could be used to revolutionize these applications as well, making even smaller and more efficient devices possible. 

We Have the Power

The problem as it currently exists is that transferring data through copper cables consumes more and more power, to the point of diminishing returns, and such transfer generates heat – a lot of heat that must be dissipated and can actually cause damage to cables. 

The fiber optic alternative is not always compatible with silicon chips without the light to electronic transfer mentioned above. The idea behind polymer plastic is to save energy, generate less heat, and still allow for compact connections. 

If this is such a great idea, why is it not on the market yet?

From Laboratory To Market

To transfer such technology from the lab to the market takes a lot of work and requires some potential changes. First, the technology needs to be tested and perfected at a higher level. Since the concept has been established, other labs are now working on it as well, and this could be the fastest part of the process. 

But there is more:

  • New standards would have to be developed for IEEE, established, and agreed upon
  • Potentially, new connectors would need to be created for these cables to interface with other chips and other devices
  • The manufacture of new cables needs to be established at scale before they can become commonly used in any application.
  • A supply chain or the use of existing ones must be established to get cables from the plant to the end-user.

Does this sound like a lot? It is, but it has been done before. The question is, what do those who are building data centers – and would use these cables on a regular basis – think?

The Future is Now

“The need for speed has never been so great,” Bill Lambert, a data center engineer told us. “Ten years ago, no one would even have been talking about devices that would need this kind of speed. We would have told you we would never need that capacity.”

And he’s right. Many of the devices we now use every day, and their speeds would have been unimaginable before, let alone the amount of data we use. But the more we look at the uses for real-time data, the faster we need to get that information from one place to another. 

“It’s like the work from anywhere revolution,” he told us. “The last two years have totally changed what data transfer and speed look like, inside and outside of data centers. It’s a sure bet that the next few will revolutionize these ideas again.”

In an ever-changing field where speed and data matter more than ever, science has just begun to catch up with what we need. And we’re lucky enough to be a part of it. 

Have a question about updating the infrastructure in your current data center or want to learn more about building the infrastructure in a new one? Contact us here at AnD Cable Products. We have everything from the cable management you need to remote monitoring and more. 

We’re glad to be your partners going forward to tomorrow and beyond. 

Physical Layer Environment Network Security Monitoring and Control

A150 Physical Layer Environment Network Security Monitoring and Control System Brochure

Full visibility, network security and control of your physical layer environment. Monitor your entire hybrid cloud and IT infrastructure from a cloud-based, integrated dashboard:

  • Introducing the A150 System
  • A150 System Architecture – High-Level Overview
  • A150 System Features
  • System Controller Hardware and Specifications
  • Monitoring Controllers, Probes and Sensors

About the Author

Louis Chompff - Founder, AnD Cable Products, Rack and Cable ManagementLouis Chompff – Founder & Managing Director, AnD Cable Products
Louis established AnD Cable Products – Intelligently Designed Cable Management in 1989. Prior to this he enjoyed a 20+ year career with a leading global telecommunications company in a variety of senior data management positions. Louis is an enthusiastic inventor who designed, patented and brought to market his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cable labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the principal author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and rack space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online at https://andcable.com/shop/

Posted on 3 Comments

How a Fire-Rated Power Distribution System Reduces Risk

How a Fire-Rated Power Distribution System Reduces Risk - AnD Cable Management Blog

Fires are not super common in data centers, but they do happen, and most often when they do, they are not reported (at least not in the news). Much of the reason for this is that fires are usually small and quickly contained. It is unusual for a data center to become fully engulfed. 

Even when such fires are reported on, details can be sketchy, causes, and investigations hidden behind NDA’s and are therefore difficult to learn from. While companies want to retain control over the narrative and how it impacts their reputation, the information around fires can and should be shared within the industry to prevent further similar events. And there are some things you can do now – such as remote monitoring – to keep your staff and facilities safe. 

Remote monitoring can help your data center keep staff and equipment safe from fire damage

The OVHCloud Incident

On 10 March 2021, near midnight local time, a fire started in the OVHCloud SBG2 data center, quickly got out of control, and even damaged two other nearby data centers. The fire started near two UPS units, one of which was worked on that same day. 

The company is considered a European alternative to the giant US cloud operators and is a key participant in the European Union’s GaiaX cloud project. Data centers serve some key functions in the French government, the UK vehicle licensing department, and others. Operations were directly impacted by the fire, although the company did have backup data centers, and quickly restored service to most customers. 

But poor design and operational practices that seem to sacrifice dependability for innovation have caused some issues, including major outages, for OVHCloud. The fire just punctuated an ongoing issue but also caused many data center operators and customers to pause and think about something probably not mentioned often enough: the risk of fire in data centers. 

What are the Fire Risks?

When broken down there are a few key fire risks common to all data centers, and most of the time they are relatively easy to mitigate.

  • Electrical Equipment – temperature changes can increase this risk, and of course, a source of risk is also backup power equipment. Generator rooms that contain gas or diesel fumes can create intense fires quickly that would be hard to fight.  
  • Cables – data center power cables are usually not enough to start a fire by themselves, but a damaged cable can release sparks or overheat and cause a small fire or thermal incident that can then spread. Proper cable management and monitoring of underfloor and overhead cabling can help prevent these events. 
  • HVAC Infrastructure – heating and cooling units present some fire danger to data centers and should be inspected often and monitored carefully. Its operation is also critical to maintaining optimal temperatures in the data center to prevent other thermal events. 
  • External Fire Sources – California wildfires. The recent blaze in Boulder. The Texas fires last year. All are examples of external fire risk to data centers, specifically those Edge data centers in less populated areas. 

Most of these can be controlled by properly managing the data center, but there are some events that can only be prepared for. Having fire suppression systems and plans in place is critical regardless of the likelihood of the danger. 

Fire Prevention Systems

Of course, the best prescription for dealing with fire is prevention. The key to this in the modern data center environment is a complete remote monitoring system. The A150 Network Monitoring System is designed specifically for data centers, IT rooms, and confidential lab operators with virtual graphics showing temperature, rack power consumption, and humidity. 

But most importantly for this topic, the system provides alerts for mission critical events like the sudden temperature changes associated with fires, smoke alarms, and sprinkler activation alerts. You can also be alerted to things like power spikes, a rise in server temperatures, or even UPS unit failures so you can make emergency repairs and mitigate fire risk before one starts. 

The reality is that anything you can do to prevent fire before it happens is preferrable than anything you can do to suppress and extinguish an active blaze. However, those are contingencies you need to prepare for. 

Fire Rated Power Distribution Systems

There are two primary principles when it comes to any fire safety plan, anywhere. They are the two P’s: prevent (which we discussed above) and protect. Part of both of these is the vital role of uninterrupted power. Enter the role of a fire-rated busbar trunking system.

These systems can be operational for a period of up to two or even three hours depending on their ratings. They’re also cased in a fire-retardant self-extinguishing resin that essentially protects the power supply itself. The idea is that this will give first responders time to extinguish the fire before it can spread.

How do you choose the right one for your data center? Well, there are established guidelines that indicate the type of fire, the duration they were tested for, how they endured water spray, such as that from sprinkler systems, and the power supply integrity in a fire situation.

Technically, they look like this: 

  • BS IEC 60331-1: 2019 – Tests for electric cables under fire conditions; circuit integrity
  • BS 8602:2013 – Method for assessment of fire integrity of cast resin busbar trunking systems for the safety-critical power distribution to life safety and firefighting systems
  • BS 6387:2013 (CWZ Protocol) – Test method for resistance to fire of cables required to maintain circuit integrity under fire conditions. Fire-resistant cables are classified by a sequence of symbols (for example, CWZ) in accordance with the fire resistance criteria they meet, the selected test temperature, and the length of the fire resistance test per BS 6387
  • NFPA 75 – Standard for the fire protection of IT equipment
  • ISO 834 – Fire resistance tests- elements of building construction
  • ATEX & IECEx – ATEX certification is given to equipment that has gone through rigorous testing outlined by European Union directives and proved safe to use in specific environments with explosive atmospheres, according to the zone/s they are certified to be used in.

The most important part of this discussion is the planning stage. It’s vital to have a disaster plan in place and address both prevention and keeping a fire from happening in the first place to protect the data center and minimize the fire’s impact. 

The more we learn from data center fires, the more likely we are to be able to prevent them going forward, and mitigate the damage in the rare event they do occur. 

Need some advice on cable management, remote monitoring, or other aspects of data center planning? Contact us – we’d love to start a conversation about how we can help you with your data center management plan. 

Physical Layer Environment Network Security Monitoring and Control

A150 Physical Layer Environment Network Security Monitoring and Control System Brochure

Full visibility, network security and control of your physical layer environment. Monitor your entire hybrid cloud and IT infrastructure from a cloud-based, integrated dashboard:

  • Introducing the A150 System
  • A150 System Architecture – High-Level Overview
  • A150 System Features
  • System Controller Hardware and Specifications
  • Monitoring Controllers, Probes and Sensors

About the Author

Louis Chompff - Founder, AnD Cable Products, Rack and Cable ManagementLouis Chompff – Founder & Managing Director, AnD Cable Products
Louis established AnD Cable Products – Intelligently Designed Cable Management in 1989. Prior to this he enjoyed a 20+ year career with a leading global telecommunications company in a variety of senior data management positions. Louis is an enthusiastic inventor who designed, patented and brought to market his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cable labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the principal author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and rack space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online at https://andcable.com/shop/

Posted on 1 Comment

Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Lithography – Keeping Moore’s Law Alive

Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Lithography - Keeping Moore’s Law Alive - Feature

In 1975, looking at the next decade, a guy named Gordon Moore revised his previous forecast of the number of integrated circuits in a microchip doubling every year to doubling every two years. Moore was not a prophet, nor a brilliant data analyst, but as his prediction held true, it later became known as a law. 

The law has become more of a guide, influencing the policies for research and development of the largest companies and chip manufacturers in the world. And it, and a new machine helping to keep Moore’s law alive, are what your iPhone and those robots from Boston Dynamics with the best dance moves have in common.

Macro photo/Shutterstock.com

Let There Be Light

First, we must understand lithography, an analogous method for making printed circuits. Technically defined, lithography is printing on a plane surface treated to repel the material being printed except where it is intended (or in the case of circuits, needed) to stick. 

The use of light for this treating and etching process is common, but one machine, built by ASML, a Dutch company that has cornered the market for etching the tiniest nanoscopic features into microchips with light, is playing a huge role in keeping Moore’s law viable. 

ASML introduced the first extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machines for mass production in 2017, after decades spent mastering the technique, and the machine needed for the process is to put it mildly, massive and mind blowing. It’s expensive too, with a sticker price of around $150 million. TSMC, Samsung, and Intell are initial customers. 

Amazon Prime won’t be enough to get the massive machine delivered, unless you have 40 freight containers, three cargo planes, and 20 trucks on standby. What’s the big deal with this machine, and why does it (and it’s future children) matter?

How it Works

Think of a machine the size of a bus with 2 kilometers of cabling and over 100,000 parts. Inside are a series of nano-mirrors polished to precision that literally project extremely focused ultraviolet light into future chips to etch features that are often just a few atoms wide. That’s right, atoms. 

This means chips with components smaller (and more durable in many ways) than they have ever been. Smaller chips that are just as powerful, nano-sensors that are just as sensitive or accurate in a fraction of the space they take up now, and more will enable chips to get tinier, lighter, and more powerful than ever before. 

The Moore’s Law Limit

How small can chips get? Some think that Moore’s law is reaching the point where it is no longer viable, for three key reasons

  • Electrical leakage – As transistors get smaller, they at first become more efficient, but as they have reached nano-size, the transistor often can’t handle all of the electricity, and that means heat, and heat means potential damage to the transistor and maybe even the entire chip in some circumstances. Therefore, we can only decrease the size of a chip as we increase cooling power.
  • Heat – The electrical leakage and resulting heat means that one of two things must be limited: the amount of voltage or the number of the transistors in a given chip, thus limiting the power. The technology of Extreme Ultroviolet Lithography may offer some help in this area, but that remains unknown.
  • Economics – The price of this machine is just one factor. As chips get hotter and need more cooling the cost of keeping a data center at a viable temperature goes up, and that cost must be passed on to someone, generally the consumer. And businesses also want to extend the life of their equipment, ensuring it lasts as long as possible. Faster equipment with a shorter lifespan may not be as appealing to the average buyer or data center manager.

What does all this mean when we break it down?

Well, the data center of tomorrow may be a fraction of the size of those we have today. Or it may be equally as large, but able to store and deliver data at rates we can’t even imagine. Equipment, servers, remote sensors, everything may keep shrinking, to a point. But there will be a point when Moore’s law will no longer be valid or achievable, and that day may come sooner rather than later.

Are you running the data center of today, but looking forward to the data center of tomorrow? Are you interested in the latest remote monitoring and cabling solutions? Contact us at AnD Cable Products. We’d love to talk about what tomorrow looks like, and how we can help you head the right direction today. 

WHITEPAPER – Optimizing Server Cabinet Rack Space to Maximize Efficiency and Reduce Costs

Optimizing Server Cabinet Rack Space to Maximize Efficiency and Reduce Costs FREE Guide - AnD Cable Products

Smart optimization can help you increase rack space and realize significant equipment cost savings. Read our step-by-step guide that shows you how – and how much you could save.

  • How Much Rack Space You Could Save
  • How to Optimize for Maximum Efficiency
  • Savings for New and Retrofit Installations
  • Overall Cost and Space Savings Post-Optimization

About the Author

Louis Chompff - Founder, AnD Cable Products, Rack and Cable ManagementLouis Chompff – Founder & Managing Director, AnD Cable Products
Louis established AnD Cable Products – Intelligently Designed Cable Management in 1989. Prior to this he enjoyed a 20+ year career with a leading global telecommunications company in a variety of senior data management positions. Louis is an enthusiastic inventor who designed, patented and brought to market his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cable labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the principal author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and rack space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online at https://andcable.com/shop/

Posted on 1 Comment

Edge Data Centers – Space and the Final Frontier

Edge of space - Edge Data Centers - Space and the Final Frontier - Cable Management Blog

Computing on the edge: it seems that everyone is doing it, from big industry to manufacturers, from ISPs to Cloud Computing centers. When you can locate computing and analytics power closer to machines connected via the IoT and other data sources, the faster you can gather data, and the more data you can store and analyze in a timely manner. For some, edge data centers seem like the final frontier for data.

Feature Edge Data Centers - Space and the Final Frontier - Cable Management Blog

This has resulted in data centers that vary in size, from the size of a very large cabinet to those contained in the space of a small shipping container. But like any journey to the edge, there are challenges and risks. There are two primary ones we will address here:

  • Temperature – Because of the small spaces edge data centers often occupy, airflow and temperature control can be tricky.
  • Space – Smaller size also means that saving space is critical, and on the flip side, can also enable more airflow and indirect cooling in a confined area.

In this way, the two primary challenges are related, and often a solution that mitigates one will also help mitigate the other. Let’s take a quick look at each of these.

Controlling the Environment on the Edge

The temperatures that edge data centers operate at are critical. And there is a huge difference between the cooling we need for a building designed to keep people comfortable, and a building designed to serve machines. Think of it this way: if someone opens the door to your office, you may feel a blast of warm or cold air, depending on the time of year. Your discomfort disappears quickly when the door closes, as the HVAC system takes over, and brings air back into the broad temperature tolerances humans can endure.

However, what happens when you go to an edge data center and open the door? The answer is, it depends on where it is. Large, brick and mortar data centers can be located in areas with minimal environmental challenges and low risk of natural disasters. But edge data centers must be located, well, where they are needed. That means in dusty and dirty environments, areas with extreme temperature fluctuations, and more.

There are really only two choices:

  • Develop and deploy equipment designed to withstand extremes, at a higher price point. A good example is cellular equipment like that developed by AT&T. However, the cost of this equipment is too high for standard edge data center deployment at scale.
  • Work with existing, readily available equipment and use unique strategies to combat environmental changes at a small scale, including using tents or shrouds for entry and exit, using handheld temperature and humidity monitors to evaluate current conditions, and developing strategic plans for unexpected events.

Another part of the solution is to use remote monitoring, AI and the IoT in edge data centers to mitigate the need for human intervention. Monitoring the health of equipment and preventing disaster in the first place is one of the keys to efficient management of edge data centers.

This is but one of the challenges data center managers face. The second is the efficient use of available space.

Saving Space

While cooling and environmental control are critical, so is the efficient use of space. This can result in increased airflow and easier HVAC solutions while also enabling more servers to be installed in the same amount of space.

This involves a few key steps:

  • Rack Selection – Whether a data center uses 23” or 19” racks, there are rack solutions that take up less space, and are also able to use better rack management options.
  • Cable ManagementZeroU horizontal cable managers makes more room for servers in a single rack, and they prevent the “spaghetti mess” that can happen in server racks, and be especially problematic in edge data centers that are more compact.
  • Compact Vertical Cable Management11U cable managers also save space and keep cables organized and easy to access should moves, changes, or repairs be needed.

Anything that can be done to save space in an edge data center makes facing the other challenges related to environmental control easier, but it also has another impact: an economic one. The less space you need to get the computing power you need, the more compact your data center can be. Alternatively, this can give you space to scale as needed without creating yet another data center space.

At the edge, there are always challenges, but there are also solutions. From controlling the environment in and around the data center to using the space in the most efficient way possible, with the right equipment, these obstacles can be transformed into opportunities to change not only how much data is collected and how quickly it can be acted upon, but where it happens as well.

Do you have questions about saving space in your edge data center? Are you looking for remote monitoring solutions? Then contact us here at AnD Cable. We’d love to start a conversation about how we can help you.

About the Author

Louis Chompff - Founder, AnD Cable Products, Rack and Cable ManagementLouis Chompff – Founder & Managing Director, AnD Cable Products
Louis established AnD Cable Products – Intelligently Designed Cable Management in 1989. Prior to this he enjoyed a 20+ year career with a leading global telecommunications company in a variety of senior data management positions. Louis is an enthusiastic inventor who designed, patented and brought to market his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cable labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the principal author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and rack space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online at https://andcable.com/shop/

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7 Considerations When Choosing Fiber Optic Cable

7-Considerations-When-Choosing-Fiber-Optic-Cable-Feature-Image

Fiber optic cable has become the go-to choice for a variety of applications by data center managers. The reasons are many, including advances in cable technology that make it an even better choice. But there are several things to consider when choosing fiber optic cable to ensure it’s the right fit for the application. Here are seven of the most important ones.

Jump to Section:

  1. Distance
  2. Interference
  3. Bandwidth
  4. Security
  5. Cable Size
  6. Cost
  7. Durability
Choosing Fiber Optic Cable - Discover 7 Considerations - Cable Management Blog
Choosing Fiber Optic Cable – Discover 7 Considerations

Distance

One of the big advantages of fiber optic cable is the loss factor: fiber only loses 3% of data over 100 meters compared to much greater losses with copper cables like CAT6 cables. While copper may be a great choice for short distances, the longer the cable needs to be, the bigger advantage to choosing fiber optic cable.

So the first factor to consider when choosing fiber optic cable is the distance the data must travel.

Interference

Fiber is fully resistant to interference from various sources like power lines, lightning storms, and even deliberate scrambling and disruption. So while the first consideration is how far the data must travel, the second consideration is where the data may travel. In data centers, whether cables are managed by running overhead or the less common instance of running through underfloor spaces, there can be sources of interference in or near that path.

This is also true in edge data centers, where everything is more compact and closer together. This is also true in modular data centers, and the right fiber cable can ensure that you can scale quickly and easily as needed. As we move toward collocation and hyper scaling, this becomes even more important.

Bandwidth

Data centers must be prepared for the future, and the bandwidth your cables can handle is a big part of that. For instance, the rise in the use of OM5 cables over OM3/4 especially in new builds is an indication that data centers are preparing for increased 5G and traffic from VR and AR applications.

This is essential to prepare for the coming 400G demands, especially in Edge data centers. As “work from home” or “work from anywhere” becomes the norm, even smaller residential data centers will be inundated with new traffic, as we saw through the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems that more companies are shifting to hybrid workforces, moving their corporate headquarters out of city center areas that are more expensive to rent, and even enabling partially or fully remote workforces.

Combine that with increases in “shopping from home” and multiple streaming devices, and speed and bandwidth are more important than ever.

Security

Of course, security is one of the top concerns for any data center. A single breach can put an entire company out of business, and result in serious issues if the data of thousands of customers is compromised. While most security issues are found in software and in the human factor (like compromised passwords) there is still a certain amount of risk in physical hardware.

However, fiber cables are difficult to compromise without the intrusion being detected, which means at the very least, using fiber cables, especially in areas where they could be potentially compromised physically, is a vital part of an overall data center security plan. Choosing the right cable in the right place can make the difference between protecting your data center’s security and digital assets, and a potentially costly data breach.

Cable Size

Over time, thinner fiber cables that carry as much data as their larger counterparts have been developed, making it practical to use fiber nearly anywhere. These thinner cables can also be bent and routed easily, saving space in your cable management systems.

Thinner cables also contribute to higher airflow and more efficient cooling, another potential area of cost savings. Fiber cables can also be bundled, organized, and labeled easily, preventing the spaghetti mess that often accumulates at the rear of server racks. Of course, this can also be prevented by having a better cable management plan in place.

In short, consider the size of cable you are using in any given area, and weigh that with other factors like distance, interference, and bandwidth.

Cost

Above, we mentioned OM5 being the future of fiber cables, but their wide adoption will come as they are produced in various lengths and sizes on a larger scale. This is because at the moment, they are produced to custom specifications. However, as OM3/4 are still viable and compatible with OM5, you can update your data center in incremental stages, and still utilize the less expensive OM3/4 cables as needed.

You’ll want to weigh cost against performance. Yes, OM5 is the best way to prepare for the future, but that can be done in cost-effective stages as your data center changes and grows. Replacing cables when you are doing moves and changes, or a new build will save you money in the long run.

Durability

Choosing fiber optic cable is easy when it comes to durability, as it’s an extremely durable cable for the most part. It is important that you evaluate where and how the cable is being used when choosing the proper cable. Where bends happen, and in an area where there may be more moves and changes than normal, you will want the most durable cable for that application.

Fiber comes in different diameters and insulation levels, and so you should be sure to choose the right one for that particular application. Evaluate several ways you can improve cable use to increase efficiency and scalability.

When choosing fiber optic cable that’s the best fit in any given application, be sure to take all of these factors into consideration. Need more information? You can check out some of the great information on our blog and in our various white papers, but if you still have questions, reach out to us. We’d love to start a conversation about how we can meet your data center cabling needs at any scale.

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About the Author

Louis Chompff - Founder, AnD Cable Products, Rack and Cable ManagementLouis Chompff, Founder & Managing Director, AnD Cable Products
Louis established AnD Cable Products – Intelligently Designed Cable Management in 1989. Prior to this he enjoyed a 20+ year career with a leading global telecommunications company in a variety of senior data management positions. Louis is an enthusiastic inventor who designed, patented and brought to market his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cabel labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the principal author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online https://andcable.com/shop/