What are outdoor micro data centres?

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Micro Data Centres are already being embraced in a wide range of industries. One unique aspect of this technology is that there are versions suitable for external use – either those that are housed in weather-proof containers or are constructed specifically to be exposed to the elements.

The implication of this technology is huge, with many industries already utilising them and others ripe to benefit.

What is an Outdoor Micro Data Centre?

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MDCs have been around for a while now, with their use becoming commonplace in many sectors, mostly associated with edge deployments.

However, many people are still unaware that there are specific types that don’t need to be housed within a building, making for a versatile data storage solution that can be used in multiple fields.

Outdoor MDCs are presented in two distinct designs: a modular data centre that’s wholly self-contained and weatherproof, and a containerised solution that can house multiple units and provide cooling and the necessary protection against the elements.

Both offer many benefits to suit the growth of smart industry, including the ability to connect them to solar or wind power sources.

  • Can be placed virtually anywhere: Thanks to the dual-power benefits and ability to withstand the elements, outdoor MDCs can be sited right where data is generated, even in the remotest of regions.

  • No unnecessary transference of data: In many cases, especially smart industry, there’s no need to send all captured data to the cloud or other storage facilities. An MDC allows for the information to be processed at the heart of the action, with only that deemed necessary being sent on a longer journey for analysis and/or storage.

  • Robust security: Both in the physical and cyber-plane.

  • Reduced latency: Even the slightest delay can impact efficiency. Edge data storage means information can be processed in real-time.

  • Fully scalable: More MDCs can be added if increased storage is needed.

  • Portable: If location needs change, an MDC or bank of MDCs can easily be moved.

  • Independent operation and simplified maintenance: Internally cooled, can run on AC or DC power and doesn’t require any specialist maintenance.

  • Environmentally sound: Easier cooling (only the unit needs to be kept at temperature, not a complete room) lowers a business’s carbon footprint and reduces energy costs.

For areas such as greenfield and brownfield sites, the ability to have extensive data storage at the heart of the action is exactly where the external containerised solution is game-changing. Using a shipping container (or containers) to house MDCs provides a versatile, extensive plug n play solution that, if necessary, can keep multiple stakeholder infrastructure completely separate. It also makes for scalable storage that conforms to health, safety and data security requirements.

Industries that benefit from Outdoor Micro Data Centres

MDCs are already in use in a wide variety of industries – and the fact that they can be sited outside means that many businesses are discovering the edge they bring to an operation.

  • Mining: This is one area that’s currently experiencing an explosion in MDC use. With the remote nature of the sector and the increasing uptake of smart technology, on-site MDCs means data can be stored at source and analysed in real-time. Add in the ability to withstand the harsh Australian climate, AC/DC operation (including being hooked up to renewable energy sources), and hassle-free maintenance and it’s easy to see why national and international mining operations are discovering how interior and exterior MDCs can positively impact baseline profits.

  • Farming: Smart farming is already big business. Once again, the remote location and huge expanses of arable and livestock landscapes mean that Micro Data Centres represent a valuable resource in data analytics. Weather stations, crop monitoring, intelligent lighting and watering systems, vertical farming, indoor cultivation – the list is endless. Outdoor MDCs, in combination with Artificial Intelligence algorithms, can maximise growth potential and be located right where they’re needed. They can also help increase efficient energy use, something that’s vital in today’s volatile environmental landscape.

  • Telecommunications: With the global infrastructure of 5G being implemented at full speed, the need for Edge computing within the communication industry is crucial. IoT devices are increasing exponentially and with this the amount of data being generated, along with a need for its instant analysis. Traditional networks – even with increasing bandwidth – suffer from latency. Removing an element of this burden with Edge computing storage facilities, such as external MDCs, is proving an essential piece in the burgeoning communication jigsaw.

  • Government: As infrastructures are being upgraded to service the many ways IoT devices will benefit a variety of government initiatives, so the use of MDCs will become more necessary. Traffic management, self-driving vehicles, crisis management and smart cities are just some examples of where Edge computing and outdoor MDC technology will need to be implemented for local and national government ambitions to be fully realised.

While these are specific sectors set to benefit from using Micro Data Centres out in the elements, another important area to look at is where space is at a premium. Real estate is expensive, making the sacrifice of swathes of indoor areas to house traditional data centres is no longer viable in many situations (see retail, education, healthcare, etc.). Add in the environmental cost of keeping large banks of data storage cool, plus the years they take to build, and it’s no wonder that businesses of all sizes are waking up to the power of the MDC.

Our outdoor micro data centres are simple to maintain, weatherproof, and easily scalable and transported. They can be housed anywhere in a business' premises – beneath a desk or in a reception area, on the roof or anywhere outdoors – even in the harshest of weathers.

Get in touch to find out more or have a look at outdoor micro data centres: Zella Max (containerised solution) and Zella Hut (self-contained, weatherproof micro data centre).

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