Data Centre Management (DCM): Living At The Edge With Secure I.T. Environments Ltd

Find out about our work with Secure I.T. Environments Ltd and how moving to modular data centres and UPS is assisting the rise of edge computing.

As society becomes increasingly dependent on connected devices and the ‘Internet of Things’, the data centre sector is at something of a crossroads. How does it deliver the real-time processing that this technological revolution so desperately needs?

High latency isn’t just the bane of impatient internet surfers trying to stream the latest episode of their favourite show. Millisecond delays can cause chaos to businesses, ruining automated production runs or wiping out profits of e-commerce retailers.

Sending data all the way to an enterprise data centre or cloud, processing it, then sending the requisite “instruction” or “action” back to the original source simply isn’t an option. It’s not just the delayed response, it’s the sheer cost of using such bandwidth. Then there’s the cybersecurity risk of information potentially travelling hundreds or even thousands of miles.

Edge computing offers the obvious solution to these problems. By moving the computer processing near to where the data originates from, it offers the low latency that real-time analysis relies on. It reduces bandwidth requirements. And it enables more data to be stored locally, minimising the risk of corruption or hacking.

Secure I.T. Environments Ltd's ModCel containerised data centre installed on concrete plinth in grass field
MODULAR GAINS: One of Secure I.T. Environments Ltd’s typical ModCel modular data centre installations, ideal for the needs of edge computing

What Data Centre Does Edge Computing Need?

Processing at the edge requires a different type of data centre. The huge hyperscale facilities we’ve become used to don’t cut the mustard. It needs something more compact and versatile. That “something” is a modular data centre.

Micro or modular data centres are pre-built structures. They have all the functionality of a traditional data centre, but in a much-reduced footprint.

Riello UPS has teamed up with Secure I.T. Environments Ltd, a leading designer and manufacturer of modular data centres, on several recent projects. This includes installations at two Welsh medical facilities, Wrexham Maelor Hospital and Ysbyty Glan Clwyd Hospital in Bodelwyddan.

Data Centre Management magazine spoke to both companies to find out how moves towards modular are aiding the shift towards edge processing.

The article explores Secure I.T. Environments Ltd’s latest take on modular data centres, the ModCel and the EdgeCel. Both of these products take modular to another level, that of a containerised data centre.

These structures take a sturdy, secure, and fire-proof steel shipping container and incorporate all the technologies you’d find in a traditional data centre. So that’s 19-inch server cabinets, UPS, air conditioning, power distribution units, cables, DCIM, and necessary access controls.

What Are The Benefits Of Modular Data Centres?

The company’s containerised data centres are all built off-site and tested before they’re transported to site. The entire process from design to installation typically takes 6-8 weeks.

“The beauty with a structure like the EdgeCel is that it can be installed virtually anywhere. “

“Because the container itself is fireproof, weatherproof, and fully-insulated, it can go inside or outside, even in the car park, on the roof, or in a warehouse.

“And because it’s classed as a temporary structure, in many cases it isn’t subject to UK planning regulations, so doesn’t require any formal planning permission.”

– Chris Wellfair, Projects Director for Secure I.T. Environments Ltd

There are two other obvious benefits of a containerised data centre. Firstly, it offers scalability by adding in extra cabinets or even stacking containers on top of each other.

Secondly, it’s a great solution for operators that need the flexibility to move their processing facilities between different locations. As long as the container complies with the Lloyd’s Register Container Certification Scheme (LRCCS), the main worldwide safety accreditation, it can be sent by road, rail, air, or sea.

Riello UPS Multi Power uninterruptible power supply in a containerised data centre
COMPACT & POWER-PACKED: A modular Multi Power UPS easily fits into the restricted footprint necessitated by a containerised data centre

Modular Data Centres Need Modular UPS For Power Protection

For a modular data centre to perform the complex tasks required to make edge computing a reality, it obviously needs a continuous supply of electricity. That’s why they’ll all incorporate some form of an uninterruptible power supply and/or backup generator.

But with space at a premium, the UPS needs to deliver power density in a small footprint. That’s certainly the case with Riello UPS’s award-winning Multi Power modular UPS, which is the product of choice on several recent Secure I.T. Environments Ltd projects.

Offering exceptional efficiency up to 96% and needing less energy-intensive cooling than bigger and heavier transformer-based UPS systems, it’s proving the perfect partner for ModCel and EdgeCel installations.

“Using modular UPS delivers substantially lower electricity bills, less waste, and reduced carbon emissions, all without compromising on performance and reliability.”

– Chris Cutler, data centre efficiency expert for Riello UPS

The Future Of Edge Computing?

The article goes on to cover the importance of specifically UPS maintenance and more general good housekeeping to ensure modular data centres perform at their best.

And it’s clear these structures will play an increasingly influential role as edge computing becomes more pivotal to the success of our data-driven world.

According to Gartner, just 10% of data is created and processed outside either the cloud or an enterprise data centre. By 2022, the edge will account for 75% of all data.

Read about Riello UPS’s work with Secure I.T. Environments Ltd in Winter’s DCM magazine