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Vapor IO Hopes To Change The Data Center As We Know It

By - Source: Vapor IO

Today, Vapor IO emerged from stealth to announce a new data center design approach that aims to lower the capital and operating expenditures of building and running a data center. Rooted in open source, the startup is introducing both hardware and software components and what the company calls a "hyper collapsed data center design" intended to improve intelligence, density and efficiency of the data center.

The Vapor Chamber is the "hyper modular data center" hardware component, designed to increase storage and compute density and efficiency, while lowering CAPEX and OPEX costs.

"We collapse the entire data center down to a very consumable package," Cole Crawford, Vapor IO's CEO and founder told Tom's IT Pro in an interview. "It ships flat, it's delivered, it's easy to put together, and when you stand it up you have a 150 kW data center in a self-contained environment that you can put in an urban infrastructure."

However, the company is not in the hardware business and is not manufacturing the Vapor Chamber itself; instead it has selected Jabil Circuit for this purpose. Vapor IO is essentially licensing its hardware IP to Jabil to build the Vapor Chamber, which allows the startup to focus on innovating on its software components.

The company is contributing its hardware component to the Open Compute Project in Open DCRE (Open Data Center Runtime Environment), which includes hardware, sensors and firmware. Open DCRE allows users to create data center monitoring sensors, which "expose underlying operating environments all the way up to the operating system and ultimately the workload," according to the release notes. It's a query results engine that allows you to look at your physical data center and how it is operating in real-time, Crawford explained.

"I call this centrification of the data center," Crawford told us. "I want the data center facilities to be exposed to data store operators in API format."

In addition to the Vapor Chamber and Open DCRE, Vapor IO also announced its software component, Vapor CORE (Core Operating Runtime Environment), which will work on both Open Compute and traditional data center equipment and does not require the Vapor Chamber to function. Vapor CORE allows you to track how your data center is performing. It allows you to plug in and expose data points in real time, as well as historically, so you can get at granular performance metrics such as the performance per Watt per dollar, according to Crawford. This data can then be added to workload automation and orchestration engines so that the workload can make the decision of where it should optimally live, Crawford added. And "optimally" in this case can be defined based on different requirements.

As one of the co-founders of the Open Compute Project as well as OpenStack, Cole Crawford has deep experience with open hardware and open software for the enterprise and over 20 years in the data center business.

"In the data center world, I've seen it all," Crawford told us. "I've seen the pendulum of IT shift back and forth from centralized vertical integrated solutions to decentralized client servers, to horizontal disaggregated solutions. And I'm witnessing a shift again toward the equilibrium of hybrid cloud. IT is shifting back to vertical, but distributed, vertical but disaggregated."

Indeed, cloud computing is changing everything, including the data center. And now Vapor IO hopes to change how we build and run data centers as we know it. Vapor's hardware and software components have the potential to have a huge impact on the future of the data center.

The Vapor Chamber and Open DCRE are available today; Vapor CORE will be available later this year. For more information, visit