Air-Cooled Container Data Center in Japan

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A depiction of the planned Matsue Data Center Park in Matsue, Japan featuring data center containers from IIJ.

Internet Initiative Japan continues to advance its development of container data centers. The company said last week that it will build a new data center that will use air-cooled container modules, which IIJ says will be the first implementation of this type of design in Japan.

IIJ has received approvals for Matsue Data Center Park, a new mission-critical facility that will feature rows of containers attached to a central infrastructure spine. The commercial project follows IIJ’s testing of container designs in one of it’s own facilities. Construction will begin on September 1, and the center is scheduled to be in full operation by April 2011.

The IZmo Container
The Matsue data center will use the IZmo container developed by IIJ, which features an unusual layout in which cabinets are placed at an angle within the container. Airflow is separated so that cool supply air and warm waste air do not mix. Each of the IT modules are equipped with their own modular air conditioning unit that employs an outside-air cooling method. These units have several modes of operation that use various combinations of outside-air and air conditioning and that are automatically selected depending upon the environment.

Each of the IT modules are equipped with their own modular air conditioning unit that employs an outside-air cooling method. These units have several modes of operation that use various combinations of outside-air and air conditioning and that are automatically selected depending upon the environment.

Cooling Units at Both Ends
The IT modules use a design that IIJ calls MISP method (module inter-connection over the shortest path), in which electric power equipment and cooling units are located at both ends of the module. This arrangement provides the shortest distances for electrical wiring and air conditioning pipes, which reduces energy loss and lowers equipment costs.

IT modules are less than 2.5 enables wide, enabling the use of standard truck trailers for transporting the units rather than specially designed trailers. All the racks are rated for up to 10 kVA.

The IZmo modules will be considered equipment, rather than buildings, which can provide advantages in deployment and the number of local regulations that the facility operator must meet. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism recently announced that modular data centers will be regarded as “facilities as a non-architectural structure.”

In February 2010, IIJ started Japan’s first container-unit data center as a proof-of-concept project, using the outside-air cooling method. Using the knowledge garnered from this project, IIJ plans to roll out several more energy-efficient data center parks.

Kernel  Explorer has pictures and descriptions of the prototype installations of the IIJ container. The following video provides a closer look at the cooling and IT units in early testing.

Photo via Flicker from syuu1228

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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  1. Tuan Duong Van

    We have some project about air conditioning data center. We are finding professional maker about this. Do have any office in Viet nam? How can I contact with you if I need?