VIDEO: Inside EdgeMicro’s First Production Edge Data Center

Startup’s first 20-foot unit has Akamai servers blinking inside

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

July 11, 2018

2 Min Read
edgemicro prototype rendering
Rendering of the EdgeMicro container prototypeEdgeMicro

EdgeMicro’s first production unit is finished.

The edge data center was on display outside of the NANOG conference in Denver last month, and Josh Snowhorn, the startup’s chief strategy officer and one of its founders, posted a short video tour of the unit on LinkedIn.

Snowhorn, who previously led all things interconnection at CyrusOne, one of the biggest and most successful data center service providers in the US, is one of EdgeMicro’s four founders. All four are seasoned data center industry players.

Last year, when we interviewed the company’s founder and executive VP Greg Pettine, the first unit was being built, and EdgeMicro had already secured the first client to use it. But Pettine declined to name the client.

Based on the video, content delivery network provider Akamai is at least one of the clients, its servers blinking in a rack inside the 20-foot unit. CDNs are a key user category for edge data centers. Their business is delivering their customers’ content to its target consumers efficiently, and as more people come online outside the biggest metropolitan areas, and as content becomes more and more data-heavy, they benefit from storing it closer to the consumers.

EdgeMicro’s business model is based on selling colocation services in edge data centers installed at cell towers in and around population centers. As Pettine explained to us earlier, the company plans to charge content providers – the likes of Netflix and Amazon – while letting network operators use its facilities for free.

EdgeMicro isn’t alone in this market. Competitors like Vapor IO and DataBank are also going after the opportunity to get content closer to eyeballs by offering colocation services at cell towers. Both have strong ties with tower operators.

Wholesale data center developer Compass Datacenters recently acquired edge data center maker EdgePoint, whose founder spent years deploying Google Fiber Huts, and BitBox, a software company whose data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solution is geared toward managing many edge data centers remotely.

Coincidentally, BitBox is the software EdgeMicro is using and, according to Snowhorn, plans to use to manage its entire future network. You can see a BitBox interface on a screen inside the unit featured in the video.

As Snowhorn points out, everything inside the edge data center is essentially “the same thing you see in a large-scale data center, microencapsulated for an EdgeMicro unit, to fit our size and scale.”

There are Schneider APC racks, electrical systems, AC units bolted on the walls of the container outside, a hot and cold aisle, an air plenum for cooling, cable trays, a fire suppression system, etc.

One interesting feature is the Fiber Mountain cross-connect panel, where all the connections between different networks present in the data center are made. Each port on the panel has a green LED light, and the system uses those lights to make it easier for the operator to make the correct cross-connects.

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