AOL, Inc. and Penguin Computing today announced that AOL has successfully moved its first outside Micro Data Center (MDC) into production. The system currently handles about 20% of the traffic to AOL’s main website www.aol.com.
AOL’s MDCs are small ‘Data Centers in a Box’. There are two MDC versions: one for outdoor, one for indoor use. Each MDC unit is self sufficient and includes high density servers and storage nodes from Penguin Computing’s Relion product line as well as PDU’s, switches, load balancers and external hookups for power and networking. The outdoor MDC is housed in a ruggedized 42U rack-size enclosure provided by Elliptical Mobile Solutions that is NEMA 3 rated and protects against fire, water, humidity and vandalism. It is cooled by a direct expansion cooling module integrated with the enclosure, and has an option for using air-side economization. The indoor MDC is housed in a 37U rack-size enclosure from AST Modular. It uses ventilation fans installed as part of the enclosure to keep the hardware within the manufacturer’s acceptable temperature range. The indoor MDC was designed for deployments in loosely controlled environments, as for example warehouse spaces.
“We are honored that AOL chose Penguin Computing as a partner for implementing a revolutionary concept for the deployment of data center capacity,” says Charles Wuischpard, CEO Penguin Computing. “With our long standing experience in enterprise computing and our track record as a cloud provider we understand the challenges of rolling out new platforms and architectures. We are very happy that we could help AOL turn the vision of MDCs into reality.”
The driving force behind AOL’s use of the MDC concept is its inherent flexibility and the potential for realizing very large cost savings. Compute capacity can be quickly deployed anywhere, regardless of temperature and humidity settings. Moreover, capacity can be deployed in small increments without the up-front expense associated with the addition of data center capacity. Servers in local vicinity to content consumers can reduce AOL’s reliance on commercial content delivery networks. Complementing the MDC concept is AOL’s internal cloud platform and automation layer that enables quick and easy remote deployment of services.
“MDCs are a game changer. They will enable AOL to deploy geo-distributed capacity at a very low cost point in terms of upfront capital and ongoing operational expense. As we enter new markets and constantly grow our localized offerings MDCs will become an increasingly important foundation for our product offerings,” says Mike Manos, CTO of AOL Services. “We expect that MDCs will enable us to roll out five times the amount of total compute capacity in less than 10% of the cost and physical footprint of a traditional data center based deployment. With a deep level of technical expertise and great dedication and commitment to our success Penguin Computing has been instrumental in reaching this great milestone for AOL.”
Penguin Computing has worked closely with AOL to develop and deploy both the outdoor MDC as well as an indoor MDC for non-data center deployments. AOL’s indoor MDC will be on display at SC’12 in Penguin Computing’s booth 1217. Jay Moran, Distinguished Engineer for AOL Services Technologies and Scott Killian, Head of AOL Data Center Services will be delivering a presentation on AOL’s MDCs at Penguin Computing’s on Tuesday, November 13 at 11:00AM and 2:00PM.
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