From the Lab

Keystone NAP Takes Rack and Stack to New Heights

“Rack and stack” is industry lingo. It refers to deploying layers of electronic equipment within an array of computer racks or cabinets. But at Keystone NAP, we have expanded that expression and taken it to new heights.16781769174_da9509931a_o

In addition to servers, we stack prefabricated data-center modules. Recently, we announced a three-high stack, a new vertical record for the Americas. Getting a handle on this modular model requires changing your point of reference. Where computer servers are measured in terms of a 1.75-inch or ‘pizza box’-size rack unit (RU), these private, secure customer vaults known as KeyBlocks, measure roughly 45 feet by 21 feet.

The KeyBlocks create a customizable data-center environment within our multi-tenant facility and drive resource efficiency. Customers can configure any KeyBlock according to specific requirements for power, cooling and communications network connectivity.

We created the KeyBlocks in partnership with Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management with a reputation for cutting-edge deployments. If you have any interest in mountaineering or extreme building design, check out this video for the Refuge du Gouter. Schneider is the major founding sponsor of this HQE (high-quality environmental – French for ‘green’) chalet located at 12,500 feet on a ridge of Mont Blanc. The highest building site in Europe, the Refuge opened in June 2013 and accommodates 8500 visitors across the three-month climbing season.

Conditions are less extreme here in Eastern Pennsylvania. But our advanced data center is built for heavy weather, for instance, with infrastructure that aggregates more than 2,040mW from four industrial-grade power feeds.

The advanced design of each KeyBlock includes atomic, consistent, isolated and durable (ACID) power services, ranging from 100 watts to 400 watts per square foot. Cooling units are complemented by a sophisticated hot-air containment system. We’ll be stacking more KeyBlock units as they continue to arrive in the coming months.