New Helium Hard Drives Boost Storage

helium-hard-disk-driveNot too long ago we all looked forward to the new release of hard drives with greater capacity for storage for our PC’s. But with the recent inclusions of cloud storage and other data storage options, we began to care less and less about our own computers storage capacity. But, after all, the cloud is really just huge data centers that still need hard drives. So they should be excited about the new helium-filled drive released by HGST, a subsidiary of Western Digital.

While previously the approach was to see just how many bits could be crammed onto a surface area, the new idea is to work more with the physical properties of the drive. By creating a sealed enclosure filled with helium, HGST has been able to reduce the drag within the hard drive to a point where they can add more platters in the same amount of space. A 5-disk hard drive can now hold 7-disks increase capacity from 4TB to 6TB.

Not only does it increase the storage capacity, the drives use %23 less power and are %38 lighter.

This is good news for companies such as Netflix, which already use HGST high-capacity hard drives in its data centers. Netflix says the increase in capacity and lower power-usage in the new hard drives will go a long ways toward optimizing their streaming video server infrastructure.

Unique Data Centers Around the World

The challenge for any data center is energy efficiency. How to maximize cooling efforts and remain environmentally conscious. However, some have taken the challenge of building a data center to the extreme and created some really unique facilities. Here are few companies that have built really unusual data centers:

Bahnhof Data Center

Bahnhof Data CentersKnown as the ‘James Bond Villain Data Center’ , the Bahnhof center lies in an underground bunker 100 feet beneath Stockholm. A former military bunker designed to withstand a hydrogen bomb blast. Jon Karlung, the CEO of Bahnhof has said he drew his inspiration for many of the center’s attributes from James Bond villains, complete the waterfalls, greenhouse-style NOC, glass-enclosed conference room “floating” above the colocation floor, and blue-lit diesel engines (supposedly used in German submarines).

The CLUMEQ Supercomputer in Quebec

CLUMEQ-Data-CenterThe CLUMEQ supercomputing center in Quebec partnered with Sun Microsystems to convert a huge silo into a data center. Previously housing a Van de Graaf particle accelerator, the cylindrical building is 65 feet high and 36 feet wide with two-foot thick concrete walls. The CLUMEQ Colossus cylinder features an interior “hot core” (as opposed to a hot aisle) in the center of the building and uses the outside ring of the facility as the cold air plenum. The cabinets are arranged in a ring on each floor, facing the outside of the silo. The floors supporting each ring of cabinets are comprised of grates rather than solid flooring to facilitate airflow through the facility.

Iron Mountain’s Energy Efficient Bunker

iron-mountain-data-centerAnother underground bunker data center from Iron Mountain, a traditional leader in document storage. Iron Mountain uses underground “nuke proof” data bunkers to store digital data in its own data center. The huge underground facility in western Pennsylvania is part of the company’s push into the data center sector. Iron Mountain bought the former limestone mine, which houses 1.7 million square feet of space, in 1998 and created an energy-efficient data center known as Room 48 in a section of the former mine.

Speed of Light Computing for Data Centers

silicon photonic cablesNew technology being developed by Intel may lead to a far more effecient way of connecting servers inside data centers.  The idea consists of replacing current copper data cables with faster optical data links.  By fitting lasers and other optical components onto silicon chips that typically only deal with electronic signals, Intel has created a way to transmit data much faster than conventional means.

Intel will initially offer the new silicon photonics technology for connecting servers inside data centers.  Generally servers are connected via PCI-E cables that carry data up to 8 gigabits per second and network cables that can reach 40 gigabits per second.   Intel’s new technology can transmit data upwards to 100 gigabits per second along cables that are about five millimeters in diameter.  Compare that with standard USB connections that typically move data at 5 gigabits per second.

This is good news for data centers. While different data centers run with different efficiency, a large portion of the cost of running a data center is in cooling.  Intel suggests that it will only take one of their new optical cables to replace 10 or more of the current bulky copper cables.  The size of current cables can impede the flow of air used to cool servers, so by reducing the number of cables, a data center can cool their servers more efficiently.

Additionally, Intel’s silicon photonics technology can also be used to replace Ethernet networking cables allowing companies to devise new ways of organizing their data centers.

Integration with current servers will be via a small circuit board to upgrade to the new optical technology.  The board contains a module that can distinguish between a computer’s electronic signals and optical ones that can travel down a fiber. The component contains four silicon lasers that can each stream data at 25 gigabits per second, and a card can have more than one of those optical chips on it depending on bandwidth required.

These days,  servers are usually a self-contained computers complete with processors, memory, and storage that inhabit a single layer of a server rack. Intel thinks with the increase in bandwidth from silicon photonics will make it possible to instead fill a whole rack with processors, another with memory, and a third with storage. By separating those components, a company can make better use of cooling by directing it onto the components that need it most.




Low Profile Raised Access Floor

What exactly is a low profile access floor and what is it’s functionality? We tend to infer that anything “low profile” is inclined to be inconspicuous. Our 24*24 is of a discrete, all steel welded construction.  Adaptable to any room, especially those with low ceilings.  Advantages to using our system is that we feature a quiet, solid feel underfoot, the pedestals adjust for uneven concrete floors, and the threaded rod allows for  leveling of the floor.

Low Profile


Now the main function of a raised  access floor system is to manage the wires below. Industries using these systems range from national and local government offices, to telecom switch centers. Think of it this way, the wires from  computers and related technology must run from one point to another. The wires are best managed correctly for quality assurance purposes. The wires are much easier to manage when coupled together and organized in the space below the platform and above the floor level.

For more information on the use of raised flooring, visit our FAQ page.

Arizona Creates Tax Breaks for Data Centers

In an effort to attract data center construction to Arizona, lawmakers have included tax breaks for data center owners and tenants to the state’s tax code.

The bill differs from other tax-incentive bills in other states as it does not just focus on large single tenant data center operators like Google, Amazon, and Apple. Instead, the tax breaks will benefit companies that provide colocation services out of multi-tenant centers as well the large single tenant operators.

Qualified companies will be exempt from sales and use tax on data center-related equipment purchases for 10 years, however, in order to qualify for Arizona’s tax breaks, a data center owner or operator has to invest at least US$50m for projects in urban locations and $25m in non-urban environments.

Companies with existing data centers in the state that have brought investment of $250m or more to the state over the past six years will also qualify for tax benefits on future purchases.

Raised Floor System Airflow | Keeping Your Servers Cool

The latest addition to our raised floor system options is the Accel-Air Grate AF500 die-cast aluminum air flow grate. It consists of 56% free open area and is the raised access floor industry’s best air flow panel yet, when it comes down to moving air. This product is made from high quality aluminum and is available in a raw casting or powder coated epoxy finish. This access floor system is the perfect solution for creating cold aisles for your servers and equipment rooms in order to ensure there is no possibility of overheating. These raised floor system panels are sized and built for any floor plan and are complete with a slide damper system. If you are in the market for a cooler raised floor system in your data center, the Accel-Air Grate is definitely something you’ll want to keep in mind!

access floor system

Raised Access Flooring | Convenience

Many businesses and data centers today rely on printers, office computers and phone that connect over data networks. These systems all take up some physical space. Their cables and cords alone become an eyesore and are hazardous.


When improving upon cluttered offices and data centers, raised access flooring is the best and most convenient option. Raised access flooring is permanently elevated over another solid floor, leaving an obscured area in between. Though this access flooring is designed for stability and supporting traffic as well as furniture, the individual access flooring panels can be temporarily removed in order for technicians and repair staff to quickly access the wires and connections that bind all the machines together.

Raised access flooring also facilitates easy data center repairs. Workers can crawl or walk under the raised access floors as business continues as usual.

Data Centers Arizona – Zinc Whiskers

Contamination of data center equipment continues to be a significant problem caused by ‘Zinc Whiskers’. Zinc Whiskers have the ability to short out logic cards and power supplies. Zinc Whiskers are not a threat to humans, however it is important to have a raised access floor professional address the presence of them in order to minimize potential problems in the data center computer equipment.

Zinc Whiskers are produced when raised access floor zinc electroplated tiles are stressed by walking over them. Zinc Whiskers grow at a rate of up 2000 microns per year taking on the diameter of a 2 microns. These Whiskers are then able to become airborne when the tiles of the raised access floor are disturbed, typically during routine maintenance. Zinc Whiskers then have the potential to pass through air filters settling inside the data center equipment causing short circuits and entire system failures.

Data Center Zinc Whiskers

Zinc Whiskers


Should your raised access floor professional find evidence of  Zinc Whiskers in your data center, examine the entire raised floor to assess the amount of contamination exposure. If contamination is 10% or less of the raised floor, having new tiles installed while data center equipment continues to operate is solid solution. If the data center’s raised floor is extensively contaminated, it’s important to replace larger sections of the raised access floor, even perhaps every single tile.

Raised Access Floor System: Understructure

  • Versatile understructure for all types of installations
  • Electrical resistance of less than 10 ohms
  • Our steel manufacturing facility is ISO 9002 registered

AROK’s superior finishes are effective and consistent, giving a bright and polished look with protective properties. All AROK’s parts are dipped in the corrosion-resistant finish after stamping and welding, to protect welds and raw edges from rusting.

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