Summary:

Formula 1 cars make big tweaks to get little performance improvements, and with McLaren’s help, IO wants to do similar things to improve energy efficiency and performance inside its modular data centers.

Inside an IO.Anywhere module

Web giants such as Facebook, eBay and Google like to boast of the power-usage effectiveness (PUE) inside their data centers, but it’s rare to see cloud providers and other data center operators talking about how efficient they are with when it comes to using power.

IO Data Centers markets the concept of its nearly 43-by-12-by-13-foot modular data centers as Data Center 2.0, positioning the modules as more efficient than large, aging facilities. The accompanying IO.OS operating system lets customers track PUE on a granular basis, going as far as the server and virtual machine levels. But the company wants to go further than talking about PUE and increase energy efficiency much more than it has. Toward that end, it’s partnering with McLaren Applied Technologies, a business associated with the race car-making McLaren Group.

In Formula 1 racing, analyzing data with software to optimize hardware performance is key — it could make a big difference. Now this approach is heading inside the data center.

“If you start to think about what McLaren does, … they have the ability to extract thousands of points of data, in real-time display them and make sense of them, turn that around and better engineer their product,” said Kevin Malik, chief information officer and general manager of IO Labs. “The ability to refine those materials based on aerodynamic efficiencies (could mean) shaving off milliseconds — basically performance engineering. If they have to make one less pit stop, they may win a race.” IO is applying this model to its modules.

The partnership will provide IO with McLaren’s know-how in “performance-management systems, simulation and high-performance engineering,” to reduce energy use for cooling, make modules more resilient in the case of earthquakes and otherwise boost performance, according to an IO press release.

What’s more, the deal will lead to software enhancements “allowing us to make better and faster hard decisions around sustainability engineering and around customer service,” Malik said. Another goal is to develop ways to predicting when hardware will fail, so downtime can be minimized.

As a result of the partnership, IO customers could wind up setting a new standard on metrics for energy efficiency and pushing the webscale guys to innovate further.

Results should be worked in to the IO modules and software by September or October, Malik said.

IO isn’t the only company in the modular data center business — there’s also Elliptical Mobile Solutions, and Dell. The partnership could help IO stand out in the category, and surely its competitors would be wise to try getting up to speed.

Comments have been disabled for this post