Polargy is Hiring a Solutions Engineer

Be Part of Delivering Cool Customer Solutions 

Polargy is an engineering and solution driven company focused on air containment and other related products for the data center industry. We have a singular focus of satisfying the needs of our growing customer base by identifying and solving our customers’ problems and challenges with speed and efficiency.

Polargy is seeking to add a motivated self-starter to our sales engineering team who works well in a fast paced team environment. While this role will have defined responsibilities, we are seeking an overall contributor who is eager grow with the business and is continually looking for ways to exceed our customers’ expectations. In this role you will perform customer-facing solution development in support of customer acquisition, partner design assist, installation scoping and construction while managing project scope through to customer satisfaction.

The Requirements:

The ideal candidate will have:

  • 3-5 years of solid experience in a B2B sales environment in the data center or in a similar technology related field.
  • Customer-facing skills and a demonstrated ability to communicate with technology influencers.
  • Knowledgeable in processes of design, construction, commissioning and operation of datacenters or similar mission critical facilities.
  • Proven project management skills.
  • The ability to grasp and translate big picture requirements into detail-level specifications.
  • A bachelor’s degree, ideally in an analytical field like engineering.
  • A strong commitment and desire to delivering excellent customer service to clients and co-workers.

Duties & Responsibilities:


  • Support the sales team in capturing customer requirements and translating those to specific product solutions.
  • Become a subject matter expert related to white space build-outs, cooling efficiency, aisle containment, airflow management, fire safety and construction of related solutions.
  • Develop and present technical designs and solutions to meet customer objectives.
  • Define BOM’s and scope of works for customer projects.
  • Identify and document new product opportunities based on customer needs.

Project Management

  • Ensure project scope and BOM is produced and delivered per the project requirements defined in the pre-sales process.
  • Manage the pre-production requirements of customer specific solutions developed to meet project requirements.
  • Provide support to channel partners in the installation of solutions.

Customer Satisfaction

  • Act as the ‘face’ of Polargy until the customer’s project is completed and the solution developed in the pre-sales process has been produced and installed to the satisfaction of our customer(s).

Reach out to any of us on LinkedIn.

Decoding New Fire Codes

new_nfpa_stds_thumbThere is some confusion in the marketplace regarding changing fire safety regulations and materials deployed in the data center as airflow containment. To help clear things up, I prepared a technical briefling titled “New NFPA Standards Explained” which I have been presenting at AFCOM regional meetings. For the benefit of the many people who may be suffering a bout of this confusion and missed my presentations, I’ve provided my slides.

new_nfpa_stdsIf you’re planning a containment project, whether retrofit or new construction, and want to be sure you’re interpreting fire codes correctly, give us a call. Polargy is the trusted partner in data center containment to get your job done right the first time, on time and on budget.

2014: Gratitude and a look ahead

PLG Holiday Logo blog thumbPLG Email HeaderDecember invites reflection on (and gratitude for) the past year’s fortunes, as well as plans for the coming year. 2014 was a great year for Polargy in part because we saw a number of our industry forecasts come to pass:

  • Containment is increasingly viewed by owners as necessary, and a best practice, so sales cycles are accelerating as adoption grows
  • Streamlined containment design and deployment in wholesale and co-location environments allows owners to respond to opportunities quickly and competitively
  • Modular, floor-mounted and quick-build integrated containment solutions are growing in popularity, particularly in new builds with phased occupancy
  • Growing demand for smart and reliable solutions like cold aisle pressure management and automation in legacy environments

During 2014, with a focus on proven customer needs and with eye toward the trends above, Polargy released:

Next year we look forward to introducing even more innovative containment solutions and sharing more thought leadership to help the data center containment market mature.

Until then, we’ll leave you with our sincere Thanks and Best Wishes for the remainder of 2014—and 2015.

Industry Perspective: N+1 Cooling On Paper Only

frostbyte_fan_tile_blogthumbN+1 redundancy is a system design best practice because equipment failure happens; we expect it and we plan around it. In the case of data center cooling, we expect a CRAC to go down at some point, and with an N+1 system design we have a spare CRAC to fall back on. A major problem with this aggregate view of cooling is risk of starving a cold aisle when changing the CRAC lineup or as a result of CRAC failure, and this risk is amplified with cold aisle containment. Fortunately, we can easily and cost-effectively manage this risk with ‘air-mover’ fan tiles in the cold aisles.

frostbyte_fan_tile_blog_imageTime and time again we hear operators talk about how changing the CRAC lineup causes cooling airflow problems. Most of these comments come from legacy sites, though we’ve also heard them from new data centers. Interestingly, many operators fail to connect the dots between this airflow problem and N+1 redundancy. Many operators have a particular CRAC unit they don’t dare turn off and yet they assume their spare CRAC unit gives them N+1 redundancy. In our experience, about a quarter of small-to-medium data centers suffer from this false assumption; their N+1 redundancy is on paper only.

The Balancing Act

I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard comments like, “We need to keep CRAC Unit #3 on all the time or the room overheats” or “When we take CRAC #6 down for maintenance we get hotspots on the north side.” These problems are indicative of typical airflow behavior in raised floor environments:

  • CFM into an aisle is highly dependent on under floor pressure and obstructions.
  • CFM into an aisle is largely driven by the closest CRAC (the ‘CRAC of Influence’).
  • Changing the CRAC lineup creates large swings in CFM delivered to an aisle.
  • Total air supply may be sufficient but local supply may not (the ‘Distribution Problem’).

With these understandings, one can easily see how a change in the CRAC lineup can cause under floor pressure to change enough to introduce significant risk of an adverse thermal event.

When we think of cooling sufficiency, thermal safety and preventing problems, it’s in terms of normal operating conditions and failure conditions, and both scenarios are highly dynamic. In normal operating conditions we deal with routine changes in cooling demand and supply throughout room while the CRAC lineup remains unchanged. In failure conditions, we deal with a large change in under floor pressure when one CRAC goes offline and a spare unit takes over.

In normal operating conditions, routine changes in airflow demand and supply create risk of falling out of balance and starving a cold aisle. Cooling demand varies at the rack level, aisle level and room level, and can fluctuate either quickly or slowly. For example, a researcher who kicks off a large computational job can quickly heat up one or more racks of number-crunching servers. Or an IT guy swaps a 10kW rack in where a 2kW rack had been, but forgets to mention it to the facilities crew. These changes in demand for cooling create a less obvious change in cooling supply. When cooling demand in one aisle increases, the change in air consumption will affect the supply available to adjacent aisles. Such demand and supply changes during normal operations affect under floor pressure and can result in an aisle with localized low pressure.

In failure conditions, loss of a CRAC unit and replacement with the N+1 redundant unit will cause a change in under floor pressure. Because cooling supply to an aisle is most influenced by the nearest CRAC, and depending on the specifics of the under floor situation, a change in CRACs can result in a low-pressure zone and under-supplied aisles. There may be sufficient cooling supply, but because of the Distribution Problem, there is localized low pressure and even aisle starvation. In this case, even if the N+1 redundant CRAC unit comes online as planned, the best we can say is that the site has only partial redundancy.

Fixing With Fans

Fortunately, achieving true N+1 redundancy and mitigating cooling failure risk we’ve described can easily be achieved with active fan tiles that locally modulate airflow. Raised floor fan tiles, such as the Frost-Byte™ Raised Floor Fan Tile, vary speed to deliver cold air to the aisle based on sensed temperature or pressure differential versus a target setpoint. With several of these “air-mover“ tiles in a contained cold aisle, the right amount of cold air is supplied to mitigate thermal risk from inevitable cooling demand and supply changes during both normal operations and failure conditions.

These active fan tiles are built with a matrix of high performance variable speed DC fans in an aluminum enclosure attached to a standard 60% raised floor tile. Commonly, a temperature sensor mounted on the face of server racks controls the fans. Alternatively, sensors that measure pressure differential between inside and outside the contained cold aisle control the fans. This fan tile architecture auto-balances the cold aisles, eliminating starvation risk and improving thermal safety.

Other Fan Tile Benefits

An alternative solution to balancing cooling demand and supply is simply to over-supply an aisle, but with today’s emphasis on energy efficiency, the days of oversupplying are largely over. In fact, energy efficiency is the major factor driving the adoption of aisle containment, though even with containment, we sometimes still see oversupply due to balancing challenges. With active fan tiles, these remaining oversupply scenarios can be reduced or eliminated, yielding the full efficiency promise of cold aisle containment.

Additionally, by auto-balancing with active fan tiles, operators achieve labor savings from the elimination of routine manual balancing. The days of walking the room and swapping out perforated tiles are over. Active fan tiles eliminate the need to analyze aisles with a balancing hood (aka: flow balometer) to ensure the CFM in the cold aisle more than matches the IT load in that aisle. Likewise, because conditions in the room and aisles are so dynamic, Computation Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis for balancing purposes becomes obsolete since CFD provides a historical ‘snapshot’ of airflow that may no longer be relevant.

Lastly, if active fan tiles are powered through a UPS, they can ensure greater uptime if cooling is completely lost. In a catastrophic cooling failure condition, the under floor plenum holds a cool air reservoir, though without air pressure or air flow. Fan tiles running on UPS backup can continue to deliver and circulate cold air from within this chilled plenum. Testing demonstrates that supply air temperature through the fan tiles remained steady for more than 10 minutes even with all CRACs off.

The benefits of auto-balancing and solving the Distribution Problem that active fan tiles provide allow operators to enjoy true N+1 redundancy. Fan tiles offer significant additional benefits in a data center with cold aisle containment: even greater energy savings, local balancing and thermal safety.

Frost-Byte raised floor fan tiles combined with Polargy’s cold aisle containment take data center energy efficiency and thermal safety to the next level.

CAPRATE recap: Beauty Day on the Bay

Last week Polargy attended the Third Annual Northern California Data Center Summit hosted by CAPRATE. The event was held in San Francisco at the beautiful St. Francis Yacht Club overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Polargy’s expo table enjoyed this amazing view.IMG_6583

Here are my high level takeaways from the event:

  • The data center industry is entering a maturation/rationalization cycle with many aspects of the industry undergoing rapid change.
  • Data center location near major population centers still matters a lot because of latency & performance requirements and lingering “server hugging” mindsets among senior staff
  • Demand for capacity remains high but prices/revenues are nonetheless under pressure
  • Energy consumption & conservation continue to be big concerns but now we’re beginning to hear more about water consumption & conservation
  • The Northern California market plays by its own rules (as always) with high energy rates, a surplus of demand, heavy regulation and long building schedules
  • Surplus capacity remains rampant with IT commonly operating at 40-50% of capacity
  • Enterprise outsourcing is still very low and represents a huge opportunity

Unlike other large scale industries that have matured and rationalized after 20 years, the data center industry remains fast-paced and dynamic. Not quite chaotic, but lots of moving pieces.

Because of the rapid pace of IT evolution, predicting the future of the industry is becoming both more difficult and more important if you’re an owner or operator. In light of this, the panel discussion I moderated titled Future Proofing Data Centers was certainly timely.


I very much enjoyed moderating this group of industry experts:

We discussed topics like:

  • What is the expected life of your new data center?
  • What is the technology planning horizon?
  • Colos build a 20 year asset, yet leases run only 3 to 5 years
  • Who is at the table for planning the new data center?
  • What factors impact the use model/capability requirements?
  • How does white space layout need to change over time?
  • How does “modularity” play into getting the most of the 20 year building?

Parting words of wisdom on ‘future proofing’ from my panel:

  • Flexible capacity that allows an operator to respond to market conditions is the key.
  • IT density and power consumption could double in 10 years.
  • Plan to swap out your large assets and build extra floor area to facilitate upgrades.
  • Government regulation is a large unknown that has the potential to change the game.
  • If you’re not designing for environmental constraints like water availability, you should.


A big thank you to all my panelists for dedicating time to this important topic, and to CAPRATE for organizing this event.

Industry Perspective: Who Owns Containment?

Who owns containment? No one. This is the problem.

Written by Cary Frame, President and founder of Polargy, a provider of hot- and cold-aisle containment solutions.

Hot- and cold-aisle containment is a data center best practice experiencing hyper-growth in adoption because of its large impact on energy efficiency and operating cost savings. Interestingly, there is still no clear ownership of containment within the enterprise, among industry trades or between manufacturers.

Polargy works on the leading edge of growth in data center containment by focusing on product innovation and enabling fast and precise implementation. We offer this perspective on containment ownership based on our observations over more than five years in the containment market.

In our experience, what drives ambiguity around containment ownership is that it exists along the boundaries of job scope for multiple traditional players within data center whitespace. It also represents a more customized solution set than much of the industry is accustomed to.

On the user side, containment physically touches data center server racks, which are the responsibility of IT or IT Ops management within the enterprise, but it significantly impacts air conditioning performance, which is typically under the purview of facilities management. In addition, some enterprises have corporate energy managers who want or need to participate in the discussion. On the supply side, no single manufacturer type has claimed the category and no trade (mechanical, electrical, etc.) has taken a lead role. Because no one has stepped into full ownership of containment, up to five separate groups inside and outside the data center currently get involved.

Within the enterprise, Polargy has seen retrofit projects managed by data center operations as often as by facilities. However, we rarely see IT responsible for driving decisions, and though we find energy managers at the table, they almost never drive a project, but rather consult on ROI. When it comes to commissioning containment, all three constituents have strong stakes in the upgraded operating environment.

As part of Polargy’s standard engagement process we request that all three groups participate in outcome targets and commissioning planning. The key question these groups must agree on is what the new cold aisle temperature will be. Typically, IT people seek cold aisle temperatures in the mid-60s, data center operations people tend to favor temperatures in the low-70s, and facilities people prefer to run near the ASHRAE limit of 80.7°F. Besides these three operational groups, trades and manufacturers also suffer containment ownership ambiguity.

As a lead containment contactor, Polargy routinely trains and subcontracts a variety of firms from other trades to install containment. Polargy turnkey solutions have been installed by low voltage, flooring, interior, mechanical, and electrical contractors. Scholes Electrical and Mechanical in New Jersey has both electrical and low voltage groups, and Polargy has done projects with both groups for the same client. No particular contractor type has emerged as the one best suited to initiate and own containment projects.

“At CRB, we’ve seen a growing number of owners procure containment from containment companies like Polargy, but also from rack makers like Chatsworth,” reports Daniel Bodenski, Director of Mission Critical Services at CRB. “Likewise, in our mission critical project work, we’ve seen a variety of subcontractors install containment, including electricians, flooring contractors, and again the containment vendors themselves. No single group appears to be claiming full ownership yet.”

To the contrary, we’ve even seen contractors avoiding containment opportunities. In Chicago, the engineering design house Environmental Systems Design attempted to bid a containment project to four low voltage contractors, but none of them responded because they didn’t know what they were getting into. In Phoenix, a prominent mechanical contractor walked away from containment opportunities because they felt containment wasn’t “in their wheelhouse.”

The case of mechanical contractors is particularly curious because three things should give the mechanical trade an advantage in containment:

  • They’re already responsible for air flow supply in the data center.
  • They’re already doing routine maintenance on CRAC units, so they have regular access to customers they could sell containment to.
  • They already have the mechanical skills necessary to install containment.

Yet, we haven’t even seen mechanical get traction with containment. Lack of clear ownership for containment means mechanical and other trades lose out on significant opportunities due to nothing more than lack of familiarity.

Among manufacturers, containment is dispersed among different types, from pure-play companies solely focused on containment to resellers and divisions within large diversified corporations. Containment is largely custom-designed to unique site conditions and varying rack sizes and layouts. This is why pure-play companies like Polargy with deep knowledge of requirements for both retrofit and new construction currently enjoy an advantage. As rack, low voltage and flooring manufacturers encroach on the containment market they are being forced to overcome the customization barrier.

Lack of clear and consistent ownership for containment among facilities management, trades, and manufacturers is clearly hamstringing containment-related decisions and implementations today. Containment is moving up the adoption curve, but the market will continue to see a variety of players at the table until market norms are established.

While these different constituent groups remain involved in containment to some degree, communication about business outcomes and implementation is paramount. Until there is better clarity vis-a-vis ownership of containment, decision authority will remain dispersed and responsibility will be shared, necessitating communication and coordination among more parties than necessary.

According to Rich Garrison, Senior Principal at Alfa Tech, “Because containment is intended to control airflow by separating hot and cold air, containment solutions are a fundamental part of the Mechanical solution. On the other hand, because it can be considered a wall or partition and often has an aesthetic component, the Architects claim ownership.  To further complicate it, containment solutions are often positioned as accessories to rack solutions and can be considered part of the IT infrastructure. Ownership ambiguity extends to the trades as well. We see General Contractors, Mechanical, Electrical and Low Voltage sub-contractors all doing containment installation.”

In the current environment, while ownership remains ambiguous, Polargy sees MEP consulting engineers as the ideal containment owner from a design perspective due to their responsibility for air flow controls and monitoring. On the implementation side, pure-play containment manufacturers like Polargy, who double as containment contractors, will remain best suited to manage installation. Their advantage comes from superior product knowledge and deep and varied experience as the “go-to guy”during the formative period of the containment industry.

We anticipate this will remain the situation in this market for the next 2-4 years while data center containment ownership gets sorted out. Clear ownership of containment will facilitate even faster adoption of cutting edge containment solutions and lead to even greater data center efficiency.

Originally published on Data Center Knowledge.