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.

Ready made tech specs? Check.

design_blogthumbdesign_specsIn our ongoing effort to support clients and partners with the resources they need to be successful, we’re pleased to announce that updated PolarPlex technical specifications (.docx) have been published on the Polargy website.

You’ll also find links to each of the updated PolarPlex technical specs below.

As our Architect and Engineer clients and partners begin new containment projects we encourage them to take advantage of the many time-saving technical assets we offer. System- and product-level technical specs, product brochures, CAD, BIM and SketchUp design models for industry-leading PolarPlex products are all freely available in the Support section of our website.

Updated System-Level Specifications

Updated Product-Level Specifications

PolarPlex Drop-Away Roof Panels are a Clear Winner

cac_1_blogthumbcac_1Our popular PolarPlex Drop-Away roof panels are designed for use under existing data center fire suppression systems that activate at 165 degrees F so they don’t require complicated and expensive changes to your existing fire suppression regime. The PolarPlex Drop-Away panel inserts are also thermally activated, falling out of their frames at 135 degrees F, so in the event of a data center fire, your existing fire suppression system works unimpeded.

Another important containment design consideration is ensuring adequate lighting in the cold aisle. With the introduction of a clear PolarPlex Drop-Away Panel, Polargy addresses this customer requirement in a simple way.


Our new clear Drop-Away Panels allow 90% of light into the aisle while our Frosted Drop-Away Panels allow 80% of existing light in, which means they don’t require complicated and expensive changes to your data center lighting system.

We will be showing both our Clear and Frosted Drop-Away roof panels at the Data Center World Global Conference 2014 in Las Vegas this week. Stop by the ASM Modular booth# 619 to see a full suite of our PolarPlex containment solutions and even some of our more popular airflow accessories, such as PolarDam Air Dam Foam and PolarFlex 42U Full Rack Blanking Panels.

Phasing is all the rage

And it’s Just in Time.

Last week the Northern California 7×24 Exchange held their Spring event covering the topic of Construction Best Practices. One clear theme that emerged was the need for Flexible, Phased Capacity as new data centers are built out. Several speakers and panelists addressed market trends in outsourcing that drive this need.

Ron Vokoun from JE Dunn Construction, explained several trends in outsourcing and new construction that are driving the need for flexible capacity.

  1. Small businesses are moving IT to co-lo and cloud providers.
  2. Medium businesses are moving IT to co-lo and wholesale providers.
  3. Most new construction is purpose built, Greenfield, and larger in scale, yet with larger shells, initial fit-outs are modest and subsequent fit-outs are delayed until occupancy is closer.

Sam Brown, VP of Engineering and Construction for Server Farm Realty echoed this phasing approach explaining that customers tell them, “We need 500Kw now and over five years we plan to ramp into 2MW.”

fmiPolargy sees this emerging trend of “phasing” reflected in an increasing appetite for our Floor Mounted Infrastructure (FMI) among co-lo and wholesale providers.

Our FMI solution incorporates containment, cable and power trays, and lighting. It is essentially a “modular white space” solution deployed in response to actual demand for capacity. Using a phasing approach, after the shell and raised floor is built out, the remaining infrastructure of containment, power, cable, and lighting can be deployed as needed. This is less constraining to the layout, which may not be fully understood until actual customers come in and their requirements clarify.

Perhaps most importantly for the industry, this “just in time” approach to data center infrastructure goes a long way toward smoothing bumps in the business model many insiders  are anxious about, as I discussed in my previous post about maturation and rationalization. The ability to easily defer and fine-tune capital investment until actual demands are understood will be a competitive advantage for early adopters of phasing.

Because Polargy has deep expertise and experience with precision design and rapid deployment, we anticipate strong demand for our FMI solution that enables easy Phasing, as this new fit-out trend grows into an industry Best Practice.

Polargy’s new website: Designed for Designers

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 2.17.45 PMIt’s been a while coming, but the Polargy website has finally been updated! Now it’s even faster and easier to evaluate and spec Polargy containment solutions.

Here’s the Top-5 things our new website makes easier:

  1. Answering the key question, “What is containment and why do I need it?”
  2. Designing new construction and retrofit containment projects with Polargy solutions
  3. Learning about some of the future trends in containment architectures
  4. Browsing videos, case studies, and technical info about Polargy’s innovative products
  5. Seeing how Polargy’s ecosystem of airflow manangement products is relevant to you

“We’re thrilled to launch a site designed for the professionals we work with so closely.” —Cary Frame

The new website features ready access to educational materials about containment, including design files for industry-leading PolarPlex™ containment. CAD, BIM and SKP (SketchUp) design files for PolarPlex are freely downloadable, making it easier for designers (ex: architects and engineers) to speed up new construction and retrofit project design.

Polargy provides premium airflow management accessories and expert professional services with their world-class solutions for each of the six fundamental containment topologies.

The new site also improves access to brochures and videos developed to help educate the trade on containment best-practices as containment adoption continues to soar.


The secret’s out about PolarDam

This month we followed our customers’ lead and ‘let the cat out of the bag‘ about all the ways to use PolarDam Air Dam Foam to seal off air gaps throughout the data center.

polardam_air_dam_foam_promoYou probably remember the old story about 3M’s accidental invention of Post-It Notes.

bitcoin-aha-momentThe invention of PolarDam Air Dam Foam was a little like that:

  • Accidental product insight
  • Simple solution to a real problem
  • Subsequent use case proliferation

If you spend as much time with customers as Polargy does, you become very familiar with the details and nuance of their challenges. This means we’re often positioned to solve—and even anticipate—customer problems with innovative containment solutions.

Almost more importantly (for business), staying close to a large number of varied customers allows Polargy to recognize common pain points across the market.

polardam_air_dam_foamIn the PolarDam case, our customer needed to close about a hundred air gaps of varying sizes, and it was clear that brush grommets weren’t going to get the job done. The high cost of brush grommets alone made them a bad option but they also just didn’t work.

IMG_6064Together with the customer, we developed a simple, customizable air gap sealing solution that beats brush grommets every time in terms of fit, cost and flexibility. It was clear to us immediately that the same air gap challenges this customer had were common to data centers everywhere.

So that’s where it started, but now it’s taken on a life of its own. I even made a video about it.

“Everyone knows that air leakage reduces data center cooling efficiency. The best kept secret for sealing air gaps is PolarDam Air Dam Foam.”

And here’s a little gallery of some of the most popular PolarDam applications:


Normal cable cutouts where you could use a brush grommets (but prefer PolarDam’s far lower cost)


PolarDam 2

Odd-shaped or obstructed cutouts that no brush grommet will fit



2-post racks, either on top or through the floor



photo 1Blanking inside racks when you’re blanking off an entire 1U or 2U (or more) but especially when you’re running cables out through the front of the rack. Try to do that with a rigid blanking panel.


PolarDam 3Pipe penetrations through a floor or near a wall…

…and there are so many more.

The important thing to remember is that PolarDam closes all these air gaps in seconds. No tools, no measuring, no messy drilling. Just tear it to the perfect size and push it into place with your hands.

Just one part number: PD24

Saving Energy “Down Under” with Rack Tech

Last week we announced a new partnership with Australia-based rack manufacturer Rack Technologies. Rack Tech will distribute, sell and service Polargy’s data center containment solutions in the Australia/New Zealand region. This partnership is an important step for Polargy as we expand our global reach.

IMG_1920Rack Tech manufacturers 19” and 26” specialty rack systems and accessories for the communications, electronic and security industries. Founded in 1990 and acquired by Preformed Line Products (PLP) in 2000, Rack Tech has now grown into one of the region’s largest manufacturers of enclosures and accessories.

We’re thrilled to partner with Rack Technoligies. Fred Garnier (Polargy’s VP of Channel Sales) said in the press release:

“Rack Technologies is an ideal partner for Polargy in Australia. Their local design, manufacturing and installation expertise is the perfect extension of Polargy’s US manufacturing, sales and service operations. Their strong customer support orientation will help ensure optimal outcomes for customers of all types and sizes.”

Together, we are well positioned to reduce operating costs for large and small data centers across Australia, reflecting growing environmental awareness and responsibility in the data center industry.

Design 2SBAirflow management and containment solutions have rapidly become an operating best practice in both new construction and legacy data centers worldwide, and under this agreement, we can continue promoting best-practices in hot- and cold-aisle containment domestically and internationally.

Where Is Containment on the Adoption Curve?

Containment has been around for years, but the mainstream adoption of containment is just now happening. In terms of the Technology Adoption Curve, the market has clearly moved beyond the initial “Innovator” phase and is well into the “Early Adopter” phase, perhaps even now bordering on the “Early Majority” phase.

We have seen innovators and technology enthusiasts like NetApp, Facebook, Cadence Design Systems, and Pixar Animation deploy containment well over six years ago. Then, we have seen that second phase of visionaries looking to get ahead of their competition. This group would include Verizon, Barclays, Equinix, Digital Realty and Kaiser Permanente who all have adopted containment to some degree over the past several years.

Today, we are seeing more and more architects and engineering firms design containment into their data centers, and we are seeing more pragmatic companies start to consider containment. This is in parallel with continued pressures of rising density and power costs, the original catalysts for containment. What we can conclude is that the bulk of the containment market is still untapped and that the volume of containment work will continue to increase over the next few years as the Early and late Majorities go through their adoption.

The blue line is the distribution of adoptions, i.e. 13.5% of the companies/ people out there are “early adopters,” while 34% of the companies/people in the world are “Late Majority Adopters.”                                                                                                                                        The yellow line shows the total market penetration of the new technology (containment in this case) over time and represents the sum over time of the blue line. So, “X” is time and “Y” is market share or percent of market using the new technology.

Inch By Inch: US versus International Racks

  With rigid hot and cold aisle containment systems, inches are important. Any slight variances matter in the containment world, because the difference of even one inch can dramatically impact the fit and installation of the containment system. To get the containment design right the first time, a designer needs to pay attention to the following:

1.       609mm versus 600mm rack width

APC, Chatsworth, and Rittal racks, among others of their type, are built to 600mm width international standard, which accommodates their global distribution model. More domestically oriented rack makers, like Polargy, Damac, and ElectroRack, provide 24.0” or 609mm wide racks. That 0.4” difference is slight, but it matters when trying to accurately size the containment.

2.       Slab versus raised floor rack to tile alignment

What can be tricky for containment is that on raised floors, as built domestically, the rack layout often aligns to the tiles, leaving a 0.4” gap between each rack for those 600mm racks. It is important to pay attention to this detail when specifying panel sizes.

3.       Groupings of 23.6” racks and if they are gapped by 0.4” or not

When identifying a containment system that is based on the racks, the designer is well served to pay attention to the true rack size.  A 24.0” wide roof panel leaves a 0.4” overlap on a 23.6” cabinet, as illustrated in the photo above. This variance is multiplied ten times for a row of ten racks and the resulting overlap is a whole 4.0”.

4.       The last rack of the row relative to the other racks and their consequent widths and gaps.

What can be especially tricky is the last rack of the row. In the scenario of 23.6” racks aligned to 24” tiles, one would have all 24.0” wide panels but for the last panel, which would be 23.6” since that is where the aisle truly ends. And, if that last panel is sticking out by 0.4”, then it will obstruct the placement of the aisle end door. These subtle differences in measurements between the US and international standards should be specified with deliberation, because in the containment world, inches count.

Blanking Panels Go All the Way

Empty Racks Blanked Off with PolarFlex 42U Blanking Panels

More and more we see completely empty racks that need blanking. This makes sense as operators procure full rows of racks to either gain volume price advantages or because they are deploying containment and need completed rows to support their hot or cold aisle containment systems.

New, easy, economical way

Old, costly, painful way

The PolarFlex 42U Blanking Panel is an easy, fast, and cost effective way to seal empty racks or to fill large unoccupied spaces with in the rack. Learn more at www.polarflex.biz.

Call Polargy at 888-816-8338 to order.