Two-year-old data center startup Vapor IO secured a minority investment from tower heavyweight Crown Castle. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but the company said the investment will help speed the launch of Project Volutus, its data center-as-a-platform service.
The first deployments of Project Volutus will begin in the third quarter of this year. “We are later this summer deploying two cities and working with charter customers,” said Cole Crawford, founder and CEO of Vapor IO.
Project Volutus is Vapor IO’s latest endeavor to offer micro-data centers at the base of cell towers. The company earlier this year announced Vapor Edge for Telecom, which is a product that third parties can purchase. Unlike Vapor Edge for Telecom, Project Volutus is a fully managed service bundled with hardware and software. Project Volutus uses the Vapor Edge technology but Vapor IO deploys the technology in the field at the tower sites.
By positioning the micro-data centers at towers, Vapor IO can take advantage of the existing rack space, power supply, metro fiber connectivity, and other shared infrastructure that towers currently offer to their wireless operator customers. The company says this shared infrastructure model not only allows it to reduce costs, it also cuts down on latency because the micro-data centers are located closer to the last mile connectivity.
Another potential benefit to operators is they can incorporate Volutus into their virtual radio access networks (vRAN) by connecting the radio network to the edge services and the Internet. This minimizes the number of network hops and reduces network latency.
Project Volutus uses Vapor IO software that is based upon OpenDCRE, an open source telemetry system for remote monitoring. It also combines edge colocation with remote operations, intelligent cross connects to wireless networks, and direct fiber routes to regional data centers and peering interconnects.
Project Volutus also uses Vapor IO’s vapor chamber enclosure to house servers and software that transmits server and environmental sensor information, and then provides real-time visualization and monitoring of all equipment in a Vapor Edge environment.
Crawford said the company can roll out a market with just three or four towers. And he said they have fine-tuned the installation process so the time needed for a truck roll is minimized. “We can spin up data centers in minutes not months,” he said.
The company also hired a new president and COO. Don Duet, former partner, managing director, and head of the technology division of Goldman Sachs, joined the company and will oversee the expansion of Project Volutus to more towers.