Vapor IO cylinder 2301 ms 5G is years away but the first 10-15 ms Edge Clouds are sprouting up. A day after I said, "No one is deploying Edge at the cell sites," I discovered Vapor IO is deploying systems one hop away or sometimes at towers. Update: Vapor tells Mike Dano "Vapor IO is putting its edge computing functions," where they can "manage hundreds or potentially thousands of cell radios." Previously, they planned the opposite. At a guess, the difference is 3-8 ms. Apologies for my sloppy fact-checking. End update.

The first two are live in Chicago and they building over a dozen more. After four years and three funding rounds, they plan to launch 200 sites by the end of 2020. Goldman Sachs, Crown Castle, and private equity have been involved.  

AT&T and T-Mobile/Nokia are rebuilding their networks for SDN/NFV and both are using OpenStack. Vapor IO has an interesting multitenant software system that provides a shared system (colocation.) CMO Matt Trifiro tells me they are actively signing clients. Part-owner Crown Castle has 10's of thousands of small cell and towers. It would be natural to do joint sales calls.

Trifiro tells me the Vapor Edge Modules will also go at "aggregation points" one hop away. With dedicated fibre, that may add as little as a millisecond.  (Update. This is not accurate,)

The telcos have been giving conflicting impressions. Hans Vestberg of Verizon twice sounded enthusiastic about building an Edge on the Q4 financial call. Andre Fuetsch of AT&T has discussed deploying OpenStack routers at "thousands" of sites. 


All the carriers are interested in building Edge Clouds but few are certain of the market.

From the company:

The Kinetic Edge: Combining Multiple Edge Sites into a City-Sized Virtual Data Center

Vapor IO’s Kinetic Edge is a new kind of infrastructure architecture that uses software and high-speed connectivity to combine multiple micro data center facilities into a single “logical data center.” For developers and operators, it presents a geographically-dispersed collection of micro data centers as a single virtual facility with multiple availability zones.

“We are deploying Kinetic Edge right now,” said Crawford. “We start by placing multiple Vapor edge data centers in a geographic region, spaced 15 to 20 Km apart. We then connect them with high speed fiber so that our industry-redefining software can stitch these sites together into a highly-reliable and customizable edge presence that can span an entire city or region.”

An Architecture Built for Edge

Vapor IO’s Kinetic Edge architecture creates city-sized, software-controlled virtual data centers comprised of many micro data centers meshed together with high-speed fiber, spanning an entire geographic region. Developers use the Vapor Edge APIs to build edge native applications that respond to changing environmental conditions, delivering software-based high-resiliency failover, real time load balancing, workload migration for devices in motion, and so on.

A Kinetic Edge consists of:

  • Multiple Vapor Chambers or Vapor Edge Modules, spaced 10 Km to 20 Km apart
  • High-speed site-to-site fiber connectivity with redundant paths
  • Vapor Edge Controllers in each location that manage the fiber connectivity and present software APIs that expose edge conditions in real time
  • Software for IP aggregation at the edge, as well as for site-to-site handoff of IP addresses to support devices in motion, as well as for migrating network traffic for load balancing and failover
  • Ingestible telemetry for application and container orchestration integration

The Highly-Available Edge

Traditional data centers are made more resilient by expensively replicating critical systems at each site. For example, a 2N+1 site would require three of everything—generators, backup batteries, cabling, cooling systems, and so on. A Kinetic Edge installation with no redundancy at individual sites can seamlessly combine sites to exceed the availability of the most reliable Tier 4 data centers. A Kinetic Edge with five sites can offer twelve nines of availability (99.9999999999% uptime), without the costs of replicating critical infrastructure at each site. This level of reliability is achieved by distributing risk across all sites in the Kinetic Edge and using software to monitor environmental conditions and replicate workloads and data so that there is no single point of failure.

Vapor Edge Module: Deploying a Multi-Tenant Edge with an All-in-One Micro Modular Data Center

The Vapor Edge Module (VEM)  is a completely self-contained, containerized edge data center that is factory-assembled and delivered as a single unit. It is designed to enable weather-hardened, multi-tenant edge locations where the economics of shared infrastructure creates a long-term value proposition. Built around the highly efficient Vapor Chamber design, each VEM supports up to 150 Kw of IT load in a small, efficient footprint. The prefabricated design incorporates all of the critical data center systems, including power distribution, cooling, fire suppression, security, and racking systems for IT equipment. Additionally, the VEM supports an adaptive ‘blindmate’ cooling plant that allows for chilled water, direct expansion, or adiabatic cooling depending on the given location and climate.

Highly-Secure for Multi-Tenant Environments

In multi-tenant and colocation environments, service personnel from different organizations require access to their equipment (and only their equipment). The VEM completely isolates all IT equipment behind a physical and electronic security wall. Service personnel enter a small access alcove, via biometric and/or other security authentication mechanisms, and are only allowed direct access to their hardware. The IT equipment resides inside a Vapor Chamber that rests on a motorized turntable which can rotate 180 degrees in each direction in order to present the authenticated rack to the service access alcove. This both increases security and reduces the amount of space needed for housing and servicing the equipment. Each rack can be further secured by up to four 9-12 RU locking doors, which also require security authentication to open, and allow tenants to lease capacity in partial rack increments.

Autonomic and Software-Driven

Vapor IO software continuously monitors the critical environment and makes automatic adjustments based on actual IT load, providing for greater efficiency.  It can additionally issue warnings based on the status of sensors integrated into the VEM. The software also supports remote operations and security via an API built atop OpenDCRE. A human-friendly web-based application for operators connects directly to the Vapor Edge Module, making it easy to monitor multiple locations, create dashboards and reports, and perform enhanced remote hands operations.

Built for the edge

Vapor Edge Modules are easy to deploy, compact, cost effective and highly secure. Factory-assembled for direct delivery to edge locations, each VEM arrives as a single unit that can be placed directly on a concrete slab or piers. A fully-operational VEM can be installed at an edge site quickly—in timeframes measured in minutes, not months. Because security, remote operations and multi-tenant capabilities come standard, the Vapor Edge Module will appeal to landowners, building owners, infrastructure providers and other entities looking to build out an edge presence quickly.


Vapor IO Raises Series C Financing to Deploy Kinetic Edge Data Centers in Every Major US Metro Area

Over 100 edge locations planned by 2020; Vapor IO on track to be the largest provider of interconnected edge data center facilities, coast-to-coast

AUSTIN, Texas – September 5, 2018 – Vapor IO, developers of the first fully-integrated hardware and software solutions for edge computing, today announced a Series C funding round led by private equity firm Berkshire Partners, with participation from current investor Crown Castle. The new investment will be used to officially launch the company’s groundbreaking Kinetic Edge colocation and interconnection services, while rapidly expanding its footprint of edge data centers.

The Kinetic Edge platform offers a new category of colocation built around infrastructure-side edge computing at the intersection of the wireless and wireline networks. By deploying micro data centers at the base of cell towers and in nearby wireless aggregation hubs, Vapor IO expects to be the largest provider of edge data center colocation services integrated directly into the wireless infrastructure.

“As the concept of edge computing has gone from niche technology to mainstream trend, we have methodically laid the foundation for infrastructure-side edge computing,” said Cole Crawford, founder and CEO of Vapor IO. “Vapor IO is building the largest footprint of interconnected edge data centers and we are rolling out at an accelerated pace. We’re thrilled to welcome Berkshire Partners as a lead investor and to have the continued support of Crown Castle. This will help establish Vapor IO’s leadership in the market and offer unprecedented value and performance to our customers.”

The Kinetic Edge
Vapor IO’s Kinetic Edge enables carriers, cloud providers, CDNs, web scale companies and other innovative enterprises to place IT equipment (compute, storage, and networking) in Kinetic Edge locations—one hop from the existing 4G LTE and emerging 5G wireless networks.

“Vapor IO is a leader in edge computing,” said Beth Hoffman, a managing director at Berkshire Partners. “With premier technology, increasing mobile edge demand and a large market opportunity, Vapor IO is poised for impressive growth. We look forward to partnering with the company’s exceptional management team to deliver scalable mobile edge infrastructure and to having the opportunity to work alongside Crown Castle again.”

Vapor IO’s Kinetic Edge architecture will create city-sized logical data centers using high-speed fiber and both open and proprietary software. By combining multiple micro data centers, the Kinetic Edge can offer infrastructure that positions compute and storage extremely close to users while also spanning a geographic region. With Kinetic Edge, Vapor IO is first-to-market with a comprehensive package of edge colocation, interconnection and networking services.

Vapor IO will leverage its partnership with Crown Castle, as well as utilize its award-winning technologies—the Vapor ChamberVapor Edge Module and the Synse open source telemetry system—to build and operate the nation’s largest network of edge data centers.

Colocation on the Kinetic Edge
Vapor IO’s primary offering will be providing Kinetic Edge product bundles that include:

  • Colocation: With rollout plans that include all major US cities, Vapor IO will offer customers edge computing colocation services that extends to all major metropolitan regions. Multiple sites in any one Kinetic Edge city can be treated as a single, logical data center than spans the entire metropolitan region.
  • Interconnection: Edge meet-me rooms and interconnection services provide high-speed access to last-mile networks, regional data centers, metropolitan aggregation points and peering centers, as well as public cloud and private data centers.
  • Software-Defined NetworkingUsing the web-based Vapor Edge Portal or secure APIs, Vapor IO customers can configure virtual private networks to create their own unique edge computing topology including Kinetic Edge data centers as well as private and colocation facilities—making it possible to treat all of a customer’s IT equipment in a region as if it were all in the same building.
  • Highly-Secure Lights Out Multi-Tenant Facilities: The Kinetic Edge utilizes Vapor IO’s patent-protected enclosure systems, which include the Vapor Chamber and the Vapor Edge Module. Vapor IO’s Kinetic Edge is designed with multiple layers of physical and logical isolation to provide customers with a highly secure environment for their equipment.
  • Remote Operation and APIs: Vapor IO’s data centers at the Kinetic Edge are designed for remote operation via the web-based Vapor Edge Portal as well as via APIs provided by Vapor IO, including those offered by the Synse open source telemetry system running in each location.

Rollout Plans
Vapor IO has deployed multiple Kinetic Edge data centers in Chicago, IL with plans to have 13 sites underway by the end of 2018, nearly 50 by the end of 2019 and over 100 by the end of 2020, providing coast-to-coast coverage. Specific cities and more detailed rollout plans will be announced later this year.

Continued Partnership with Crown Castle
Vapor IO has expanded its partnership with Crown Castle, the nation’s largest provider of communications infrastructure. The partner-driven edge colocation business that originally operated under the code name “Project Volutus” will now be offered commercially under the Vapor IO Kinetic Edge brand, but will continue to leverage Crown Castle’s assets, including its tower real estate and metro fiber.

“The exponential growth in mobile data and the development of new applications that require high speed data networks with low latency make this an exciting time to be in the shared communications infrastructure business,” said Phil Kelley, senior vice president of Corporate Development and Strategy for Crown Castle. “Vapor IO is a leader in edge computing and their solution provides edge colocation with the most dense compute per square foot, which optimizes the use of the valuable land under our towers. When you combine our distributed real estate and high capacity fiber connectivity with Vapor IO’s capabilities, Crown Castle is uniquely positioned to enable edge computing.”

Vapor IO and BasX Solutions Unveil Revolutionary Cooling System for Micro Data Centers, Custom-Developed for Edge Environments

New system delivers the most reliable and efficient data center thermal management to the edge without the use of outside air or water

Austin, Texas – March 02, 2018 – Vapor IO,the leader in edge computing and edge data centers,and BasX Solutions, one of the world’s leading authorities on data center cooling, today announced a revolutionary new cooling system specifically designed for challenging edge environments. By integrating BasX’s patent-pending hyperscale-grade cooling system with Vapor IO’s Vapor Edge Module (VEM), the companies are able to deliver the smallest footprint multi-tenant micro data center with more than 150 kW of critical IT load in edge environments. The solution provides all the benefits of free and economized cooling, which is today’s gold standard, with none of the drawbacks associated with outside air economization or evaporative water consumption. The first Vapor Edge Modules will be deployed as part of Vapor IO’s Project Volutus in the third quarter of 2018. Vapor IO expects to start deploying at scale by Q4 2018.

“BasX has specially-adapted their hyperscale cooling technology to the Vapor Edge Module, reconfiguring it for a small footprint and remote operation in rugged edge locations,” said Cole Crawford, founder and CEO of Vapor IO. “BasX’s unmatched manufacturing and design expertise—as well as their cooling technology—make them the perfect partner for manufacturing our Edge Module, helping us accelerate the next-generation internet via Project Volutus.”

Delivering Free Cooling to Even the Most Rugged Edge Environments

Vapor IO and BasX jointly designed the Vapor Edge Module’s highly-efficient cooling system with specific edge environment requirements in mind. In particular:

  • Edge locations lack access to an on-site water supply, so evaporative cooling and other water-consuming options are untenable (not to mention falling out of favor due to their environmental impact).
  • Edge data centers must occupy an extremely small footprint, which is achieved by fully-integrating the cooling system into the design rather than bolting on externally mounted “package units.”
  • Edge data centers are often located in rugged and hard-to-reach locations, have no on-site staff and still require high levels of reliability. It’s critically important to have component-level redundancy, utilize remote monitoring and operational tools, as well as eliminate costly air and water filters, which are expensive and have to be frequently replaced. This is key to making the edge data center economical to operate.
  • Edge data centers must be capable of powering (and cooling) substantial amounts of IT equipment, such as at least 150 kW of critical IT gear in a highly-efficient manner.

BasX and Vapor IO used their combined manufacturing and design expertise to deliver on all of these considerations in the Vapor Edge Module. BasX will manufacture the Vapor Edge Module, incorporating the joint designs and innovative technologies from both companies.

“Each and every data center space has its own challenges in regards to space constraints, cooling density, and many other factors. In order to deliver the Vapor Edge Module, we had to uniquely configure our cooling system to perform in that compact space and create safe and exact air handling conditions in frequently rugged conditions,” said BasX president and co-founder Matt Tobolski PhD, SE. “The Vapor Chamber’s patented airflow system inside the Vapor Edge Module is a great match for BasX’s cooling technology, making it possible for us to jointly deliver a high-performance multi-tenant edge data center. We also found the capabilities of Vapor’s software-based telemetry systems ideal for analyzing, tuning and remotely operating edge data centers to ensure we are able to accurately track cooling system performance.”

The Vapor Edge Module will deliver the most reliable and efficient data center thermal management to the edge—all without the use of outside air or water. Benefits include:

  • Edge-Readiness – The first and only multi-tenant modular data center capable of cooling 150 kW of critical IT equipment load in challenging edge environments.
  • Hyperscale Efficiency – Patented air management, continuous “free cooling” and on-demand compressor-based cooling adapted to edge environments rivals the efficiency of the largest and most advanced data centers in the world.
  • Eco-Friendly – Extremely energy efficient, and uses no external water supply. Provides a PUE of 1.2 or better in any climate.
  • Rugged, Reliable – Completely self-contained system that requires no external water piping and no external air filtering. Component-level redundancy increases resilience.
  • Autonomic and adaptable – Dozens of sensors and variable speeds on components (fans, pumps, compressors) allows for efficient operation, remote