Chanel Data Center Fashion Show

Chanel Data Center Fashion Show

At Parallel Technologies, we aren’t just experts in Reliable Data Centers and Intelligent Buildings, we happen know a thing or two when it comes to high end fashion.

So imagine the massive nerdy conversations around our offices when we heard that Chanel’s fashion show featured data centers as a key part of their theme. Following proper nerd and fashion protocol, we thought we’d start by critiquing their data center design.

What we Liked:

  • Relatively Clean Cabling! Overall this is a clean design with minimal lines. We especially liked the futuristic approach to drop the cables from the basket tray to every fourth rack. We’re not sure how that actually works, but we’d love to see more of it!
  • Great execution for server standardization. Could these be the latest generation of OpenCompute white-box servers? With Chanel’s flair for design, we’re fairly sure these were designed in-house.
  • Full IT load in EVERY cabinet. There’s no empty spaces to be found anywhere. Cram every rack full! We assume a DCIM solution helped them maximize loading and capacity to achieve this.
  • They appear to be using a new Wireless busway technology to distribute the power to the racks. The wireless technology must somehow deliver the power to more than one rack, as we only see seven breaker boxes for ten racks in one of the photos.
  • Chanel actually used Hot and Cold aisle layouts, making TIA-942 Compliant! Sometimes, it pays off to stick with the standard approach that has worked so well in the past.
  • Clearly Chanel took a pragmatic approach to use vinyl strips for containment, which relatively few data centers are implementing today. Their execution is flawed overall, which will be covered below.

What we Loathed:

  • Chanel is using a single breaker to feed the redundant whips to the cabinets. It’s an equivalent faux-paux to putting only one button on a snappy, fitted blazer. You have to have at least two; one alone will never do.
  • Vinyl containment: We have two major concerns with Chanel’s implementation…
    • First, the containment is around the entire rack, and doesn’t prevent hot and cold air from mixing
    • Second, while Vinyl has it’s place, we think only leather will do for haute designer like Chanel.
  • Cooling seems to use an N+X methodology within each rack. We assume that this is to allow scalable capacity (on what we assume are heavily virtualized servers), but putting CRAC units at the top of the rack seems to create a lot of potential for hot and cold air to mix.
  • There appears to be very little rack security. While we are reasonably certain that only people with proper credentials were allowed into the room, we strongly recommend that having security at the rack level be implemented. On the plus side, we are sure there were plenty of cameras on hand to capture any perpetrators working under nefarious pretenses.

What we hated: Data Centers are all about mitigating risks, not taking them. The fabrics and flair totally missed the mark. We will look for improvements – hopefully taking our recommendations above – in their new line next season.

Dale Klein

Dale Klein is the president and owner of Parallel Technologies. He has more than two decades of experience in technology and business leadership. He transformed Parallel Technologies from a cabling services company into a high-growth technology company by helping clients with their reliable data center and intelligent building strategies.