LAN Assists iFortress in Pursuit of Modular Datacenter Market

July 17, 2014

For the past 10 years, LAN has been supporting iFortress, a provider of modular, secure Mission Critical Facilities worldwide. LAN’s support has been threefold, on a modular panel level with product engineering, on a component level with manufacturing engineering and on an operating system level with installation engineering. The installation engineering has included design of the enclosures themselves, design of the mechanical and electrical infrastructure for turnkey datacenter and telcom installations. Lastly, LAN has provided interface engineering by providing the services needed to install an iFortress modular solution within a facility including structural considerations, foundation designs, and a variety of utility connections such as sources of power, cooling, water, etc.

With iFortress being a global company, LAN’s services have extended to the four corners of the globe, literally. Not only has LAN provided services for projects located throughout the continental US, but LAN has provided engineering services for installations in Hawaii, South Korea, Brazil and Norway, and is currently pursuing opportunities in the Middle East and Africa. Also, because LAN has designed the iFortress modular system in conformance with the International Building Code exterior building standards, it can be installed in a variety of locations ranging from standalone exterior installations and installations in mines to installations in parking garages, warehouses and upper floors or roofs of buildings.

LAN has also assisted iFortress with obtaining certification of their enclosure as a SCIF, a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility. The United States military and government requires that classified information be handled, communicated or processed within a SCIF which provides unique protections from sound transmission, access, TEMPEST (spying on information systems through leaking emanations, including unintentional radio or electrical signals, sounds, and vibrations), EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) and HEMP (high altitude nuclear explosion). Having such certifications has led to projects on US military bases and for the State Department.

As interesting as all of the above may be, LAN and iFortress have recently been most excited about iFortress’ entry into the modular datacenter market. iFortress is tackling the modular market with a panel system that is infinitely configurable, built with panels that can be dropped anywhere the customer desires, and in a manner that increases speed of delivery and flexibility of the solution.

“We wanted something nimble and came up with the panel system,” said Jerry Lyons, iFortress CEO. “Risk mitigation is extremely important, so we spent over 10 years in research and development. Everything is tested and rated as an assembly to U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) standards.”

The iFortress modular solution addresses one of the biggest problems in the datacenter industry:  How much do you build? Typically, datacenters are built large enough to grow into over several years, but this is capital intensive. The iFortress panelized system allows owners to only build based on their needs today. When it’s time to expand or subtract, the initial datacenter is kept intact, panels are attached to the exterior, and when the expansion space is ready, the dividing wall can be removed.

“We started 14 years ago, designing solutions around what we heard, unlike most of the industry that responded around containerized,” said Lyons. “The reason that failed is because the market was asking for one thing, and the industry gave them something else. We went down to something extremely nimble.”

The iFortress modular enclosure is based around a panel system, using panels 2 feet wide and 4 inches thick. The panels and sizes are infinitely configurable. “By virtue of this panel system and its inherent properties, every assembly is airtight, watertight, green, energy efficient and prevents environmental threats,” said Lyons. “It enhances the market’s ability to have a pre-configured pre-engineered data center that can be put together in advance of site selection.  While a parking lot is very different than a warehouse – it doesn’t matter where we go.”

iFortress’ two main products include the xSiteTM MCF which is a server ready solution, and iShelterTM MCF, in which iFortress can build the environment in a sequence of decks. “Instead of two containers together, we build each deck so that when two elements are joined, it’s all continuous,” said Lyons.

Examples of recently completed projects include 1600 SF for Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, 1300 SF for ConEdison, 2800 SF for Johnson & Johnson, several underground facilities for Iron Mountain and a SCIF for the US Army at Fort Dix. Projects currently in fabrication include an 840 SF facility for the Hawaiian Department of Education and a 2300 SF facility for Bluefjords, a colocation company in Norway. Designs are currently in progress for AT&T, the Yongsan US Army base in Seoul, South Korea, the government of Dubai and a telcom installation for the Republic of Congo.