Data centre supplier Minkels introduces its Free Standing Cold Corridor® - for ultra-modular aisle containment

Minkels, worldwide supplier of modular data centre solutions and part of Legrand (quoted on NYSE Euronext Paris: LR), has launched the Free Standing Cold Corridor®. The ultra-modular aisle containment design has been developed for both corporate and commercial data centres. The self-supporting construction offers a pay-as-you-grow model for energy-efficient separation of hot and cold air flows, eliminating the need for an initial investment in racks.

The Minkels Free Standing Cold Corridor® is a fully self-supporting aisle containment design. Unlike the norm for the data centre market, it allows isolated corridors to be created without data centre racks. The new solution, an innovation by Minkels’ Product Development department, is an ultra-modular and therefore flexible concept for keeping hot and cold airflows separate. The method is energetically extremely efficient. From the moment it is implemented, the Free Standing Cold Corridor offers the same level of energy efficiency as a standard Cold Corridor design with data centre racks.

Product development

The aisle containment design is a modular one consisting only of wall panels, roof panels and doors, offering corporate and commercial data centres a cost-efficient pay-as-you-grow model that provides energy efficiency at low startup costs (CAPEX). The far-reaching modularity in the structural details allows the Free Standing Cold Corridor to offer complete flexibility in terms of the racks and the equipment actually placed inside, including storage and network equipment.

Increasingly often, IT functionality such as storage is being delivered as complete rack systems in various sizes. The design of the Free Standing Cold Corridor gives customers the flexibility to fit other types and sizes of racks in at a later date, so that users have the freedom to adapt the Cold Corridor construction as they go along to their evolving and dynamic data centre requirements.

The Free Standing Cold Corridor has been developed using clients’ best practices, working together with Minkels’ leading customers. The clients ranged from supermarkets to banks in the Netherlands, France, the UK, Switzerland and Belgium.

“The development process involved a major supermarket chain and a large European bank, among others,” says Vincent Liebe, Senior Product Manager at Minkels. “These customers needed a highly scalable aisle containment solution as a cost-effective way of providing energy-efficient housing for their rapidly growing IT infrastructures. In addition, the design had to be hugely flexible in terms of what it could contain, because they didn’t know what type of equipment or racks would be placed in the aisle containment system in the longer term.”

Add-on modules and retrofitting

Minkels’ Free Standing Cold Corridor® is compatible with the Minkels Next Generation Cold Corridor®, an aisle containment solution that does use racks to support the structure. The benefit of this is that all the optional add-on modules of the Next Generation Cold Corridor can be integrated seamlessly with the Free Standing Cold Corridor.

The optional add-on modules that are available include:

· Air flow optimisation - for increased energy efficiency.
· Data centre monitoring - with plug & play integration of sensors for monitoring.
· Access security - with various (automatic) door systems.
· Fire safety - for compatibility with a wide variety of fire extinguishing systems.

The Free Standing Cold Corridor is also suitable for application in what are known as ‘retrofit’ situations, in which an existing data centre has to bet given an energy-efficient aisle containment housing, without risking compromising the operational continuity of the data centre.

“It’s easy to make those kinds of alterations using the Free Standing Cold Corridor,” says Mr Liebe, “Much simpler than with a customisation project. It’s more cost-efficient too. You have to see it as a customised solution based on standard products. This means that the Free Standing Cold Corridor also offers a standard route for upgrading conventional data centres and making them more efficient.”

About Minkels

Minkels ( is a knowledge-driven producer and worldwide supplier of high-quality complete solutions for data centre infrastructure. The Minkels brand is part of the product portfolio of Legrand, a publicly traded company (NYSE Euronext Paris: LR) with worldwide sales in the low voltage installation, data network and data centre markets. Legrand operates in more than 180 countries and achieved worldwide revenues of 4.5 billion euros in 2013.

Modularity and energy efficiency are key principles within the extensive Minkels product range. The very nature of the modularly structured data centre products creates a highly scalable customer solution that responds to dynamic requirements within the data centre environment. Because of their energy efficiency know-how, Minkels have been asked to provide input to European guidelines for energy efficient datacentre layouts, the so-called Code of Conduct for Data Centres.

The Minkels product range includes modular solutions for data centre racks (Varicon®); data centre cooling, including DX cooling for small server rooms and Cold Corridor® aisle containment solutions (VariCondition®); data centre power distribution (VariconPower™); data centre monitoring (VariControl®); as well as a wide range of data centre accessories.