The Enerhash Group has reached an important milestone: the mobile data center called Enerhash DATABOX has successfully completed a 5-month test run and is ready to be launched on the market. Server parks built on the structure of a container are not new inventions. The industry has realized the benefits of a mobile container a couple of years back – namely that they can be shipped to an affordable power source – and has been leveraging it ever since. Server park containers have spread widely by now. The Enerhash Group is building on mobility, as well, but has taken the business model a step further by crafting an offer that stands its ground in the corporate sphere. Such an offer has been unprecedented in the market till now. At the heart of the vision of the Enerhash Group is to create a competitive advantage by building strong corporate partnerships through tailoring our processes to the needs of our partners from legal issues to operational aspects.
The test run was preceded by serious preparation in order for the product to operate with maximum reliability even under extreme weather conditions. Following the successful test phase, all that is left is the market launch, which in our case can be both sales and rental.
Added value for energy producers
Not only Enerhash’s product, but its business model is also innovative. The main objective was to come up with an approach that has never been seen before and can provide significant added value for energy producers in term of profitability and efficiency. The vision of the group is to build a mutually beneficial relationship with power plants, offering higher value for the electricity consumed. Based on our extensive experience in the industry, we have come to the realization that there is an untapped potential in power plant capacity for Bitcoin mining and other similar blockchain technologies, which could lead to a breakthrough on both the energy and data center markets.
Current regulations set harsh conditions for power plants, resulting in an increasingly limited room for maneuver in sales. The best practice to benefit from surplus capacities has been setting up own industrial parks where the power plant can offer competitive electricity prices to direct consumers by avoiding system usage fees. However, it is difficult to find consumers in an industrial park whose operations will remain undisturbed during maintenance or temporary shutdown of the power plant. Industrial consumers mostly need continuous availability for stable production. As the usage and the production of electricity are often geographically separated, power plants have no choice but to sell their capacity on the national market at often uncompetitive prices.
With the Enerhash DATABOX, our group has developed a solution that helps power plants to optimize their production under difficult market conditions. The electricity consumption of servers is high enough to become a significant consumer for power plants and not requiring 100% availability. The base load provided by the servers balances the volatility of power generation, making profitability more predictable. Leveraging on all that, we can offer a competitive fixed or indexed price for the surplus electricity of power plants, opening an additional source of revenue based on their excess capacities.
Introducing the Enerhash DATABOX
0,5 MW power consumption
One of the main benefits of the Enerhash mobile data centers is the scalability of their performance. With a capacity of 0.5 MegaWatt (500 KW) per container, the data center is ideal to become a substantial consumer for a power plant. Its capacity can be configured between 200 and 500 KW per server which means 2500 Watts. However, it is worth using the maximum capacity of the container to reach higher economies of scale. In addition, the server farm can provide flexibility by switching each computer off is there is a maintenance due or the power plant would rather sell to other buyers with higher margins temporarily. The entire container, including its physical structure and IT systems, was designed with the need of power generators in mind.
Transportation of a standard marine container is both cost-efficient and easily feasible by road. It may be worthwhile to change locations a few times a year, which is relatively easy to do with a mobile data center, thus adapting to the local characteristics of energy producers.
The 20-foot container takes up 6096 mm x 2438 mm x 2590 mm, which means it requires no more than 25 m2 of available space on a power plant site, including the space around for safe operations. In case of limited available space, they can be stacked.
The operation of the server park can be fully controlled remotely, specifying what the consumptions of the servers should be in each hour. Software maintenance is also performed remotely, only general cleaning, dusting and minor hardware problems require on-site intervention on a monthly basis.
A 4G mobile internet antenna guarantees controllability remotely, in which we have placed a double SIM card. We have a contract with two different service providers, which is necessary so that should one provider have issues with the connection, we can automatically switch to the other provider. At the same time, if available, we can operate the data center with a UTP cable, being the most optimal option, but not a must have. 4G antennas provide a reliable connection even in remote locations. Mining requires a stable and fast connection, but the data traffic used to operate the server park does not exceed 10GB per month.
Switch on and off at any time
As already mentioned, there is no need for continuous availability of electricity to operate the data center, which is a key aspect for power generators whose operation is based on regulation. Our containers can be switched on and off at any time during factory maintenance or with profitability in mind. Even consumption can be configured per computer to fit current needs.
To control consumption and manage internal scheduling, we are also developing a software that allows for efficient organization and information flow between the power plant and Enerhash. We lay down an annual framework for energy demand in a contract, which can later be managed flexibly. Target consumption is determined on an annual basis, whereas data is tracked and accounted for on a monthly basis.
The specifications of the Enerhash DATABOX have been designed with power plants in mind
We value quality and reliability above all else, thus Enerhash kept that in mind when designing the interior of the container. We are proud to have such a quality network of suppliers that Enerhash can make the data center available within 25 working days ready for operation.
Servers are the tip of the iceberg
The 20-foot container houses 156 servers which are divided into 7 separate units. The shelf sizes are optimized to fit the most frequently used mining computers – Bitmain, Innosilicon, Whatsminer – regardless of brand. Each machine has been equipped with an individual fuse, while the larger units have their own separate main fuses.
Mining is performed by the computers shown above ( in this case Antminer), which are powered by the highest quality German-made UTP cables. Enerhash has made sure that maintenance can be performed efficiently by equipping the cables with velcro fasteners and have marked the cables on both ends.
The power cabinet stores the three cables providing the three-phase AC power. 400 Volts, the commonly used voltage, are required to operate the data center.
Internal IT network
The operation of the internal IT system is secured by 7 Mikrotik switches and a router. Enerhash selects modern and exceptionally reliable devices to maintain excellent performance over a wide temperature range (-40°C – + 70°C). As the side of the container allows for continuous ventilation, we need to ensure safe operation under quasi-outdoor conditions. The switches are located on the brackets, assuring that cleaning is easier and heat can dissipate.
Az uninterruptible APC power supply guarantees that key network devices remain accessible in the event of a power failure.
Safety and ventilation
The side of the container features wall louvres to meet the airflow demand of the servers – 2 200 m3 per minute when servers are operating at full capacity. The wall louvres practically provide the same level of ventilation as if the servers were outdoors.
Another key aspect is the temperature – cold in the winter and heat in the summer – therefore, it was of paramount importance that the server farms perform well during the winter test runs. As the servers generate a significant amount of heat, freezing point can never be reached in the winter; and heat can escape freely through the wall louvres in the summer. Furthermore, we have installed a firewall in the container to physically separate the cool and hot air, which is placed right behind the computers. This solution proved to be most efficient because air conditioning would result in not only additional costs but also physical difficulty.
Mining computers operate slightly louder than regular computers, but the noise is not disturbing from the outside and meets all noise protection restrictions. Inside the container, we placed headphones so that internal maintenance can be performed undisturbedly by our colleagues.
Our security system consist of a camera and alarm. The data center also keeps track of all door openings and closures, and allows access only after authentication. Using the security camera, it is possible to monitor the interior of the container continuously.