Thureon launches its 'server room in a box' in US

The Armarac is a wall-mounted clamshell box that holds servers and networking gear

Auckland-based engineering company Thureon is stepping on to the international stage at the Interop conference in Las Vegas this week to launch what it describes as a server room in a box.

The Armarac is a wall-mounted clamshell box that holds servers and networking gear. It is water, fire and dust resistant, and also protects equipment from theft and vandalism, says Ross Vincent, one of Thureon’s founders.

“Literally, it’s a miniature server room but it bolts to the wall rather than having to have a separate space,” Vincent says.

The box requires just half a square metre of space, which is one of its main benefits, says Vincent. It is 71 centimetres wide and 172 centimetres high when fully opened.

“To put in a normal, horizontal 19-inch rack you need a three by three metre room, regardless of how much gear you are putting in,” he says.

As Thureon’s box is bolted to the wall, it doesn’t take up any floor space either.

Another feature is the company’s Vertiblade hinging mechanism that holds the devices vertically and opens like the pages in a book, says Vincent.

“That overcomes the constraints that would normally be found with mounting equipment vertically against the wall, because you don’t have to slide [devices] out a metre above [the rack] or in front of it,” he says.

The 19-inch rack has been around since the 1940s, explains Vincent.

“It’s across every industry and it is the one thing that has not changed,” he says.

The power of today’s servers and the miniaturisation of storage created an opportunity for Thureon’s product. One Armarac box is capable of holding the entire computing infrastructure of, for example, a branch office, warehouse, factory or restaurant, Vincent says.

“Now you can buy a 1U [one rack unit] or 2U server, and using virtualisation technology, it is enough to run hundreds of workstations,” he says. “Our proposition of an Armarac with [six rack units] of mounting space is more than enough for any branch office of a large corporate.”

Vincent and his business partner Darren Smith had the idea three years ago when they were working with a client who needed a temporary remote office in a factory that had no place to put the equipment, Vincent says.

“We spent the first year investigating what else was out there, what features it needed and what it had to look like to be successful,” he says. “The last two years have been full-on development, prototyping and testing.”

A $168,000 grant from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology made the research and development possible, says Vincent.

Armarac boxes are available now in New Zealand, Australia and the US, and will be available in Europe in the next year, says Vincent.

Standard units cost US$7,995 (NZ$10,912), while units equipped with LCD monitor, keyboard, mouse and temperature monitor cost US$9,995.

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