The Power of N

by James Leach
05 October 2012

If you have been in or around data centers over the last 10 years, you have experienced the power of N. This single letter drives the architectural standards and design philosophies of the entire data center industry. There a lot of N’s in the data center industry -- N, 2N, N+1, N+2, and (2(N+1)).

Now RagingWire is introducing a new N called 2N+2. Why are we doing this? Well the other N’s didn’t measure up to the task of describing our patented critical infrastructure architecture.

What is N?
N is the amount of something you need in order to deliver a service or load. For an IT shop, N could be the number of servers you need to deliver a defined processing capacity. In a data center, N could be the number of UPSs (uninterruptible power supplies), generators, MSB (main switchboards) you need to deliver a power load. Of course in an N configuration, you need to hold constant the capacity of each element that makes up the N.

With N as your base, the next step is to identify the number of spare devices and complete backup units in your configuration. For example, let’s say you need 10 servers to run a cloud application. If you have a total of 14 interconnected servers with 10 production devices and four spare units, then you have an N+4 design. If you have two independent configurations of 10 servers each that can back each other up, then you have a 2N design.

N is a useful approach when describing the world of physical devices to deliver a certain capacity. The challenge is information technology and data centers are becoming increasing virtualized where pools of capacity are available and dynamically configurable. Devices still matter, but so does continuous monitoring and dynamic management of the capacity those devices deliver.

2N+2 Delivers 100% Availability
RagingWire’s patented 2N+2 design describes the physical devices, virtualized capacity, and PLCs (programmable logic controls) that enable us to deliver a data center with 100% availability even during maintenance periods and a utility outage.

We call the PLCs and integrated data center infrastructure management (DCIM) system, N-MatrixTM. With N-Matrix, we can combine our 2N power paths and N+2 critical infrastructure to deliver a 2N+2 data center – the most reliable data center design in the world.

James Leach

Vice President, Marketing