Despite its somewhat unfortunate choice of name, Vapor IO came out of stealth mode this week at the Open Compute Project Summit. With a goal of extending the Open Data Center Runtime Environment with an intelligent layer, the Core Operating Runtime Environment, (Vapor CORE), that Vapor IO hopes to provide an industry standard methodology that allows data center operators to get detailed metrics on their individual workloads, allowing them to utilize a new metric they call Performance Watt per Dollar (PWD).
The Vapor IO open API environment, which allows applications to provide real-time integration with the live data center, is designed to work not only with Open Compute hardware designs but also the legacy hardware prevalent in almost every data center. The real-time information provided via the open API will allow data center operators to right-size their installations, minimizing the dangers of over-provisioning, even in these times when virtualization is the order of the day, and allow for the most efficient operation of any data center.
The Vapor IO model also goes beyond software and proposes a redesigned rack mount system called the Vapor Chamber. These circular rack mount systems, which resemble a Cray supercomputer, are proposed to replace aisles of standard 19" rack mounts to allow greater computing densities in the same space, using standard-sized equipment. Vapor IO sees the Vapor chamber as the key to building a collapsed infrastructure that is easily repurposed and contains the security and power requirements of the modern data center.
Open DCRE, Vapor CORE, and the Vapor Chamber represent a more than evolutionary approach to the design and operation of the next generation datacenter. Their designs and proposals suggest a considerable improvement in future generations of data centers, but for now, the business name remains appropriate.