5G innovation program: Our IT container in Suderburg and the advantages of a decentralized data center

January 18, 2023

In January 2022, work began on the "5G in Agriculture" research project, which was launched by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). In recent months, the project consortium, consisting of Vitrum GmbH, the district of Uelzen, Ostfalia University, Agravis Raiffeisen AG, Comcross GmbH & Co KG and Lünecom GmbH, has made some significant progress. 

An important project milestone in 2022 was the delivery of our IT container, which will act as the project's own decentralized data center in the future. The IT container was ordered in June, built and configured by the manufacturer by the end of October, and delivered and set up at the beginning of November at the FutureFarm of consortium partner AGRAVIS in Suderburg in the district of Uelzen, Lower Saxony.

But what is so special about this IT container? On the one hand, it is the contained technology itself, and on the other hand, its compact size and thus its mobility factor. After all, the data centers that are usually used today are large facilities in which a significant portion of the electricity demand is not used at all for the actual IT, but for the complex infrastructure around it.

Furthermore, it has become increasingly important for many companies to know where their used hosting server is actually located and which legislation the hosting provider itself is therefore subject to.

A network of multiple decentralized data centers is more secure, more resilient to data loss and hacking, and also features great freedom of location.

The servers used in each mobile data center are also ultra-performant and can intelligently expand and distribute their computing capacity by connecting several similar servers to each other. CPU computing power, RAM and storage can thus be distributed across multiple servers within a container, but also across multiple containers at different locations. In addition, the use of hypervisors allows redundant mirroring of individual servers within the system. If one server fails, another takes over seamlessly.

On the subject of security, it can also be said that despite its slim design, our IT container has a concept of multiple security levels and is therefore equipped with special security features. Hazards such as temperature or movements are monitored 24/7 and there is a nitrogen atmosphere inside the server cabinets. Fires can thus not even start due to the lack of oxygen.

Of course, the systems are also protected against short power outages and voltage fluctuations by large emergency batteries. In addition, these batteries ensure that the servers can shut themselves down in a timely and orderly manner in the event of longer power outages, without any loss of data.

| Insights into the construction of the IT container as time lapse

A first small step on our way to contributing to digitization in agriculture has thus been taken and we are pleased that everything worked so smoothly. But this is, of course, just the beginning. Over the next few years, we will be distributing a large number of other such IT containers at various locations around the world. These will then be connected to form an ever larger, ever more resilient and at the same time high-performance network. We look forward to an exciting future and look forward to you continuing to follow our path toward digitization.

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