Data Center Infrastructure

Facebook recently provided an inside look at its mobile device testing lab when it allowed a few reporters to tour its Prineville, Ore., data center facility. The lab includes 60 racks, each of which holds 32 mobile devices of every type and variety along with open compute servers and Mac Minis. Whenever a developer makes a change to one of Facebook’s apps, the code is pushed to those systems and automatically tested on the devices in the lab.

It might seem inefficient to test apps directly on the devices themselves rather than using a simulator. However, while simulators are good for debugging, they aren’t able to detect small variations in performance. Facebook’s Production Engineering team built the lab so developers could perform on-device testing while enabling the operational efficiencies Facebook is known for.

The biggest challenge was preventing the devices in the rack from picking up stray Wi-Fi signals. The rack has to block electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference to a very fine degree, while allowing for power, data and airflow.

Rahi Systems had to overcome this hurdle in developing our new RF Shielded Rack. Designed to facilitate the testing of mobile apps, the RF Shielded Rack is a 45U enclosure using specialized gaskets at the seams and doors to maintain shielding effectiveness. The enclosure includes line filters to provide the required rack power without comprising performance. Customizable I/O panels allow for signal and fiber connectivity.

Any enclosure housing dozens of mobile devices and other gear is going to get hot, so in-rack cooling was essential.  Powerful, long-life fans exhaust hot air efficiently. All air passes through high performance honeycomb waveguides creating the least resistance with the highest signal attenuation.

In order to effectively block RF interference, these materials must be applied within 1.2 millimeters of precision. We also had to consider the aesthetics of the unit and the practicalities of today’s data center environment. The RF Shielded Rack is 1200 millimeters deep and can be seismically anchored and joined with other cabinets. It comes with square-punched rails to make device installation easy.

There are services available from Amazon and Google, among others, that enable on-device testing in the cloud. But the RF Shielded Rack puts you in control of your testing environment so developers don’t have to worry about limits on how many hours they can test each day or how many devices they can test concurrently. Rahi is also offering the RF Shielded Rack in an Enclosure-as-a-Service model for temporary deployments and small-scale projects.

For organizations that need efficient management of large numbers of devices without RF shielding, Rahi also offers the Mobile App Development Rack. Developed in partnership with Enconnex, this rack can support up to 1,000 mobile devices along with compute, storage, networking and power resources. Specialized trays hold mobile devices in place, and sliding shelves pull out completely for easy access. Highly efficient in-rack cooling minimizes operating costs.

Facebook understands all too well the importance of extensive mobile app testing. With Rahi’s mobile app engineering solutions, organizations can ensure a high-quality user experience by performing on-device testing across multiple devices and operating systems.

To learn more about the RF Shielded Rack WATCH NOW.

Sydney: +61 (2) 8488 4700 Melbourne: +61 (3) 8488 7390