Power Supplies & Batteries

Smart Data Centers - Growing Energy and Power Demand

by Vishal Sapru 18 Mar 2010
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Over the last five years, the focus has shifted towards smart (green) data centers. This has led to an increase in data center power and cooling requirements. The density of the equipment packed into each rack continues to grow/increase in conjunction with the requirements for processor cycles, memory, and storage. The average power requirement per rack varied between 1 to 3 kilowatt (kw) but has now increased to 7 to 10 kw per rack with an average of 8 kw per rack. The average power density is about 8 to 8.2 kw per rack but based on data center type the average would be 10 kw or even higher. With the implementation of high-density blade server the power consumption accounts for 20 to 30 kw per rack. The dramatic increase in power consumption has resulted in making most data centers incapable of delivering adequate power and cooling for over-heated equipment.

As per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), electricity consumed by servers in the U.S. data centers represented approximately 1.5 percent of the national electricity use. The power and cooling infrastructure that supports IT equipment in data centers also uses significant energy, accounting for 50 percent of the total consumption of data centers. It is estimated that the enterprise class data centers alone account for over 35 percent of this energy use. The USEPA's report to Congress further states that following current efficiency trends, national energy consumption by servers and data centers could nearly double by 2011 to more than 100 billion kWh, representing a $7.4 billion in annual electricity cost.

Some of the key challenges facing the data center industry include energy intensity due to high heat densities, energy efficiency, re-evaluation of traditional cooling solutions, higher occupancy demand and economic conditions.

The efforts of suppliers of power and cooling equipments as well as facilities infrastructure providers in trying to contain inefficiencies in data centers cannot be overlooked. Whether it is innovations leading to enhancements in operational efficiency or introduction of state-of-the-art technology that potentially reduces the total energy consumption, while ensuring performance and availability, the data center space is witnessing a spade of serious supplier-led initiatives.

Example: Fujitsu’s latest Primergy server product, called the Primergy CX1000, is designed to appeal to the economics of cloud service providers especially those that are focused on ultra energy efficiency. By divesting the servers of individual fans and cramming them into its new Cool-Central cabinet architecture, Fujitsu believes it can deliver a 20 percent reduction in power consumption and cooling compared to similarly configured racks. In addition, the upfront cost is about 30 percent less. Primergy racks can be placed back to back, which means they also take up less space. The server nodes are based on the Xeon processor 5600 series. Cool-Central also feature a massive fan, which eliminates the need for redundant ones within each server node.

Similarly, Emerson Network Power introduced SmartAisle™ solution to improve effectiveness of data center cooling. American Power Conversion (APC) has introduced InfraStruXure which is an innovative architecture which fully integrates power, cooling, and environmental management within a rack-optimized design. Active Power has the containerized system which typically includes a standby generator, Active Power’s CleanSource® 300 kVA UPS, a generator starting module, switchgear and chiller rated at 240 kW. Various options are system rated at 480 kW including a standby generator, a CleanSource® 600 kVA UPS, a generator starting module, switchgear and chiller. The increased cost and demand for energy and space efficient solutions has magnified the need for intelligent data center designs. Active Power’s goal is to cool these IT containers in a modular and portable fashion for ease of use and reduced overall costs without compromising on reliability.

The data center industry is expected to witness a spade of new technologies and concepts that could potentially revolutionize power and cooling infrastructure and energy management. Some of these concepts include Chip-level Cooling, Row and Rack-based Cooling, Liquid Cooling, Thermal Storage System, Modular Data Centers, PowerChain Management Solutions, and Data Center Automation.

Power and cooling demand from information technology (IT), telecom and hosting facilities have been systematically growing in the last decade. Energy efficiency concerns and the general economic recovery anticipated within vertical markets are expected to drive the growth in the Data Center Power and Cooling Solutions market.

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Comments (1)

By  Gilbert Smith

01 May 2012 03:44
Technology demand can be witnessed nowadays because it has been a part of our daily lives. Great recession can be felt in many part of the globe and we all know that job loss and bankruptcies are the common occurrences but i am hoping that will not be a hindrance for the development because if they will succeed, i am sure that this can help us avoid getting a payday loan to pay our power bills.
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