The data center demand is increasing due to trend such as virtualization, consolidation, and cloud computing. Many companies are increasing their investments in data center space due to the rising use of online streaming media, online gaming, high-performance computing, and other services. Increasing needs for data storage and physical space constraints have shifted technology toward servers that have greater storage capacity but with the same or lesser foot print. Blade servers are a highly space-efficient alternative to conventional rack servers. However, blade servers have high power requirements and dissipate a lot of heat.
Due to rising costs in data centers and increasing environmental consciousness, data center operators are making efforts to increase energy efficiency and reduce the impact on the environment. This effort is driving data center operators to buy systems with higher energy efficiencies. Collocation and managed hosting services are forcing data center operators to invest in reliable backup power. Likewise, most critical applications are also driving the need for higher redundancy, which also drives the demand for backup power systems. Electricity is the highest operating cost of a data center at 20-25% followed by engineering and installation and power equipment combined at 17-19%. Space and service are also contributors to the overall infrastructure cost in a data center at 15-17% and 13-15% respectively.
The AC data center market represents buoyant growth conditions and growths in vertical segments are expected to keep demand sustained over the next decade. The market for AC data centers continues to be a highly opportunistic with the market estimated at $25 billion in 2012. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.0% for the forecast period from 2012 to 2017. The data center market hold opportunities for all solution providers. Efforts are being gradually shifted from traditional growing markets such as North America and EMEA to Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Newer data center servers, blade servers, cloud servers and a wealth of space-saving and data-preserving methods are being implemented. The small data center market has generated the most revenues due to the flexibility for scaling as well as the ability to spend more easily on the low power networks. Medium data centers are gaining momentum as the power requirements of servers continue to increase significantly. Large data centers with large systems have very few competitors, because of very few traditional products designed in the higher power range. Most end-users and suppliers are adopting an approach combining pre-consultations and integrated design to adopt solutions that could positively impact the total cost of ownership. Latin America is fast emerging as a data center hotspot with several key corporations announcing their data center expansion into the region.
To conclude the data center environment is witnessing several dynamic shifts from the basic concept of servers. The current interest in cloud servers is expected to drive growth in this market. The concept of internal cloud servers has gained significant attention. Some companies have implemented the concept along with the creation of satellite clones to protect data in the case of any failure. Packing more power into blade servers has increased the power requirements of servers. Increased collocation is driving growth in the EMEA market for data centers. Trend is shifting from medium to large as companies are increasing their presence in the large data center segment. Rapid growth of IT equipment accounts for a high percentage of energy use in data centers. Central and Eastern Europe are areas of opportunity as many countries are positioning themselves to invite large multinational companies to set up their facilities. Africa is also considered an opportunistic market. Growth in Asia Pacific region is expected to sustain the global growth of data centers due to the historical trend witnessed on data center build outs in this region. Several markets in this region are opening up their economies with the strong recovery witnessed among the Pacific countries. In Latin America growth expectation is high with key growth regions being Brazil and Argentina. In cloud computing, Latin America is experiencing an increase in the demand, which requires more from server capacity. Higher data center demand will push for more energy efficiency.
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.
Growing concerns about climate change, increasing fuel costs and developments in battery technology is likely to result in an increase in demand of hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and electric vehicles (EV). For the past couple of years the focus has been on developing GREEN and CLEAN vehicles.
The global market for Lithium-ion battery for HEV and EV is likely to be $12 to $15 billion in 2015. HEV & EV will be powered by Lithium-ion due to its features such as high energy density, high power density, safety, cost and life. Manufacturing of Lithium-ion cells is currently dominated by Japanese, Chinese and South Korean vendors. These companies operate in North America and Europe through strategic partnerships and subsidiaries.
As the Lithium-ion battery market for automotive applications is emerging, there is tough competition among the cell manufacturers, battery module integrators, and vehicle manufacturers. This has resulted in an increase in strategic partnerships and joint ventures among vendors, such as Ford with Magna (vehicle manufacturer with battery manufacturer), Johnson Controls with Saft (to promote Lithium-ion battery), Nissan & NEC (AESC), among others.
Figure 1 shows roadmap of battery technologies
Figure 2 shows the roadmap of lithium-ion chemistries
Governments around the world are offering incentives such as congestion charging exemption, rebates in road tax among other forms of tax to electric and hybrid car owners. Such incentives increases the attractiveness of HEV and EV, thereby creating a demand for them, which directly drives the demand for lithium-ion batteries. Similarly, the funding allotted in the U.S. Economic Stimulus Bill to develop the most suitable battery for these green cars encourages battery manufacturers. Installation of charging stations for EVs and PHEVs will support their volume growth, which is likely to have a direct impact on the demand of batteries. Many European countries such as the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, among others are involved in developing adequate number of charging stations that could enable the EV and PHEV users to charge their vehicles through parking at the charging station. Similarly, the U.S. is also planning to speed up the process of building these charging stations.
Efforts by consortiums such as Project Better Place, United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), and the like promote the usage of EVs and HEVs. For example, these consortiums support the battery leasing model for reducing the initial and maintenance cost of batteries. These organizations have proposed standardization of battery packs to facilitate easy swapping of dead batteries at the service stations. These efforts are likely to enforce transparency and standardization of the HEV and EV battery market.
The overall battery cost forms a major portion of the cost of a EV; however, with new business models such as battery leasing, battery cost is removed from the equation and replaced by a relatively smaller premium. Such business models make EVs more attractive and, hence, drive the need for them, thereby resulting in the demand for Li-ion batteries. The battery leasing model is likely to gain high market appeal, as the maintenance of these batteries is also done by the leasing company. Hence, the operation cost is also reduced.
Cost of lithium used for producing the cathode and electrolyte is low when compared to that of nickel. In addition, about 3-6kg of nickel is required per kWh battery capacity in existing HEVs, whereas only 1-1.2kg of lithium is required per kWh battery capacity for advanced HEVs. Therefore, large-scale manufacturing of Li-ion is expected to reduce the cost of batteries to a large extent. The battery cost is expected to reduce up to half when the manufacturing volumes reach more than 10 million packs per year.
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