How to Adapt to Increased Data Center Power Demand
As our reliance on the internet increases, so too does the demands placed on data centers. The global growth of the data center industry is not showing any signs of slowing down, with DCD Intelligence predicting the industry will be worth $6.3billion in 2020, compared with $1.7billion in 2015.
This increase in demand for power is putting a strain on the data center engineers who are faced with the challenge of delivering more power within tight space constraints. Data center engineers are developing creative processes to tackle the increasing power demand by creating higher rack densities to aid in future planning. Modular designs are being implemented at an increasing rate and the capacity for future growth must be at the forefront of a sound data center strategy.
Data centers have had to adapt to this increasing power demand by implementing some of the following changes:
▶︎ Use space logically
Planning your data center design guarantees that the usage of space is done in the most efficient way and avoids the over-utilization of power and cooling. Larger data centers may divide their facility into four Performance Optimised Data Centers (PODs), each with the capacity for approximately 270 cabinets or 7,500 servers. When one singular POD has reached 89-90% capacity another POD is opened to help meet the power quota needed. This guarantees that only the exact sections of the data center that need power are utilized and ensures that maximum efficiency is achieved on a shorter time scale. POD’s can evolve and be scaled to increase data center capacity when the power requirement arises.
▶︎Use existing structures as opposed to a complete rebuild
The challenge of meeting increased power demand can be met by the ‘re-use’ of existing structures i.e. using existing building shells as opposed to complete demolition and rebuild. This can greatly reduce construction time and costs. In many cases demolition of a current structure is only necessary if there is a functional or environmental reason.
▶︎ Applying successful cooling methods to your data center equipment
The process of cooling a data center accounts for up to 40% of the total energy costs, therefore a more effective cooling strategy will amount to a substantial reduction in power consumption. Taking advantage of natural environments and decreasing the effect of direct sunlight on the white space can reduce the amount of equipment necessary to provide adequate cooling of equipment. Methods for more effective cooling include moving of cooling systems closer to the load, water or refrigerant liquid-based cooling and evaluating the availability of free cooling from outside the data center.
▶︎ Automated energy management systems
A building management system with an integrated energy management system delivers an optimized interface which can provide information on a range of systems including fire suppression, cooling, electrical systems and security systems. Implementation of an automated energy management system allows data center managers to closely monitor data center power consumption from a single screen and enables proactive planning to meet current and future power demands.
The growing concern around increased power demands has forced data centers to adapt and make changes to their current facilities. Data centers can successfully meet these power demands with efficient space utilization, cooling methods, resourceful use of existing facilities and automated energy management.