46 ELECTRICALCONTRACTOR | SEP. 14 | WWW.ECMAG.COM
“Trends in data center design are constantly evolving,” said Harry Handlin,
director of critical power applications
for GE’s Critical Power business, Dallas.
He said data centers were traditionally
designed for reliability, rather than for
efficiency. Recently, however, data center
designs are focusing on both.
“Combining design criteria, such as
power-usage effectiveness [PUE] and reliability levels based on the Uptime Institute’s
tier levels, is now common,” he said.
The market’s evolving design trends
demonstrate that reliability does not have
to be sacrificed to build more efficient data
centers. For example, data center
owners are considering operating
at a slightly higher ambient temperature, according to Ed Spears,
technical product marketing manager for Eaton Corp., Cleveland.
“There’s a direct correlation
between each degree of operating
temperature and energy savings,”
If operating temperatures
are allowed to go as high as 85
degrees, all the equipment operating in the data center, including
traditional battery-energy storage, must be able to work reliably
at those higher temperatures.
“The one condition that shortens battery life significantly is
temperature,” said Frank DeLattre, president of Vycon, a Los
Angeles manufacturer of flywheel energy-storage systems. “For
every 10-degree rise in operating temperature in which a valve-regulated lead acid [VRLA] battery is operated, a reduction of
50 percent of normal life is seen.”
Since data centers can use multiple megawatts of energy
storage, the center designer must either incorporate the special cooling needs of the batteries or use an alternative type of
energy, such as a high-speed flywheel system.
“These systems are designed to work in operating temperatures of up to 104 degrees without affecting the performance
or the life of the energy storage,” DeLattre said.
Data centers are also moving toward mixed-tier environments and choosing not to use the overpoweringly expensive
power equipment required for Tier III or IV system design.
“Rather,” Spears said, “these critical-mission data centers
are migrating toward using virtualization techniques that
enable them to electronically move critical work from one loca-
tion to another, reducing the need for the highest tier design.”
In addition, the industry is seeing a con-
tinued trend toward modular power, a sort
of pay-as-you-go system.
“Modular power systems help keep the
data center from over-provisioning and help
control scalability,” he said.
From the electrical contractor’s perspective, the modular approach enables the
company to learn how to install a module
once, then repeat the process quickly and
safely as the system is scaled.
According to Jim Hughes, national
sales manager for Mitsubishi Electric
“The industry is also showing
interest in the development of
hybrid economy mode operation,
which does not shut off those
portions of the UPS that are not
in use and elevates both efficiency
and reliability,” Hughes said.
The heat that computers and servers generate makes data
centers naturally very inefficient and causes electricity consumption to be the most expensive aspect of the operation.
“The best place to find improved efficiencies is in the heating and cooling sphere as the majority of power loss occurs in
HVAC,” Hughes said.
This is an opportunity to devise new data center design strategies with a special focus on modular design, which enables
designers to better size the necessary equipment for the space
and make more efficient use of the HVAC and power systems.
According to Handlin, data centers can also use less
energy if the mechanical and electrical infrastructure, the IT
equipment, and the server software are all energy efficient.
“It’s vital for the data center to have a high utilization rate
of the IT equipment, including server capacity, network and
storage,” he said.
> FOCUS TAMING THE ENERGY HOGS
← Continued from page 44
Continued on page 48 →
“The one condition that
shortens battery life
significantly is temperature.
For every 10-degree rise in
operating temperature in which
a valve-regulated lead acid
battery is operated, a reduction
of 50 percent
of normal life is seen.”
—Frank DeLattre, Vycon