A lot of large enterprise data centers have made the transition to slab floors, moving away from raised floors and perforated tiles. Overhead air distribution is in vogue, and our columnist Chuck Goolsbee laid out the case for slab floors back in ’07: Data center raised floor vs. solid debate.
But Kennedy said companies that are building data centers on slab floors typically have a very specific hardware deployment pattern in place. “They have a set model that will last ten years, and then they build another data center. They stay right on the bleeding edge,” Kennedy said. “But raised floor shines from a flexibility standpoint — you’re able to reconfigure a site on a long-term basis. You think you know what your data center will look like next year, but if you need it to last longer, you need to be able to make changes.
“If your IT density increases too much for under-floor cooling, the raised floor makes an excellent place to run chilled water. People couldn’t have predicted row based cooling systems or chilled water doors, but obviously we’ve got those in the market now. Who knows what the next 15 years will hold? If you’re trying to get the most life out of a building that you can, the raised floor will give you flexibility.”
But what about equipment density outweighing the floor rating? Kennedy said it’s a myth. The solid tiles are rated to 3,000 pounds, and a typical rack takes up two panels, so a blade chassis would need to go near 6,000 pounds before it stressed the raised floor.
Kennedy said Tate has never run into a user that hasn’t been able to put data center equipment on the raised floor because it was too heavy. He said it’s difficult to find a rack that weighs 3,000 pounds.
The three new Tate raised floor products include:
-A directional airflow grate that can angle airflow directly into the rack face, instead of blowing air 90-degrees straight up in a vertical column. Kennedy said around 50% of the air in a standard grate bypasses the rack altogether. “You spend a lot of money moving that air around, better to put it into the IT equipment if you can.”
-Tate also rolled out a damper system called SmartAire, which helps balance static pressure under the floor. In a heterogeneous data center, racks are going to require varying amounts of airflow, and that demand may shift throughout the day. The dampers can restrict airflow on lower density racks and increase airflow in a higher density spots, using on electronic sensors at the rack.
-PowerAire is the third product, a variable speed fan that throttles up and down based on temperatures at the face of the rack. The product is meant to deal with varying cooling requirements throughout the day, and to make sure that high density deployments, like blade servers, get the airflow they need.
Kennedy said these kinds of products have been commercial office space for thirty years. “Office cooling loads are variable, people go out to lunch and open windows,” he said. “You didn’t have that much variability on the data center side until more recently. The commercial office space went through this change in the 70s and 80s. The data center is still catching up from a technological standpoint.”
Check out our tip on keeping under the raised floor clean.
Are raised floors going away any time soon? Weigh in on Twitter by replying @DataCenterTT.]]>
This could be construed as damage control – or clever timing — on the social network giant’s part amid Greenpeace jumping down their throats when the company announced early this year the building of a Prineville, Ore., data center in a part of Oregon served by PacifiCorp coal power.
The report, posted on the network yesterday by Jay Park, Director of Data Center Engineering at Facebook, mentions that the company has learned a thing or two about data center energy efficiency with its rapidly expanding footprint, and because of it, its data centers are now reaping the benefits. Facebook claims that one of its data centers saves about 2.5 million kW hours annually, translating to an annual cost savings of $230,000. Environmental concerns taken into consideration, Facebook has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 967 metric tons annually.
To garner the savings, using this particular data center as a model, Facebook said it’s improving airflow distribution by rolling out cold-aisle containment. In addition, the company is reducing cooling levels by reducing the unnecessary speeds it server fans were spinning at while still keeping temperatures within the recommended data center range. It also shut down 15 CRAH units as it discovered that they were not needed. Finally, Facebook has increased energy efficiency by raising the set point temperature of CRAH units while maintaining uniform temps in the cold aisles. The company also raised the chilled water temperature from 44 to 52F, which reduced the chilled water system load by 171 tons per hour.
While Facebook mentioned all of these energy efficiency strategies of this particular data center, it wasn’t clear if this was in reference to its Prineville data center. A recent interview with two Facebook execs, however, did tackle the coal concerns in its Oregon location, and one exec mentioned that the company would be working with PacifiCorp on becoming more reliant on renewable energy. It certainly is noteworthy, though, that Facebook released its data center energy efficiency strategy yesterday and didn’t use it as an opportunity to discuss renewable forms of energy and tackle the Greenpeace concerns head on. So for the moment, the company still seems to be betting on coal with its Oregon data center.
The full report on Facebook’s data center energy efficiency can be found here. Facebook has also set up a fan page of its new Prineville data center, which is set to open in the first quarter of 2011. Sound off @datacenterTT on whether you think Facebook is tackling energy efficiency effectively enough.]]>
APC/Schneider Electric’s PowerChute Business Edition 9.0
APC rolled out new UPS software to provide energy reporting for IT equipment.
PowerChute 9.0 works with the APC Smart-UPS device series and calculates the cost of Smart-UPS’ power usage in kWh, enabling the user to see, via the LCD screen of the Smart-UPS, how the energy use of the protected equipment is affecting data center costs. In other words, on the UPS, the admin can see energy being consumed, the cost of the energy and CO2 being produced by the server equipment.
When PowerChute is used with the Smart-UPS, admins can also configure exact sequences of equipment shutdowns and restarts so the critical servers can be online longer, allowing for greater flexibility. IT managers can also power down non-critical equipment to conserve runtime.
PowerChute Business Edition 9.0 currently ships with the Smart-UPS 5kVA and you can also download it.
Eaton’s BladeUPS Preassambled System
Eaton Corporation just launched a UPS solution designed for consolidating standalone UPS units.
The BladeUPS Preassembled System combines UPSs to simplify management of the devices and power capacity planning, and can be ordered with two-to-six Eaton BladeUPS units installed. The preassembled system comes with UPS modules and batteries installed in 42U of space, and the necessary internal system wiring and communication cards. The BladeUPS modules within expand power protection from 12 kW to 60 kW in a 19-inch rack. In addition to energy and cooling cost savings it provides, Eaton says that since all UPS modules are preinstalled in the system enclosure, admins can save up to seven percent on installation costs compared to purchasing a bunch of separate components.
The full announcement can be found here, and you can find out more about the product itself on Eaton’s website.
Shown below is the BladeUPS Preassembled System.
According to IT professionals surveyed in the report, 65% of respondents cited UPS battery failure as the biggest cause of data center downtime, with UPS capacity (53%) and human error (51%) clocking in as the next largest culprits.
Over half of the respondents felt that downtime could have been prevented, but only 37% believed that there are enough resources to bring their data centers up to speed after an unplanned outage, while only 42% felt that senior management was on board with their efforts to prevent and manage outages.
The report looked at responses from over 450 IT pros involved in data center operations, and is the first in a two-part series from Emerson. You can check out a .pdf of the full survey results.
Data center design expert Julius Neudorfer, CTO and founder of North American Access Technologies, in an e-mail to SearchDataCenter.com, said that the number of unplanned outages seemed high, considering the size of the data centers participating in the survey.
“The survey indicated that the average occurrence of a ‘complete data center outage’ was 2.48 times over a two-year period, with even the largest data centers at 20,000 square-feet and above having a total failure 1.75 times per two years. These are quite high downtime numbers considering the sizes of the data centers that were surveyed,” said Neudorfer. ”I have found that these types of failures are usually associated with the smaller (2,500 SF or less) tier one type of data centers, which have limited or no power redundancy.”
Looking for ways to avoid UPS downtime? Check out these tips from SearchDataCenter.com:
Uninterruptible power supply load bus synchronization: Yes or no?
Will a transformerless UPS work for your data center?
How to choose the right uninterruptible power supply for your data center
Using flywheel power for data center uninterruptible power supply backup
Preventing a data center power outage
Do the survey findings on unplanned downtime ring true in your data center? Weigh in @datacenterTT on Twitter.
While Emerson’s data center planner Aperture is already on the market, a company spokesperson explained that what sets Avocent apart is that it is designed for monitoring smaller data center environments, and is especially adept at managing rack level capacity and provisioning at this smaller scale. Aperture, on the other hand, is best for bigger or multiple data centers.
Avocent provides information on where equipment is located, its current capacity and a timeline of projected growth. Because of this visual interface that forecasts data center growth, including how rack capacity could fluctuate with changes over time, IT managers will be able to improve energy efficiencies of their data centers more effectively, according to Emerson.
Features of the Avocent Data Center Planner include an enhanced drag-and-drop interface, and planning features that include the ability to view multiple plans from a single screen. In addition, the interface updates graphics as equipment is installed or moved around within the infrastructure. Also on the interface, IT managers can view the assets currently in production via on-demand access to asset information. The single repository also eliminates the need for system audits.
The product is available now. You can view more on the Avocent line of products on its website.
Included below is a screenshot of the rack timeline feature which shows rack capacity changes over time:
Coors said European data center demand is booming, as he’s working on three projects in London, as well as projects in Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt, Switzerland.
“It looks like the growth never stops,” Coors said. “We’re filling up the data centers fairly quickly still. We’re slowing down a little, but not much. I think everyone is surprised.”
Interxion, like many colo providers in the U.S., is building out capacity modularly, chopping up facilities into self-contained blocks to be as efficient with space and energy as possible.
Interxion is also deploying some new technologies from European partners to do that more efficiently and he gave a few examples.
One product is a new centrifugal chiller designed by Turbocor. Coors said the product has been on the market for three years now and is out of the teething period. The Turbocor chillers are designed to be extremely efficient, especially at partial load — an important feature for an organization that’s ramping up IT demand.
Coors is deploying another technology to help improve efficiency in a partially loaded environment Automatic Floor Pressurisation System (AFPS) from Uniflair, which helps Interexion keep adequate cooling on the servers without wasting cooling capacity if the room isn’t built out to full load.
Lastly, Interxion is using adiabatic cooling, a method that uses less water than other evaporative cooling methods like cooling towers, and is less energy intensive than mechanical cooling. Coors said he is using Transtherm Adiabatic Coolers. The units spray a fine mist across cooling coils evaporating and cooling the air inlet stream.
I asked Coors if he had any concern about risks involved with using cutting edge data center infrastructure technologies, and he said that Interxion had partnered with some of these companies for years, and in fact played a role in how some of the products were developed, and that kind of relationship can help you out if/when his organization ever needs product support.]]>
Upsite Technologies is owned by Ken Brill, Uptime Institute founder. The 451 Group acquired The Uptime Institute and its professional consulting arm (formerly Computer Site Engineering, now Uptime Professional Services) one year ago, but Brill maintained ownership of Upsite Technologies.
The services, dubbed EnergyLok, will offer data center managers diagnostic, analytic, consultative, and remediation services to solve airflow inefficiencies in the data center. The engineering team will be headed up by Lars Strong, a longtime contributor to the Institute’s industry research.]]>
The UPS systems can provide up to 8400 W of capacity while taking up a small amount of rack space – 8 U to be excact. Features included with the UPS include 208/240 V and 120 V output compatibility, an included detachable PDU with manual bypass that enables hot-swap UPS replacement with no downtime to the power connected to the equipment, an optional Economy Mode that reduces energy output and expandable runtime with optional external battery packs.
You can check out more on the new UPS systems, including product specs and images, on Tripp Lite’s website.
Image courtesy of Tripp Lite: