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‘Optimisation’ Services Addresses Mismatch between Power, Cooling and IT Load, Helping Reduce Energy Costs

9th, December 2015

Power, Cooling & IT Load Mismatch – Manufacturers of data centre power and cooling technology continue to strive to implement energy efficiency improvements through a combination of lower energy subsystem components combined with improved control.

In an ideal world these technological improvements should automatically enable the power and cooling infrastructure to dynamically match the IT demands without human intervention. However, due to the combination of historical equipment, ineffective deployments and poor configuration selections, more often than not there is a significant mismatch between the data centre infrastructure and IT load. Any mismatch typically leads to overcapacity which in turn will result in an increase in power consumption.

Addressing Power, Cooling & IT Load Mismatch – In order to address any mismatch between power, cooling and IT load it is recommended that data centre managers undertake regular ‘Optimisation’ exercises. Optimisation is normally performed by data centre engineers with expert knowledge of power, cooling, airflow and system configuration aspects of data centre infrastructure. By understanding the existing power, cooling and airflow arrangements, and understanding the dynamics of the current IT load, it is possible to develop and implement a range recommendations and configuration changes that will help optimise the energy efficiency of the facility.

A cloud computing data centre that was commissioned to support a 600kW IT load is a good example of where optimisation services can help reduce operational costs. During the first year of deployment the load was;

  • Modifications to chilled water flow temperature (reduction by 2c) increasing free cooling period and reducing compressor power.
  • Balancing of chilled water based CRAC units reducing fan power.
  • Turning off unrequired container heaters.
  • Implementing Eco-mode to AC systems supporting UPS rooms.
  • Reconfiguration of N+1/Standby UPS into Eco Mode.

The above modifications resulted in a reduction of the power by 28kW reducing the PUE to 1.29. It was deduced that further improvement could not be made unless the IT load was increased therefore improving efficiency of compressors and UPS systems. The ‘Optimisation’ exercise helped reduce the energy bill for the client by a total of £25,000 per annum.

Continuous Change – When step changes are made to either power, cooling or to the IT load, it is possible that they will have a negative impact on the prevailing efficiency of the facility. Until such a time that power and cooling infrastructure is truly dynamic, which is the ultimate goal of manufactures and data centre design & build companies, it is recommended that a continuous regime of data centre ‘Optimisation’ engagements are implemented to ensure that the data centre energy efficiency is operating at its peak relative to the IT load.

Summary – The optimisation scenario detailed in the example above is typical and similar results can achieved in data centres right across the UK. By investing relative modest sums* on data centre ‘Optimisation’ services, data centre operators can benefit from significant OPEX savings. Potential savings will of course depend on the scale, age and complexity of the data centre, but it can generally be assumed that you will save money in the longer term by implementing optimisation services.

* Typical Optimisation costs range from £1500 to £4000 ex VAT depending on complexity and scale.

Optimisation Services by Workspace Technology – Workspace Technology’s core business is the Design, Build & Management of Mission Critical & Data Centre environments. Workspace Technology offers data centre Optimisation as a standalone service or as part a comprehensive range of Mission Critical Facilities Maintenance which also includes traditional support, remote monitoring, site audits and site facilities engineers.

Martin Wall, Workspace Technology’s Head of Technical, commented “Workspace Technology’s Optimisation service can genuinely make a significant contribution to energy performance for the vast majority of data centre environments. It is surprising the amount of ‘simple to fix’ issues we encounter without looking too hard, examples include heaters left on, incorrect humidification set points and inappropriate temperature settings. Whilst of course it is not possible to 100% guarantee savings, especially where performance is already at or close to its peak, there is always value that our expert team can add.”

For more information contact roy.griffiths@workspace-technology.com or call 0121 354 4894.

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