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Identifying Energy Efficiences: The Solution Lies in the Use of Data Centre Surveys

31st, July 2020

Not every underlying problem within a data centre can be seen by the naked eye. Unless you have superhero’ powers and have thermal imaging eyesight it is impossible to detect hot or cold points or see how the air is flowing through the data centre. It also takes a data centre specialist to analyse power loads and energy efficiencies accurately.

The solution lies in the use of Data Centre surveys. These are designed to identify unseen problems or faults on electrical and cooling equipment before they result in poor operational performance or cause expensive business downtime, damage, loss of data or risk from fire.

There is an array of specialist data centre surveys available which include:

Electrical Thermal Imaging Survey
The use of thermal imaging of electrical systems and equipment helps to identify unseen faults on electrical systems using specialist thermal imaging tools. Electrical Thermal Imaging or thermography is a non-contact temperature measurement technique which can see and measure temperature differences in a non-intrusive manner with the use of an Flir infrared thermal imaging camera.

Electrical circuits and components often fail because of fatigue, defective components, contamination, or just loose connections due to poor workmanship. Failing components have one thing in common, they will always have a rise in temperature or ‘hot spot’ prior to failure. Infrared thermal imaging cameras allow technicians to quickly identify anomalies before components fail.

Airflow Thermal Imaging Survey
Many data centre environments today are very high in ‘density’, using thermal imaging, problems can be identified before they become critical. The use of thermal photography of racks and aisles will help identify problems including hot spots, recirculation, and hot & cold air mixing.

An Airflow Thermal Imaging Data Centre Survey enables managers to identify problems with cooling capacity and airflow efficiency. A survey typically includes;
• Thermal imaging photos of each aisle and photographic images of each cabinet.
• Air velocity pressure survey (airflow through each 600×600 vented floor tile).
• Temperature and humidity check at low, medium, and high levels on each aisle.
• Flow & return temperature and humidity check on the air conditioning units.

Air Velocity Pressure Survey
An understanding of air velocity enables accurate identification of actual cold air flow rates within the cold aisles and its associated capacity throughout the room. The survey includes an airflow meter reading of each vented floor tile, enabling mapping of the exact areas of air distribution in the data centre.

A baseline on the current airflow and how effective the current cooling is within the existing environment will help show how aisle containment and airflow management could improve the A/C system efficiency, saving you money and reducing your carbon footprint.

Power Quality Survey
A Power Quality Survey provides a summary of the load, power factor and harmonic data findings. By implementing the recommendations, it will reduce energy bills, prolong life, and prevent premature failure of equipment.

It is designed to help;
• Identify and quantify harmonic related problems
• To investigate ‘flicker’, ‘sag’ and other phenomena
• Confirm electricity supply voltage levels
• To identify Power Factor levels
• Check loads before planned changes to distribution
• To record the data needed to assess G5/4-1 compliance

Depending on the specific site requirements a ‘snapshot’ survey can be completed. Other circumstances may require recording equipment to be left in place for a week or more.

Summary
Data Centre Surveys come with a price tag, but the benefits will outweigh the cost in the long term. By identifying problems sooner rather than later means the difference between cost effective remedial works or expensive equipment replacement and more worryingly devastating unplanned downtime.

For more information on data centre surveys contact the experts at Workspace Technology.

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