Best Practices for Data Center Power Systems

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Data center power systems present unique challenges for the application of electrical equipment. These challenges, such as multiple operating modes, must be carefully implemented if the desired system performance under normal and abnormal conditions is to be achieved. This white paper from Schneider Electric describes the challenges that a typical data center presents to the system study engineer, common pitfalls that must be avoided, and describes how a well-performed system study is crucial to the successful performance of a data center power system.

Data center power systems offer special challenges to the study engineer and the design engineer. The selection and arrangement of the components in the power system significantly affect the arc flash study outcome. Design practices that used to be common (infinite bus short circuit calculation, large PDU transformers, etc) are not conducive to controlling arc flash energies.

Arc flash mitigation must be designed into the data center power system at the concept stage. Additionally, due to the various operating scenarios, data center power system studies require an extra level of diligence of the study engineer. While it is possible to perform power system studies utilizing hand calculations, the complexities of data center power systems would tend to make these calculations tedious at best. One best practice is to select a study team that has sufficient resources to evaluate the system parameters completely and accurately, and invests the necessary effort to acquire a reasonable compromise between selectivity (reliability) and arc flash energies.

A power system study is an extremely important document for any power system. Today even the smallest power systems are having power system studies performed to comply with more stringent codes and regulations. To learn more best practices on short-circuit coordination, and Arc-Flash studies for data centers download this white paper from Schneider Electric.

About the Author

Kevin Normandeau, is a veteran of the technology publishing industry having worked at a variety of technology sites including PC World; AOL Computing; Network World; Geek.com and International Data Group (IDG). Kevin lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two sons. When he is not in front of the computer (which is most of the time) he likes to get out to ski, hike and mountain bike.

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