Yann Morvan is the Director of Product Management at Legrand.
From Google glasses to Nest thermostats to Fitbit wristbands and beyond, the Internet of Things is here to stay and will drastically shape our digital economy for many years to come.
According to Cisco, there will be more than 5 billion connected devices worldwide by 2020 – a tsunami of data that all flows through data centers. Dealing with this exponential growth is no easy task, especially when planning today means keeping an eye 10 to 15 years into the future.
A data center solution that considers performance, time, space, sustainability and experience, is one that will be reliable, flexible to grow and efficient in many ways. Let’s demonstrate the value of those five key elements when assessing a newer technology such as refrigerant-based close-coupled cooling.
Key Elements at Work
Performance. Uptime, speed, latency … optimum performance ultimately comes from the quality of your structured cabling systems in copper and fiber working seamlessly with your switching, computing and storage gear. As such, protecting the cabling system is essential and can be managed through efficient cooling design along with adequate airflow management. Close-coupled cooling provides the shortest route between the heat source and the cooling, while leveraging the benefits of integrated cable management inside the cabinet. It can also give you the unique benefit of in-rack redundancy of 20 kW (kilowatts) N+1.
Time. Data centers are growing in size and complexity but often require faster deployment times. Consider also that 90 percent of active equipment will be replaced in five years or less. A modular solution offers scalability as it can be added when needed to support densities from 10 to 30 kW per rack in the same infrastructure. When co-engineered with the enclosure, the cooling solution can be easily installed, saving significant time, waste and packaging.
Space. Space is a premium in the data center. Optimizing computing power per square foot is only possible with higher cooling efficiency. With close-coupled cooling, you can now increase the density of your rack to 30 kW over time without changing the current setup of your infrastructure. Another trend is to grow vertically. Traditional racks and cabinets are 7 feet tall or 42RU. We can now see some 9 foot rack (up to 58 RU), offering 38 percent more space. Integrated cooling compatible with taller racks fully realize this benefit. It is now an option to reduce the dedicated cooling footprint in the white space by 90 percent by eliminating the need for CRACs.
Sustainability. Sustainability can mean many different things but at the end of the day, a data center manager has an increasing responsibility to look for solutions in order to lower impact on the environment (and reduce OPEX). One must take a comprehensive approach taking into account active and passive cooling, power distribution, airflow control, and physical support with cable management, to ensure optimal energy efficiency and performance. When integrated within the enclosure, close-coupled cooling provides a 95 percent reduction in annual power consumption versus traditional CRACs for equal cooling capacity, since it captures heat much closer to the source. Also consider local utility incentives as a result of significant efficiency gains.
Experience. Putting the pieces together can be very daunting. A data center build experience can be enhanced by selecting the right partner who will provide guaranteed performance, the ability to customize solutions and ensure that the solutions work seamlessly together. Evaluate a manufacturer with one point of contact who possesses the expertise with all the components of the overall solution, and can provide resources to help coordinate the project: from solution design to logistics and installation.
These five key elements are critical to obtain complete efficiency in data center design. As important as cooling is to your bottom line, you should carefully evaluate your connectivity and physical infrastructure solutions as well. When designed together, they should form a complete integrated data center. That “connected infrastructure” is the true value to meet the needs of today and tomorrow.
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