DC Power Options in Data Centers Debated

Data centers can save on their electric bill by running servers on DC power, but the technology is too new for some data center operators.

Rich Miller

November 10, 2005

1 Min Read
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Search DataCenter has published the final in its series of articles on power-saving technologies in the data center. Among them is a DC-powered server serup, in which the power supply is housed in the rack rather than the server itself. The article has prompted a discussion on Slashdot as well.
The two sides to the debate over DC power are summarized by a quote from Bob Doherty, data center manager at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston:

"Research facilities, scientific environments - places with more engineering expertise than the average data center - are having success," Doherty said. "It's been said that DC power will save 25% to 50% off my bill, and that's really intriguing, especially since my electric company just announced a 27% increase in price. But I'm fearful [of DC systems] from the standpoint of outages. Are you going to hire a DC power engineer to help me with this system? Now I have a totally new environment - I have no one to turn to, and that would scare the hell out of me."

And you know how much data center managers like uncertainty and surprises.

It sounds as though the technology has promise, and energy costs will continue to be an issue for the near future, so it makes sense that the DC power options discussed in the story will become more widely supported. That will make these appraoches more palatable to facility planners and managers, who must deal with managing risk as well as managing cost.

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