Keysource Delivers New Modular Data Centre for Jaguar Land Rover

Keysource, the data centre and design build specialist, has announced that it has completed the prestigious data centre for Jaguar Land Rover’s new Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton.

Due to the use of best in class modular design and Keysource’s expertise, the 1100 square feet data centre, which was commissioned in January 2015, has been successfully completed on time and within budget.

Andy Hayes, Director, Keysource explained,

Using a modular design means that the bulk of production and preparation can be done off site which reduces costs and saves time. Typically a project of this nature would take at least 12 months to complete but using modular designs reduced this by two thirds. Along with our cooling efficiency design measures, we see this modular approach as a template for future data centres.

As planned the core datacentre module houses 30 racks with a capacity of 320Kw. It provides critical power through an N+1 UPS system and 2N standby diesel generators. The power module designed and built off-site also offers scalability to support future expansion.

Cooling efficiency has been a key specification for this project and variable speed controlled fans have been positioned so that hot and cold air are separated via the wall rather than under the floor and this has resulted in the desired achievement of PUEL2YC of better than 1.2*

To PUE or not to PUE (That is the Question!) What is it and why is it useful?

For a few years now the data centre industry has been moving towards a standard measure of effectiveness for the use of power within data centres.  Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), whilst not yet a globally agreed measure is fast becoming the standard and formalising the calculation is well underway. But what is it and why should you bother?

PUE allows organisations and enterprises to gather data, measure and report the effectiveness of their data centre, or indeed data room, in terms of power use.

In simple terms, PUE is,

Total Energy Used in the Facility
Energy Used by the IT Equipment

For smaller organisations or facilities that are located within a larger mixed-use space, Partial PUE (pPUE) can be used. This allows the data centre manager to measure PUE within a set boundary such as a room or building, or an area such as the equipment owned by certain customers or departments.  For example, you may want to measure the pPUE of individual data halls, rather than the facility as a whole.

The difficulty for many businesses is the availability of the data and information required. Whilst assumptions can be made and data captured at different points it does mean that comparing PUE or pPUE across market sectors is difficult. However the real value of PUE isn’t the creation of a global league table and winners awards, but more importantly PUE gives anyone with one or more data centres or data rooms the ability to measure and compare the effective use of power over time and across the business. (There are a wide range of intelligent monitoring solutions available for data centres, you can see some of the ones we offer by clicking on the link and keep an eye out for our upcoming blog post on the “5 things you need to know about DCIM”)

PUE gives everyone the ability to measure and improve the use of power in their data centres.

So what should be included in each group for the calculation?
Total Energy Used by the Facility

Plus the IT equipment listed below

Energy Used by the IT Equipment

Whilst the Total Energy Used by the Facility can often be gathered at source from the utility meter supplying the facility, or a meter just prior to the data room (for pPUE), the data collected regarding the Energy Used by the IT Equipment will be more accurate the closer the source of the information is to the individual units that consume the power. For example, gathering power usage from the installed UPS units is not as accurate as the information available from the subsequent Power Distribution Units (PDUs), which in turn is not as accurate as the data gathered from individual meters immediately prior to the IT Equipment.

PUE and pPUE account for this within the standard definition by allowing 3 variations, PUE1, 2 and 3, with PUE3 being the most accurate. There is also three different reporting frequencies; Yearly (Y), Monthly (M) or Weekly (W) with each denoting what period the data has been averaged over. On top of this you then have the data collection frequency; Monthly, Weekly, Daily or Continuously. So a PUEL3YC (which is the standard measurement we use at Keysource) would be a measurement from PDU level on a continuous basis. 

World Class PUE

Given the lack of consistency in measurements and environments it is not valid to quote a ‘world class PUE’, however it is generally accepted that a PUE of 2 or less is considered good and less than 1.4 is considered very good. A PUE of 1 means that 100% of the energy is used by the IT Equipment and therefore the physical data centre is 100% efficient, a PUE of 2 or less would mean that 50% or more of the power used by the data centre is used by the IT Equipment and so on.

There are so many factors that effect the efficiency of data centres that “snap shot” PUE figures can be misleading.  For example:

Because of this, continuous reporting and monitoring is the recommended way of tracking PUE, by not only Keysource but also The Green Grid; who developed the metric in the first place.

As touched upon it is also important to take into account the different environmental conditions of different regions. As such, PUE levels cannot be compared across regions because a higher PUE in one region might be relatively better than a PUE in another region but we will look at this in more detail in another post.

Remember, the key is consistency, define your measure, data sources and frequencies and stick with them. 

Design PUE or the PUE of new facilities

When a customer wanting a new facility designed and/or built approaches Keysource, they often have an idea of the PUE they want to achieve and a design is developed to meet this business need whilst also meeting the technical requirements.  However as this is a theoretical figure (admittedly based on some very complex mathematics!), how can you, as the customer, be sure that this is what you will be able to achieve and what if anything should you be aware of?  Find out more in our next blog looking at PUE.

Keysource is nominated for another data centre award!

The Keysource team is delighted after being nominated for another top industry award. We have been shortlisted in the Enterprise End User Innovation category at the Data Centre and Cloud Awards in recognition of our chillerless indirect fresh air cooling solution – ecofris.

All eyes will fall upon Monaco on the evening of June 2nd for the awards ceremony ahead of the Datacloud Europe, Global Congress & Exhibition which kicks-off the following day. Now in their eighth year, the Data Centre and Cloud Awards are designed to showcase “best in class services and innovation” and we look forward to digging out our tuxedos and ballgowns for an evening’s entertainment in the millionaire’s playground.

Commenting on the event, Gerd J Simon, chairman of the judges panel, said:

We have received an outstanding range of nominations and the winners will be presented before an audience of more than 400 people to recognise the best in this increasingly challenging and competitive industry.

So far this year Keysource has already been granted a RoSPA Award and crowned winner of the inaugural Sussex Super Growth Awards based on the company’s 135% growth performance over the last three years. We will keep our fingers crossed and let you know how we get on!

Design, build and beyond

Developing an effective data centre is not simply about getting the design right, but also the ongoing management to optimise the facility. Data centre facilities management (DCFM) has traditionally been about planned servicing and maintenance, but in recent years the role is now changing with greater focus on operational performance and proactive management. As a result, there is now the opportunity to achieve greater efficiency, utilisation and resilience to better meet precise business needs.

The challenge for data centre facilities management is to identify where the opportunities for improvement exist and have the tools and therefore confidence to implement changes that will boost performance. Supported by simple and effective processes and procedures they can significantly reduce human error and manage a data centre better, maximising uptime and delivering real business benefit.

The Green Grid’s PUE seen as preferred industry metric

The Green Grid announced on 15th July that the Power Usage Effectiveness metric, which it published in 2007, has now achieved industry alignment specific to recommendations on how to measure PUE in dedicated data centre facilities.

The organization’s report, “Recommendations for Measuring and Reporting Overall Data Centre Efficiency – Version 1 – Measuring PUE at Dedicated Data Centres,” documents the combined recommendation of The Green Grid in collaboration with 7×24 Exchange, ASHRAE, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, U.S. Department of Energy Save Energy Now Program, US Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Program, United States Green Building Council, and Uptime Institute.

“Driving industry alignment of PUE through consistent measurement and reporting processes represents a significant step in improving data center energy efficiency,” says Dan Azevedo, Symantec representative and Board member of The Green Grid. “The guidance specific to calculating PUE for data centers that use multiple energy sources (electric, natural gas, water, etc.) is substantial to ensuring PUE is measured and reported equitably. This task force is working to drive clear, consistent recommendations with a single voice”

Keysource says; Keysource were one of the first UK companies to sign up to become a member of the Green Grid in March 2007. Keysource appreciated this metric because of its simplicity; the metric identifies data centre infrastructure efficiency by comparing the total amount of energy consumed by the data centre to the total amount of energy consumed by the IT equipment.Ongoing measurement and fine tuning is the key. There is no question that the correct approach to energy reduction is to start measuring and establishing a ‘baseline and track performance’.  The PUE metric is a great starting point and easy to understand, however to truly uncover the potential savings, companies need to establish a robust, ongoing energy reduction programme. 

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