The next big step for data centre operators will be to consider removing the chillers altogether to achieve 100 per cent free cooling. However, this does pose a challenge for those facilities that use a direct fresh air approach because it is not only temperature rises that require the use of the mechanical cooling but also other events outside of operators’ control.
In contrast, with an in-direct solution which is optimised for efficient operation in all situations, we can consider removing the chiller. For the warmer hours of the day when temperatures rise above 24 degrees centigrade control systems can start to elevate the supply air temperatures within the data centre up from 22 degrees. With most servers able to operate at much higher temperatures and ASHRAE increasing the allowable limits this strategy could not only further reduce capex but also improve efficiency.
Modular data centres are evolving to address a wider range of business and operational requirements according to Rob Elder, Director of Keysource. Speaking at Data Centre World 2013 he explained that traditionally modular solutions had been developed to overcome construction and deployment challenges, but now there is an overwhelming demand for scalable facilities that also deliver high levels of performance, resilience and efficiency.
“The modular data centre is not a new concept, but the containerised and bespoke in a box type solutions we have seen in recent years tend to be for a very niche market and not particularly relevant for the wider data centre industry,” suggested Elder. “What we are now seeing is the introduction of standardised product-based solutions which are limited in how tailored they can be as well as solutions based on blue print designs that not only possess the simplicity of the modular approach but also the flexibility to be tailored to meet precise needs.”
Elder went on to explain that data centre owners and operators are looking to lower capital expenditure and minimise ongoing operating overheads in order to achieve a competitive total cost of ownership. He felt that a scalable solution enabled a data centre to deliver the right capacity only when needed keeping ongoing investment to a minimum. However, any facility still had to deliver in terms of performance, efficiency security, and management capability, so there are a number of considerations to ensure any new development is fit for purpose.
Probably the most significant design discussion point when considering a modular data centre is cooling. Most current solutions typically utilise fresh air cooling technology, which mostly achieve the level of efficiency owners and operators are looking for. However, as well as introducing a number of fundamental design considerations they can also significantly impact on uptime and create unnecessary risk. This is because legacy designs for chilled water systems especially those that have higher levels of availability have been expensive and difficult to design into scalable modular solutions, but this is where we are now seeing the marketplace going.
“Increasingly, we are seeing the need for scalable and standardised data centre coolingsolutions which do not use direct fresh air. This is why we have developed Ecofris which sits at the centre of our modular blueprint designs, providing a flexible building independent approach that can be tailored for specific business requirements. This means owners and operators can now benefit in terms of flexibility, cost efficiency and simplicity, but also achieve high levels of resilience and performance,” concludes Elder.
A growing number of European firms are reducing their costs and their carbon footprints by outsourcing their IT to data centres in Iceland, it has been claimed. A study conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers found that the running expenditure of a 10,000 sq ft data centre in the Nordic country over a 15 year period is $130 million (approx. £86 million) cheaper than in the UK.
Einar Hansen Tomasson, project manager for Invest in Iceland, a government body which aims to attract overseas investment in the country, points out that the biggest factor in data centre costs in the UK is cooling. However, in Iceland businesses can use free-air cooling systems all year round. In addition to that, Icelandic data centres are often powered by renewable energy sources, such as hydro and geothermal electricity.
Keysource says: Iceland certainly is an attractive proposition with the combination of the green and cheap energy supply with the low ambient temperatures. However, facilities that take advantage of the latest cooling technology can achieve data centre free cooling in the UK for all but a handful of hours each year, so this shouldn’t be the only consideration when choosing the location of a new facility.
Increasing demand for Getmapping data services has led to a move to a new data centre. The facility will not only supports greater performance but also has better green credentials. The latter has become an increasing concern for businesses and other organisations using online services, applications and data. As well as its own extensive aerial photography archive Getmapping hosts its own internet mapping applications and a complete range of Ordnance Survey professional mapping products together with the latest OS OpenData.
We have been hosting large datasets for over ten years now and as more of our business goes online the question of our environmental credentials has become increasingly important,” said Gavin Sullivan, Getmapping’s Technical Director.
Keysource says: This demonstrates that increasingly businesses are putting green credentials high on the agenda when selecting suppliers, which highlights the opportunity for companies to differentiate themselves by investing in efficient solutions.
In particular, we are seeing considerable demand from the co-location and IT hosting marketplace for data centres that are not only affordable and resilient, but also possess high levels of efficiency and performance. These organisations are taking advantage of our proven Ecofris cooling solution to minimise energy usage in order reduce emissions, so they can offer customers an industry-leading and environmentally responsible service.
Cooling server rooms and data centres is critical to maintaining a robust technical space and more importantly, it carries important implications for all areas of facility management. Keysource take this very seriously in their best practice service delivery.
Keysource’s solid expertise in managing clients’ server room cooling ensures that they show clients the full range of available options; balancing both rack power density and energy efficiency elements. To help understand server cooling, it’s important to grasp these three key points:
Contact data centre solutions specialists Keysource today for further advice.