Selecting the Right Data Center Design for Cost Savings

There is a sea of data center design guidelines and standards that IT leaders must wade through to select, build and implement the most effective and efficient data center. This monumental task is only compounded as IT leaders must also weigh risks to the business, such as downtime, plan for the initial capital cost and manage ongoing operational costs of the data center. (more…)

Top 5 Techniques for Improving Data Center Efficiencies

The latest Jurassic Park movie reminds us that there are still many dinosaur data centers operating today. It’s imperative that data centers modernize—not just to meet today’s demands but to exceed the expectations of the future.

By 2022, enterprise data centers will have five times more computational capabilities per kilowatt than today, according to Gartner. Data center technologies are evolving rapidly to newer levels of efficiency and demand continuous improvement. (more…)

Put the Brakes on Water-guzzling Data Centers with Aligned Energy

Learn to Save Water or Your Data Center May Tank

757 million liters. That’s about 2,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools–all full of crystal-clear, cool water. That’s how much freshwater a typical large, cloud data center complex with cooling towers used on average in 2017, even though fresh water is a dwindling and limited resource worldwide, especially in hot, dry areas of the globe. Clearly, data centers have a conservation challenge ahead of them.

Now, I’m sure you have heard the adage ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. So, it should come as no surprise that the industry has attempted to tackle this issue in a variety of waysbut unfortunately without much success – yet. Many of the solutions in recent years have certainly improved energy efficiency, but water usage remains high. Open cell towers are still way too commonplace for an industry that knows it has a water problem.

 And because Data Centers have this drinking problem, it is imperative the industry finds the most efficient and cost-effective solution regarding water usage – without sacrificing reliability. In short, low-water to no-water data centers are becoming a necessity for the market.  

 

Data Centers Wow Clients with Low WUEs

 First, what’s a WUE and why should you care? WUE stands for Water Usage Efficiency and it is just as important as the better known PUE (Power Efficiency Usage). The Green Grid Data Center Maturity Model (DCMM) sets standards for sustainability in several key areas including power, computing, storage, network, and yes water. They rate efficiency maturity levels on a scale from 1-5. If you are a 5, you can stop reading now…you have reached maximum efficiency. All others, keep reading.

Efficiency recommendations could include hot-aisle or cold-aisle containment to improve airflow management and reduce cooling loads, increasing the cold-aisle temperature set points, installing some form of economization to the cooling system, implementing data-center-wide monitoring and controls, conducting an energy efficiency audit, identifying and removing comatose/orphan/unused servers, and upgrading to higher-efficiency servers.

 All of these strategies translate into utility bill and operational savings that also conserve overall natural resources, such as the water used onsite for cooling, or the water used to generate the electricity which runs the data centers.

 

The Aligned Energy Solution: “Free Cooling”

Aligned Energy’s cooling system offers a unique take on the chiller/forced-air approach to data center cooling that results in an all-around more efficient and sustainable solution. 

Using a patented heat sink design that is closely coupled to the server racks, Aligned Energy has been able to not only capture the heat generated by the servers more efficiently, but transport and reject it to the atmosphere using dramatically less energy and resources than the traditional CRAH systems.

The specially designed heat sinks, coupled with the use of hot aisle containment and an advanced volumetric air flow control strategy, enable Aligned Energy to capture the heat at the source in a highly efficient manner. This solution trifecta results in a considerably lower airside static pressure drop, while minimizing bypass and maximizing the Delta T across the heat sink, which allows for dramatically less fan power and significantly higher return water temperatures.

Having higher return water temperatures is, of course, a great benefit where economization is concerned. An economizer system works the cooler outside ambient air against the warmer water to reject as much of the heat without using refrigeration.

This is where Aligned Energy’s system sets itself apart. Their CACTUS cooler combines the best of wet and dry waterside economization, with industry leading maglev trim refrigeration. Through the use of their specially designed economizer coil and evaporative assist, the cooler is able to reject the heat very efficiently using only a modicum of fan power. Because of the close approach between the entering scavenger air and leaving water, the cooler essentially wrings out as much benefit from the ambient air as possible. And since water is used very sparingly by the evaporative media, this precious resource is conserved.

When the ambient air is no longer able to provide all the cooling needs, Aligned Energy turns to centrifugal compressors for trim cooling. The system has the ability to start at very low power and can vary its output in a very granular way. One other benefit to the system is that the condensing section sits in the evaporatively cooled air stream, so when the system is running evaporative assist, it benefits from lower condensing temperatures and an improved coefficient of performance.

In addition to industry leading efficiency and sustainability, the Aligned Energy Data Center Cooling System can be setup and installed to run dry. This solution benefits customers looking to operate without the use of water, while still maintaining lower connected power and lower PUE’s.

 Want to learn more about how Aligned Energy conserves water and power resources? Get in touch with us!

How Technology Trends Will Impact the Data Center in 2018

In this blog post we’ll look at the top technology trends for 2018 – including IoT, machine learning/AI and AR/VR. And we’ll look at how those technology trends impact the data center, because, as Andrew Schaap put it, “The burden of such rapid technological advancement falls on the physical infrastructure – the data centers that make up the factory of the digital age.”

For example:

  • IoT, AI, and AR/VR are driving incredible increases in demand for compute, storage and network capacity. Industry veteran Mark Thiele has famously predicted: “If the numbers follow a historical precedent at all we will need roughly 400 million servers to support our 2020 IoT and technology demands. To have enough data centers for 400 million servers, we would need to add another 4,000 massive data centers measuring roughly 400,000 sq. ft. with approximately 50 megawatts of power each.”
  • IoT and AI are pushing data to the edge. As we wrote in Solving the Capacity Challenge, “By 2019, nearly half of IoT data will be processed at the edge of the cloud, according to IDC. Edge processing is also likely to rise as tech giants explore more efficient, and more private, ways to run AI algorithms. Revolutions in machine learning have already significantly increased capacity demands in the cloud, and now tech giants are developing edge-based processing for those AI algorithms.”
  • Capacity planning will only get more difficult – making a future-proof data center even more essential. As Andrew Schaap explained, “Very rapid technological change means that future demand for data center capacity is anybody’s guess. And that makes life challenging for even the most sophisticated capacity planners… Having a data center partner that can deliver capacity fast, scale up, and scale out takes the stress out of data center capacity planning. When data center infrastructure is designed to scale up and out, then future-proofing doesn’t require over-provisioning capacity to mitigate risk.”
  • Modern IT server architectures are pushing compute densities upward – and also creating mixed density environments. Architectures such as .5U, hyper-converged infrastructure, rack-scale designs and multiple other forms of high-performance computing are rapidly becoming mainstream, increasing the density demands on the data center. As we wrote in High, Mixed, & Variable Density Needs an Adaptive Data Center, “Supporting higher densities and increasingly dynamic compute loads without stranding capacity, scalability without over-provisioning, and reliability even in an age of dramatically fluctuating data center power draws requires the data center to be for IT exactly what IT has had to become for the business: adaptive.”

Top Data Center Demand Trends of 2018

As we move into 2018, we are seeing a ramp-up in certain trends that will provide ongoing challenges for businesses and data centers from now to the foreseeable future. Any business or data center that plans to be competitive within the next five years should be paying close attention to these trends and making the necessary adjustments to their infrastructure and capacities. Here are a few of the trends we’re seeing in 2018:

IoT, AI, and AR/VR are driving incredible increases in demand for compute, storage and network capacity

As more and more Internet of Things (IoT) devices and machines running AI algorithms come online, there will naturally be more demand for faster access to data. The growth of Augmented and Virtual Reality will bring their own networking and processing challenges.

Industry veteran Mark Thiele predicted in a 2016 LinkedIn article that, “If the numbers follow a historical precedent at all we will need roughly 400 million servers, to support our 2020 IoT and technology demands. In order to have enough data centers for 400 million servers we would need to add another 4,000 massive data centers measuring roughly 400,000 sq.ft. with approximately 50 megawatts of power each.”

IoT and AI are pushing data to the edge.

As we wrote in Solving the Capacity Challenge, “By 2019, nearly half of IoT data will be processed at the edge of the cloud, according to IDC. Edge processing is also likely to rise as tech giants explore more efficient, and more private, ways to run AI algorithms. Revolutions in machine learning have already significantly increased capacity demands in the cloud, and now tech giants are developing edge-based processing for those AI algorithms.”

This edge-based processing solves processing speed issues for IoT, but it means greater demand on cloud-based storage, which puts greater capacity demands on data storage centers.

How 2018 Trends Will Impact the Data Center

For both business owners and data centers, these trends create looming challenges that must be solved for survival. Below are some specific ways that data centers will be impacted:

Capacity planning will only get more difficult – making a future-proof data center even more essential.

As Andrew Schaap explained, “Very rapid technological change means that future demand for data center capacity is anybody’s guess. And that makes life challenging for even the most sophisticated capacity planners…Having a data center partner that can deliver capacity fast, scale up, and scale out takes the stress out of data center capacity planning. When data center infrastructure is designed to scale up and out, then future-proofing doesn’t require over-provisioning capacity to mitigate risk.”

Although it’s likely impossible to predict exact future demands on data centers, it is possible to purpose-build data centers that can deliver capacity fast and scale up. Aligned Energy is one such data center.

Modern IT server architectures are pushing compute densities upward – and also creating mixed density environments. 

Architectures such as .5U, hyper-converged infrastructure, rack-scale designs and multiple other forms of high-performance computing are rapidly becoming mainstream, increasing the density demands on the data center. As we wrote in High, Mixed, & Variable Density Needs an Adaptive Data Center, “Supporting higher densities and increasingly dynamic compute loads without stranding capacity, scalability without over-provisioning, and reliability even in an age of dramatically fluctuating data center power draws requires the data center to be for IT exactly what IT has had to become for the business: adaptive.”

Because tech growth and capacity demands are happening rapidly and organically, data centers must become more adaptive than ever, architecting mixed density environments that allow rapid response to variable data demands.

How Aligned Energy is Responding to the Predicted Trends of 2018

The right partner is an adaptive data center, which is future-proof. Data centers such as those run by Aligned Energy are able to match the changing needs of their clients –  data centers that can quickly and efficiently deliver new capacity and quickly and efficiently add capacity to existing deployments. Here are just two specific ways that Aligned Energy is partnering with its clients to respond to the capacity trends of 2018:

  • Moving beyond BMS and DCIM to overcome data center challenges

At Aligned Energy, the colocation client portal collects tens of millions of real-time data points across existing and new infrastructure assets then aggregates, indexes, and presents that data primed for decision-making. This software shares some features with both a building management system and a traditional Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) system, but it is a significant advance on both of those tools.

  • Client portal for greater transparency and insight

At Aligned Energy, colocation customers also enjoy transparency into what’s going on in the data center from the CDU to the PDU. This client portal gives customers the ability to see what is happening in the moment, where it’s happening and, if applicable, what caused it.

Interested in learning more about how Aligned Energy is responding to the top tech trends of 2018? Contact us today! 

DigiPlex plugs into district heating in Stockholm

Waste heat from established data center now goes to good use

Nordic data center operator DigiPlex will connect its Stockholm data center to the local district heating system, providing enough hot air to warm 10,000 apartments, thanks to a deal signed  with Stockholm Exergi, (formerly Fortum Värme).

The project will be the fist time an operational data center, with an indirect evaporative air-to-air cooling solution, is retrofitted to recover excess heat, the two organizations say.

Browsing hurts the planet

“Every time we browse the Internet, stream a TV series or use the cloud, a process starts in a data center. If that data center is a power-hungry, fossil fuel-fired one that releases excess heat into the atmosphere, we as individuals are contributing to climate change,” said Gisle Eckhoff, DigiPlex CEO. ”Digitization needs to support improved sustainability.”