The Future of Data Center Densification

You can’t talk about 5G, data networks or the “Internet of Things” (IoT) without adding a new buzzword to the conversation: densification. But it’s more than the latest trend; it comes with real, relevant value. As network providers work overtime to keep pace with increased demand on bandwidth, densification is a solution that can achieve efficiency and better customer experience.

Demystifying Densification

Densification in a word (or two) is more capacity, specifically within the same area or footprint. Think about the last concert or sporting event you attended, and the thousands, even tens of thousands, of people using their mobile devices all at once. The saturation of users clogs the network and all of a sudden you can’t upload that perfect selfie or favorite video clip. The same concept happens with data networks. And densification is the proverbial Drayno.

According to Ericsson’s Mobility Report, global mobile data traffic is expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 42% from 2017 to 2023. The report states, “in response to increasing demands, the mobile industry is focusing on optimizing the spectral efficiency of LTE in existing frequency bands using new advanced functionalities, such as Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) and carrier aggregation. To solve capacity needs long-term, most countries are expected to make additional spectrum available under new national 5G regulatory regimes.”

An article in Enterprise Insights says that the “continuous increase in traffic within mobile broadband systems and continuous increase in required and requested data rates for end users will impact how cellular networks are deployed in the future, according to Telecom Insights.”

Power and cooling demands are increasing exponentially, and it’s an advantage—environmentally and for businesses—if companies can handle a lot more power in the same space. High-density data centers help drive environmental and operational cost efficiencies. The more network, compute, storage and service you can deliver per work cell cost, the better it is for your pocketbook and the planet.

What is the future of densification?

There are three major trends driving an increase in data center density:

1) Doing more within the same footprint. The opportunity for businesses with large infrastructures and deployments to gain significant efficiencies and competitiveness is a very real benefit. For example, the difference between low density (measured on average at 6KW/rack) versus high-density (measured at 12KW) data centers is enough of a swing to experience real cost savings.

2) 5G network creation and its requirements of high system capacity and high per-user data rates. This will require a densification of the radio access network or the deployment of additional network nodes. As 5G becomes more defined and eventually standardized, densification grows increasingly important for ultra-dense network configurations, especially for metro areas heavy with users, such as New York City or San Francisco.

3) Power and cooling availability and efficiency. Driving high-density data center efficiencies and lowering costs is a huge competitive advantage both in the short and long-term. Aligned’s cooling technology can cool efficiently to 50 kW per rack for real cost savings in both energy and real estate.

While the future of data center densification is important to do more with less space, creating efficiencies and improved service, densification is also important because, well, we love our smartphones. And that’s not changing anytime soon.

Aligned’s technologies can future-proof your data centers. One of our data centers in Dallas, Phoenix, Arizona or Salt Lake City, Utah, enables clients to take advantage of an industry-leading 1.15 PUE and run 1-50 kW per rack and mix densities within the same row. To learn more, check out our website.

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.

The speed at which the technology industry is moving is faster than many of its bricks-and-mortar counterparts. Data centers, while providing essentials, are in fact, incredibly complex environments. Additionally, the demands from an increasing number of businesses but not necessarily growing IT budgets require innovation and performance.

Creating a more efficient data center may include scaling up or investing in newer technologies based on the latest trends to achieve greater agility and capacity. Other efficiencies can be achieved simply by reorganizing the infrastructure of existing data centers.

Here are our top five recommendations to modernize data center operations optimizing power, cooling, space and IT load to improve data center efficiency.

The Top Five:

  1. Increase vertical space utilization (VSU) by increasing the quantity of IT equipment per rack. VSU = Installed IT Equipment (RU) divided by (Total Rack Space Equipment (RU) * Optimum Target)
  2. Implement a hot-aisle containment that encloses the hot aisle to collect the IT equipment’s hot exhaust air. This allows the rest of the room to become a large cold-air supply plenum. Alternatively, create a cold-aisle containment which encloses the cold aisle, allowing the rest of the data center to become a large hot-air return plenum.
  3. Implement data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools to monitor, measure, track and control data center resources and energy consumption. This applies to both IT-related equipment and facility infrastructure components.
  4. Establish efficiency program goals and define realistic and defensible metrics (we suggest adding WUEs to the list), with benchmarks and regular reporting.
  5. Finally, The T-Rex of opportunity is to control and reduce water usage. Our systems deliver efficiency at any load in any climate. Our cooling technology utilizes up to 80% less energy and 85% less water to reduce resource usage, improve the environmental impact and lower your TCO.

As data centers consider making changes for efficiency’s sake, leaders will want to focus initially on the techniques that are easier to implement and offer higher rewards, like managing temperature properly, eliminating unnecessary cooling equipment, among others.

Remember, any improvement actions — even those that require practically no investment — could end up creating additional risks or may not deliver any tangible or effective results. Weigh the risks vs. rewards, realistic timetables, and contingency plans before pulling the plug.

Whether you’re expanding into new markets, or looking to make your existing facilities more efficient, Aligned’s factory-built technology can help with your build-to-suit, retro-fit, and upgrade needs. You can provision to your requirements today and quickly add capacity on-demand as your needs evolve.