Data center managers are looking for ways to increase energy efficiency while providing a highly adaptable IT environment to support service-oriented architectures and rapid changes in demand. Although software, systems and storage are all becoming highly adaptable, nothing in the data center can adapt quickly unless the power infrastructure is also adaptable.
Problems include the following power-related issues:
- IT equipment is changing with a much higher frequency than the typical life expectancy of the data center. Typical data centers are designed with a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. However, most IT equipment refresh cycles are 2 to 5 years.
- More powerful equipment often results in an undersized power supply system. The facility design must take a variety of power conditions into consideration:
- Medium density (5-10 kW/rack) and high density (15-30 kW/rack) equipment
- Blade servers, storage and high density networking fabrics
- Single-phase and three-phase power requirements, often mixed within a given rack
- Physical receptacle requirements
- Corporate and regulatory requirements for energy usage. Beyond the cost of energy, the goals and requirements for Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), peak demand and carbon footprints must be addressed. A growing component of this system is the ability to measure energy usage on a granular level, driving the energy considerations to the point of use. Smart grid implementation will likely have additional implications for the energy infrastructure.
- Uptime requirements. High levels of uptime are assumed and “table stakes” are generally taken for granted.
The impact of these trends on data center electrical design is obvious: the need for flexible, adaptable, electrical power distribution and monitoring systems.