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The Virtual Facility
Future Facilities is pioneering the use of CFD simulation techniques throughout the life time of any Data Center.
Problem is, conventionally-designed datacenters are unable to cope with the rapid growth in power densities of today’s IT equipment – even small additions of new kit can destabilise the datacenter’s fragile “ecosystem”, making the risk of thermally-induced failure greater than ever before.
It’s hardly surprising. This isn’t just a straightforward cooling problem – there are no fewer than three variables that have to be contended with other than ambient room temperature:
Volume of cooled air
Velocity of cooled air
Plus every piece of kit has its own unique set of tolerances...
It’s a minefield. Which is why datacenter operators often waste a great deal of time and money over-engineering their cooling systems. You can’t blame them – after all, better safe than sorry. Yet it needn’t be that way. Not when you use the Virtual Facility (VF). Because the VF gives you the ability investigate the present status of your datacenter and predict the impact of every future change, without any risk to your actual facility.
Put simply, when you input your proposed changes into the VF, if they stay cool and have no affect on the equipment already installed, you can be confident that your facility is not at risk.
Of course, there’s little you can do about the ever-increasing hunger for power of your IT equipment. But it’s another matter when it comes to energy consumption used for cooling. With the Virtual Facility (VF) as your guide, you can be confident of making significant reductions.
Once your VF is up and running, Future Facilities can evaluate the energy efficiency of your existing or proposed datacenter as expressed in PUE or “Building Efficiency”. For a typical datacenter, this includes assessing the following variables:
From this, you will be able to determine the extent to which your cooled air and chilled-water supply temperature set-points can be adjusted, so as to drive potential significant cost reductions.
For example,when Cisco used the VF to assesss their Silicone Valley datacenter they found that tactical blanking and floor-grille placement alone could reduce inlet temperatures by 5ºC, enabling them to raise their chilled-water set-point by 4.5 ºC, leading to a staggering 30% (or almost $200,000) saving on energy consumption per year. Plus, they gained the potential to install a further 650 units of IT kit. And the greater the ratio of kit to space available, the more efficient your datacenter.
Naturally, the earlier in the development of your datacenter the energy assessment is carried out, the more effective it will be. Indeed, some new sites, based in temperate climates, find they can dispense with artificial cooling altogether outside of the summer months. But owners of existing facilities can still be confident that will always benefit, too.
And it doesn’t end there. Once established, the VF can be used as an ongoing monitoring tool to ensure optimal energy efficiency of your datacenter throughout its entire operational life.
So the need to maximise that asset has never been greater – both by exploiting every square metre of floor-space today and by ensuring those selfsame square metres are still capable of delivering the performance your business needs well into the future. Only the Virtual Facility (VF) can ensure this is the case...
For the greenfield site, the VF is a “no-brainer”. Every stakeholder from datacenter operator and site architect to equipment manufacturer can have their own view of the potential facility – ensuring that the new infrastructure is optimised to the demands to be made on it by the IT equipment it is intended to house.
For the existing datacenter, the equation may be more complex but it is almost no less beneficial – because the VF is the only practical way to “sweat your asset”. Put simply, the more effective your cooling, the more the IT kit you can pack into your datacenter, and the more economical it becomes to run per unit of processing power. By the same token, the VF can see to it that you need to buy and maintain far less cooling equipment for the same amount of IT hardware.
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