Future Proofing Data Centers

Data center design and operations have changed considerably in the last decade. Many of these changes stem from new high-density designs and cooling technologies, as well as an increasing need from end-users for connectivity. 

And yet, many data center planners are facing the same problems: 

  • having to choose between operational performance and speed
  • navigating increasing demands on capacity with shrinking budgets
  • maximizing capacity in a fixed infrastructure. 

By implementing physics-based simulation, organizations can test multiple design configurations and validate the best capacity planning solution moving forward. This post covers how simulation enriches engineering expertise with powerful insights into data center performance.

How CFD Simulation Helps with Future Proofing 

With effective communication and the right tools in place, speed and quality can coexist in data center capacity planning. Physics-based simulation or Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) offers data centers a path forward.

The 6Sigma Digital Twin creates a 3D virtual replica of the data center using a built-in CFD engine, IT asset lists, computer-aided design (CAD) floorplans, and monitoring data. 

This platform is made up of the 6SigmaDCX software suite. Planners propose asset changes in 6SigmaAccess, while Facilities Management can predict the outcome of these changes in 6SigmaRoom. 6SigmaGateway enables two-way exchange between 6SigmaDCX software and other data center management tools, such as DCIM software, to ensure up-to-date information and accurate simulation results.

The 6Sigma Digital Twin is designed in this way to streamline the capacity planning process by ensuring that (1) all changes are validated using simulation and (2) all stakeholders are in communication with one another. As such, data center teams no longer have to choose between operational performance and speed. Simulation ensures the decisions you are making are sound and the process is seamless between teams. 

Significantly, the 6Sigma Digital Twin animates cooling and airflow. With every deployment, the airflow delivery profile changes, whether from IT changes in the cabinets or changes made to other parts of the facilities. These changes impact how air moves in the data center .

Simulation also enriches data center power analysis by visualizing the entire power network from utility to IT. Simulation can be used to see breaker loadings for future deployments and test failure scenarios to ensure uninterrupted power can be supplied to every piece of equipment in the facility. 

Given that the data center is an incredibly dynamic space, being able to visualize cooling, airflow, and power makes all the difference. Knowing how the data center will react to new configurations is essential to creating a robust data center that can navigate increasing capacity demands and budgeting concerns. 

In other words, the 6Sigma Digital Twin can explore any “what-if” scenarios, ensuring no option is left wasted or unexplored, so data center teams can examine ways to maximize capacity despite fixed infrastructure   and mitigate potential risks. This functionality can also be applied to energy efficiency. It’s no secret that data centers use immense amounts of energy—so much so that corporations are creating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies  to reduce their carbon footprint, a clearly crucial element to “future proofing” our earth.

Removing Data Center Risk

While the data center landscape continues to change, the core issues a data center must solve remain the same. Ultimately, a successful data center is one that is both fast, cost-effective, and efficient. The 6Sigma Digital Twin allows stakeholders to explore all options or scenarios, predict potential outcomes, and feel satisfied in the knowledge that they are making the best decisions that equip their data center to adapt to future change without risk. Simulation provides stakeholders with a strong foundation to test new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, liquid cooling, etc., and make risk-free decisions to ensure data center longevity. 


Blog written by: Sherman Ikemoto, Managing Director 

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12 October, 2021

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