How to Build a Digital Twin to Improve Your Data Center

Deploying any change within your data center can seem daunting. But with a data center Digital Twin you can undertake virtual testing of those changes, using physics-based simulation, ensuring nothing goes into a live environment that hasn’t already been assessed for performance.

So what about implementing the Digital Twin itself? Isn’t that a heavy lift for a resource-strained organization to plan and deploy? In our experience, customers have found that the benefits far outweigh the effort involved and we have developed a four-step implementation process that's easy to understand.

This will empower organizations to unlock the full potential of their data center by having true visibility of what is really going on – optimizing utilization, identifying and preempting risk of downtime, and supporting more efficient power utilization – through the Digital Twin. 

Step 1: Create the Model

The first step in creating a Digital Twin is inputting information about the physical data center into a simulation tool with a built-in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) engine. This should include IT asset lists, Computer-aided Design (CAD) floorplans, and branch circuit monitoring data. The Future Facilities team will be there to guide this process, using our 6SigmaDCX product suite, as well as being present to support with the rest of the implementation process.

Step 2: Calibrate the Model

Once the initial data center Digital Twin model is created, it can be calibrated against real-world measurements using spot check readings and environmental monitoring data. Adjustments can then be made to ensure an exact replica of the data center is created, checking any measures taken in the simulation to provide an absolute reflection of the real facility.

Once the model has been calibrated, initial readings can be generated to create the first assessment report on how the data center is operating. As part of this, Future Facilities will share guidance on airflow and cooling management.

Step 3: Implement, Integrate and Train

With these steps completed, staff will receive basic training on how to use the Digital Twin in the day-to-day operations of the data center. This training is essential to ensure that they can access and interpret all of the features and data they require to make informed decisions. The Digital Twin enables teams across IT, operations and facilities management to work together towards data center optimization.

Alongside upskilling staff, the Digital Twin will be integrated into existing tools and systems. 6SigmaRoom, for instance, connects with popular toolsets in the industry – including ServiceNow, Nlyte, StruxureWare, and Sunbird. This enables greater collaboration between teams so any issues can be resolved quickly.

An optional, penultimate, step in setting up your virtual data center double is trying the new system out in a test environment to ensure the software is working at its optimum. Once tested, the model can be officially deployed. This will involve installing the software and security certificates. In addition, you will need to grant users access to the levels they need.

Step 4: Support

Once these steps have been completed, the Digital Twin unlocks the full capabilities of your data center. After this point, Future Facilities will continue to provide ongoing support, training and integration to ensure you are always getting the most out of your digital data center replica.

A Step in the Right Direction

The Digital Twin is a simple yet highly effective solution all organizations should be incorporating into their data center management. Immediately after being set up by Future Facilities or a trained consultant, businesses can harness the power of their virtual data center to increase efficiency, and ultimately reduce costs and environmental impact. The Digital Twin is used not only to optimize data center operations today but also to enable planning for changes that are coming in the future, exploring those changes without risk. 

For more information on the Digital Twin and how Future Facilities can help, please contact us here.


Blog written by: Sherman Ikemoto, Managing Director

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