The Importance of Pre-configured Library Items in Modeling Data Centers

It is crucial for any software with modeling functionality to support the user’s design process by making the modeling interface intuitive and easy to use. To accomplish this, modeling software often contains library items for the user to simply drag and drop into the model.

This means that users do not have to spend time tediously modeling equipment items one-by-one from the bottom up. This is particularly important when modeling an environment like a data center.

There are many distinct types of equipment operating in a data center and therefore it is beneficial for data center specific simulation software to contain the relevant variety of equipment in its library of preconfigured items, providing the user with a fast and easy modeling process for building up their data center digital twin.

In the case of the data center simulation tool the 6Sigma Digital Twin, the library is continuously updated to keep up with modern data center design. The importance of thermal management in a data center environment means that it is particularly valuable to have detailed equipment items in the virtual model that accurately reflect airflow and thermal characteristics.

This blog details the importance of library items in the modeling process and the balance between detailed and simplified library items.

The Balance Between Necessary Detail and Simplification

It is important to model library items to a significant degree of accuracy, using as much data sheet and equipment information as possible for a close representation. It is up to the software company to decide the level of detail contained in their items; however, the problem arises when manufacturer data is limited.

Additionally, equipment such as cabinets can have significant geometric detail. The 6Sigma Digital Twin provides users with the option to model the geometry of an item in detail or simplified. Increased geometric detail often means a greater number of computational grid cells is required to capture the detail. This extra grid can lead to longer solve times; therefore, there must be a balance between the level of detail required and oversimplification.

Standalone equipment will not be significantly affected by oversimplification; however, with the combination and interaction of equipment in a data center these disparities will significantly affect the results of the simulation. A sizeable amount of simulation software available today oversimplifies and uses untested approximations and restricts the level of detail users can input.

For thermal simulation, this oversimplification misses the important interactions of airflow and heat transfer. For example:

  • The design of IT equipment intakes and exhausts can significantly change the airflow patterns, which additionally affect neighboring equipment (pictured below) 

interfering airflow

  • Using different air-cooling unit fan designs, such as blowers and radial fans, can completely change the direction of cold air supplied to the room (pictured below).

radial airflow 1   blower airflow 2

The takeaway here is that properly modeling equipment will effectively predict the current state and the impacts of change in a data center environment, providing reliable information to safely optimize data center infrastructure.

Future Facilities’ Library of Intelligent Objects and Star Rating System

At Future Facilities, our 6Sigma Digital Twin software is dedicated to the data center industry and we have created a large collection of library items specific to data centers. Built by our in-house engineers or configured by vendors, these items are constructed with manufacturer data, on-site measurement data, and rated on level of detail using our star rating system.

This star rating system offers visibility on the level of detail each item is designed to, ranging from 0-5, with 0 containing no information and 5 being fully comprehensively modeled.

To further streamline the design process, our library items can be dragged and dropped into place in the model as needed and are easily editable. They can also be mapped from imported models, saving the user time at the model creation stage to ensure more time can be spent performing important thermal analysis.

Watch the below video to see how easy it is to use Future Facilities' Library of Intelligent Objects. 


The right simulation software can make it easier to build and interpret model data, so teams can focus on making the best decision for their data center’s success. We regularly update our library of smart items to ensure the model build process is as easy and efficient as possible.

Learn more about how simulation software provides the performance visibility data center teams need to optimize data center performance here.

CTA Enterprise

Blog written by: Lucy Down, Technical Marketing Engineer 

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