Wednesday, October 15, 2014

10 Recommendations for your Data Center

When you are a data center manager or consulting-specifying engineer, very few things are more unsettling than the unexpected. We hope this list helps IT and engineering professionals better anticipate these issues and prepares them with the appropriate technologies, solutions, and best practices.




Generally speaking we have 10 advice for your data center:


High-density predictions finally come true

After rapid growth early in the century, projections of double-digit rack densities have been slow to come to fruition. Average densities hovered between 6.0 and 7.4 kW per rack from 2006 to 2009, but the most recent Data Center Users’ Group (DCUG) survey predicted average rack densities will reach 12.0 kW within three years. That puts a premium on adequate UPS capacity and power distribution as well as cooling to handle the corresponding heat output.


Servers may be replaced three times before UPS or cooling systems renewal

Server refreshes happen approximately every three years. Cooling and UPS systems are expected to last much longer—sometimes decades. That means the infrastructure that organizations invest in today must be able to support—or, more accurately, scale to support—servers that may be two, three, or even four generations removed from today’s models. Modular solutions can scale to meet both short- and long-term requirements. Engineers will need to consider and make the necessary adjustments and allocations regarding day-to-day servicing and maintenance of the longer lasting power and cooling equipment.


Down time is expensive

We don't want it. The most common causes of downtime are UPS battery failure and exceeding UPS capacity. Avoid those problems by investing in the right UPS—adequately sized to support the load—and proactively monitoring and maintaining batteries. This gives engineers an opportunity to share best practices with clients and recommend battery monitoring solutions and high-end availability architecture. They can use the cost of downtime information to support recommendations and ensure clients understand how they can implement design changes and modifications that will improve availability.


Energy rebates are available for energy efficiency upgrades

Many utility providers offer energy rebates and incentives for data centers that make energy efficiency improvements. This presents an opportunity for engineers to propose high-efficiency designs and help clients receive reimbursements for upgrading legacy equipment with high-efficiency power and cooling systems. Clients may also look to engineers to assist with the often lengthy application process. Once the reimbursement has been approved, utilities will request information on actual project costs and may require follow-up measurement and verification to determine actual energy savings.


Industry codes are playing a larger role in cooling strategy

In the 2010 edition of ASHRAE 90.1: Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, the SCOP (seasonal coefficient of performance) rating was expanded to include data centers. Codes are becoming more numerous and impacting data center cooling strategies and technology developments. It is important that engineers keep abreast of new codes and regulations and the latest technologies that enable compliance.


Monitoring can be a mess

IT managers have more visibility into their data centers than ever before, but accessing and making sense of the data that comes with that visibility can be a daunting task. According to an Emerson Network Power survey of data center professionals, data center managers use, on average, at least four different software platforms to manage their physical infrastructure. Of those surveyed, 41% say they produce three or more reports for their supervisors every month, and 34% say it takes three hours or more to prepare those reports. The solution? Move toward a single monitoring and management platform that can consolidate that information and proactively manage the infrastructure to improve energy and operational efficiency, and even availability.


IT Person may be in charge of the building’s HVAC system

The gap between IT and facilities is shrinking. Traditionally, IT and data center managers have had to work through facilities when they needed more power or cooling to support increasing IT needs. That process is being streamlined. For engineers, it is important that they now incorporate all of these players into the design process. Gone are the days when the engineer had to work with only one or two individuals, usually from the facility side. Now it is a complex ecosystem comprised of IT, operations, facilities, and sometimes procurement.


That patchwork data center needs to be a quilt

In the past, data center managers and engineers freely mixed and matched components from various vendors because those systems worked together only tangentially. However, the advent of increasingly intelligent, dynamic infrastructure technologies and monitoring and management systems has increased the amount of actionable data across the data center, delivering real-time modeling capabilities that enable significant operational efficiency. IT and infrastructure systems still can work independently, but to truly leverage the full extent of their capabilities, integration is imperative.


Data center on demand is a reality

The days of lengthy design, order and deployment delays are over. Today there are modular, integrated, rapidly deployable data center solutions for any space. Integrated, virtually plug-and-play solutions that include rack, server, and power and cooling can be installed easily in a closet or conference room. On the larger end, containerized data centers can be used to quickly establish a network or to add capacity to an existing data center.


IT loads vary a lot

Many industries see extreme peaks and valleys in their network usage. Financial institutions, for example, may see heavy use during traditional business hours and virtually nothing overnight. Holiday shopping and tax seasons also can create unusual spikes in IT activity. Businesses depending on their IT systems during these times need to have the capacity to handle those peaks but often operate inefficiently during the valleys. A scalable infrastructure with intelligent controls can adjust to those highs and lows to ensure efficient operation.



About SMA

Strategic Media Asia (SMA) is one of the CPD Course Providers of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE).

SMA, a critical infrastructure training and event organizer based in Hong Kong, provides an interactive environment and opportunities for members of IDC industry and engineers to exchange professional views and experience on critical infrastructure and E&M facilities.

For details of other data center courses and seminars, please visit our website at http://www.stmedia-asia.com/trainings.html.