Five Next-Gen Ways To Control Your Data Center Environment

Jun 24 2014

The modern data center continues to evolve with new types of systems, designs and deployment models. Just look at how much we are storing within the current data center platform and how fast it’s all growing. High-density systems, HPC clusters, and a growing cloud are all impacting how data centers control and utilize resources. A major aspect of it all is maintaining consistent environmental and operational control at the data center level. So how are organizations managing their very distributed data center infrastructure? Here are some great ways of controlling environmental variables at a data center, server and cloud level.

Dynamic cooling optimization. That just sounds cool, right? Imagine adding a dynamic cooling optimization module to your data center infrastructure management program. This module manages your cooling infrastructure to dynamically match the output to the prevailing heat load. Furthermore, it helps to reduce your operating expenditure by minimizing wasted cooling capacity. These kinds of intelligent control systems help create automation within the data center by automatically turning on or off cooling units when they are not needed, based on the actual measured conditions inside the white space. Temperature and humidity can also be controlled to ASHRAE-recommended levels at the server intakes. If your data center has economizers to optimize energy efficiency, those components can also be controlled to predefined conditions in the white space and outside air temperature and humidity.

Server monitoring and power optimization. How do you manage and optimize data center resources that you cannot see? An amazing way to control your data center and the various cooling/power aspects is to integrate server-level monitoring and power optimization directly into your management platform. Monitoring and power optimization modules enable server-level monitoring and power capping, helping to achieve significant energy savings, capacity optimization, reduced over-provisioning; and ultimately can delay investments in new server equipment. Furthermore, you can gain the visibility of real-time data, trending capabilities, security integration, and auto-discovery.

Custom or configurable systems. New demands around different types of data centers have created innovative ways to cool and control an environment. The emergence of the cloud and micro-data centers requires a unique view into the HVAC and control platform. In deploying a custom or customer-configurable HVAC systems, you’re working with a platform which specializes in working with architects, engineers, contractors, and building owners to provide an exact match for the entire life cycle of the facilities they serve. Some of these requirements can be based on energy efficiency, quiet acoustic performance, a custom footprint, or LEED® certification of your high performance facility; or a unique combination of these goals. The point is that a custom or configurable approach may offer the most effective solution for your specific use-case data center platform.

Application-specific HVAC solutions. What are your demands? Do you have a very specific user-case data center scenario? By understanding your application-specific requirement, you can define an HVAC solution suitable for your specific data center facility type – enterprise, internet or colocation, hyper- or micro-scale. Systems developed in partnership between data center designers and HVAC/controls experts can be as simple or as complex as the application requires.

Advanced Integrative Technologies. Recognizing the synergy to be gained by integrating high performance fans, motors, and controls, Huntair® engineers invented the first “integrated” fan array solution for air handling systems—the FANWALL® system. As FANWALL systems proved not only their energy efficiency, but also their maintenance cost savings and reliability, this technology became a preferred choice in mission critical facilities such as clean rooms and operating suites and then logically grew to the white space of modern data center environments. FANWALL systems incorporate FANWALL TECHNOLOGY® — the first application of fan arrays in HVAC equipment anywhere by anyone — designed to create an integrated system of state-of-the-art fans, motors, cabinetry, controls, and accessories matched to your air handling requirements. There are a lot of benefits around this platform as well. Inherent redundancy, quiet and vibration-free operation, optimized energy efficiency, and low cost maintenance and service – just to name a few. The benefits of FANWALL systems can even be extended to legacy CRAH and CRAC systems through the use of retrofit kits.

The growth around data center demand has created new kinds of challenges for the modern administrator and manager. A distributed environment, more applications and an always-on end-user have made the data center an absolutely critical piece of business and personal life. As the data center evolves – so must the environment and control mechanisms surrounding it. The distributed nature of data center platforms now necessitates that we take environmental and infrastructure management into the logical layer. As important as hardware optimizations are – having direct visibility into server and power systems is critical as well.

For more information about data center cooling optimization or other next-gen solutions, contact us at datacenterinfo@nortek.com.

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