Net Access Blog

Why We Aren’t Complaining About This Cold Weather!

Posted by Alex Rubenstein on Feb 26, 2015 4:59:00 PM

drycooler_webro_2There are many aspects that go into running a data center successfully, but I think we would all agree that uniform, consistent temperature on the critical floor is certainly one of the most important. Customer equipment likes to have a reasonable temperature (we target 72* F), that does not vary - no matter what time of the day, or day of the year that it is.  

What many customers do not realize is that from a facilities perspective, computer gear makes for wonderful space heaters. Typically, for every watt of power used by a piece of equipment, roughly 99% of that watt is converted into thermal energy (heat), and we are tasked with removing that heat from the datacenter. In our application, we have chosen to use closed-loop chilled-water cooling systems. Essentially, we use a chiller which makes cold water (about 54* F) and pump it through a coil in the environmental control rooms of the datacenter, and push the air that is coming from the computer gear through that same coil.  

The problem is that these chillers consume considerable power, sometimes using upwards of 50 watts for every 100 watts of heat generated by customer equipment (thus, a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.50).  

So, you ask, what does this have to do with 15* F outdoor temperatures?  

Well, when we send the water out to be cooled by our chiller units, we first send them through what is known as a drycooler, which uses outside air to cool the water before we put it through the chiller. In our application, whenever the outside air temperature is about 50*F or cooler, we are able to cool the chilled water to our desired temperature of 58* F without using any chiller power whatsoever.  

Consider the diagram below, which shows realtime operation of one of our many cooling modules in our Parsippany 2 (WBR) data center:

Webro_Cooling_System_Feb24:

Our typical cooling module is designed to handle 100,000 watts (or 100 kw) of customer equipment heat load (roughly 30 tons). In the case above:  
 
- Datacenter return air is entering the inside air handler at 83* F, and being sent back to the datacenter at 72* F.
- The chilled water as it enters the air handler is about 56* F, and leaves the air handler at 63* F.
- Before the chilled water makes its way to the chiller, it passes through the drycooler.
- 8* F outside air is entering the drycooler, and 54* F air is leaving the drycooler.
- The water leaving the drycooler and entering the chiller is 54* F, and the chiller has nothing to do because the water is already at the target temperature.  
 
As you can see, the drycooler fans are only consuming 0.1 kw (or about 100 watts) pulling the air through the drycooler to chill the water. If the chiller were doing this same work, it would be consuming about 5.8 kw (5,800 watts), or 58 times the power.
 
In this example above, this module is using 6.1 kw and providing 62 kw of cooling. In using a common industry metric of PUE, this equates to 1.10.  

We know most people complain about the cold, but we are more than willing to put up with these low temperatures for a while longer!

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Topics: data center efficiency, data center cooling,

Earth Day - How we 'go green' at our data centers

Posted by Net Access Marketing on Apr 22, 2013 10:38:00 AM

At Net Access, we strive to lessen our impact on the environment. Since today is Earth Day, we thought it'd be a good time to talk about how we 'go green' at our data centers, and beyond.

Recycle Globe

In addition to increasing our data center efficiency, we also have several company-wide initiatives to be more green. We enable employees to work from home when possible by using VOIP phones and secure VPN access to their work computers.

We also have a company-wide recycling program, and purchase recycled and renewable products whenever possible.

In addition to these general company measures, we design our facilities to use the latest in green data center technology to increase efficiency.

Our green data centers utilize various energy saving technologies including:

  • Heat Recapture Technology – This revolutionary design captures the IT heat load from each cabinet and uses a chimney to route it back to the HVAC systems. This eliminates hot air contamination from the ambient supply air in the facility, which makes spot cooling unnecessary. Not only does this produce an environment that is much nicer for people to work in, it also saves a tremendous amount of energy in cooling.

 

  • Virtualization – We leverage virtualization technology to reduce the number of physical servers and resulting power consumption needed to run our IT infrastructure. Rather than running inefficient standalone servers for each application, we have consolidated these applications using virtualization which has resulted in decreased energy consumption for internal infrastructure.

 

  • High Efficiency UPS – Our green data centers utilize high efficiency UPS systems that are nearly 99% efficient. Since our facilities have tremendous amounts of power in use, this measure accounts for a significant energy savings.

 

  • Cardboard – There are large amounts of IT gear arriving at the data center daily. We recycle all of the boxes for not only our equipment; we also recycle our customer’s cardboard boxes to ensure that this does not end up being thrown in the garbage.

 

  • Efficient lighting – We utilize LED interior perimeter security lighting, which helps to reduce our energy consumption. Colocation cages utilize timer based lights that shut off after the customer leaves their cage, so that the lights are not left on unnecessarily.

These are just some of the measures currently in place. Our engineers are routinely researching additional methods we can deploy to improve efficiency. Our green data centers demonstrate our commitment to the environment and are just some of the innovations that make our facilities data centers of the future.

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Topics: data center, green data center, data center efficiency, earth day, energy conservation