Top 6 Ways to Improve Data Center Efficiency

By: Daniel Bodenski, PE, LEED AP, Director of Strategic Solutions at Electronic Environments Co.

The data center has become a staple of modern society, making the technology that we use every day possible.  Today, everyone from small start-up organizations to multi-billion dollar corporations utilize mission-critical facilities to house their vital data, and as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data continue to proliferate, our demand for more data centers will only increase.

With growing energy costs and data center energy consumption nearly 100 times higher than that of a typical commercial building, data center owners and operators are placing a higher focus on improving energy efficiency within their facilities.  Maintaining energy efficiency is critical to running a reliable, high-capacity, and cost-efficient mission-critical facility.  At Electronic Environments Co. (EEC), we are dedicated to enabling our clients to develop the most efficient and profitable data centers possible, allowing for maximum uptime while minimizing capital and operational costs.

When it comes to data center energy efficiency, there are six key ways you can improve your bottom line while still ensuring total reliability.  Below, we will examine these key strategies and help you answer the question, “How can my data center be more energy efficient?”

  1. Assessments

Performing a detailed assessment of your data center’s operational performance will give you clear and concrete insight into the particular ways your data center can be improved, outlining the individual areas in which current energy efficiency practices may fall short.  Review of airflow management, implementing a detailed PUE analysis, and obtaining real-time data hall temperature measurements, are all important metrics to assess in order to develop a fully strategic plan to lower energy costs. Data center assessment professionals are equipped to provide comprehensive results through in-depth analysis and can provide recommendations for design, installation and maintenance improvements resulting in quick and cost-effective solutions. An assessment can also be used to prepare for external audits, and provide foundational data for developing thorough strategies.

  1. Equipment Upgrades

As society evolves, so too do our technologies, putting increased demand on data center capabilities. Equipment upgrades are necessary to maintain a robust and reliable facility. Moreover, in order to make data centers increasingly efficient, new technologies are continually developed that reduce overall energy consumption, such as ECO mode Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), 380V DC power systems, lighting system retrofits, efficient chillers, and more. By knowing what new technologies exist and understanding the return on investment of many of these upgrades, you may be able to use many to your advantage within your data center’s lifecycle.

  1. Maintenance

If your current equipment is unreliable or beyond its normal lifespan, it could be adding to your operating costs and could pose a serious threat to reliability.  Downtime is the number one critical issue, as it will not only hurt your bottom line, but your reputation as a reliable organization. The Ponemon Institute reports that data center downtime costs an average of $7,900 per minute. Can you afford that? By employing a comprehensive maintenance routine, trained specialists should be engaged to check generator heaters and batteries, test load banks, sample generator coolant, fuel and oil, and regularly exercise overcurrent protective devices. These activities, coupled with implementation of an on-demand Asset Management system, will increase operational efficiency and reduce overall critical system downtime.

  1. Dynamic Cooling Management

Every data center is unique, so its cooling solutions should be as well.  Cooling plays a critical role in the energy efficiency of a data center. Finding the correct model for your individual facility is of capital importance. With a dynamic cooling model that’s easy to deploy, you can see immediate energy savings, more efficient network transformation, and increased network reliability. Instead of zone-level control, fans are individually optimized based on real-time readings, utilizing rack sensors and control modules to collect temperature requirements and Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) airflow and power metrics, resulting in a fully optimized, intelligent cooling system.

  1. Airflow Management

Poor airflow management leads to a lot of undesirable results, including the recirculation of supply air, causing hotspots and reducing the overall effectiveness of the data center’s cooling plant.  By implementing simple airflow management techniques, such as adding floor grommets, implementing partial or full containment, and adding blanking panels, data center operators can see reduced plenum losses, and immediate energy savings. This is a simple, low-cost method to reap instant financial benefits and improve Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE).

  1. Baseline Energy Reduction

Sustainable energy sources such as solar, fuel cell and wind power are becoming more and more commonplace within data centers to reduce overall energy use, shrink their carbon footprint and become more energy independent. Not only can sustainable energy sources reduce energy usage, self-contained power plants can also offer data center operators the option to develop a micro-grid, which decreases the reliance on an aging, electrical infrastructure and provides a strategy for modular data center solutions.

To learn more about these six strategies for enhanced energy efficiency, check out our eBook, “6 Ways to Improve Data Center Energy Efficiency”.  If you would like more information about any of these solutions or feel that you could benefit from customized professional assistance, please visit www.eecnet.com or email us at info@eecnet.com.

About the Author:

bodenskiDaniel Bodenski, PE, LEED AP, is Director of Strategic Solutions at Electronic Environments Co. Mr. Bodenski has over 20 years of experience in mechanical systems design and project management for mission critical facilities. He has managed several large design, due diligence, site assessment and commissioning projects for telecommunications, healthcare, financial and retail data center clients. At EEC, he proactively increases facility reliability through implementation of new technology for mission critical facilities.

The Next Generation of Paralleled Generators

Designing a data center takes a bit of ingenuity and finesse to create a simple, streamlined facility operating at peak efficiency.  Having the proper technology can do just that, providing owners and operators with a solution to reliable and affordable functionality.  One of the latest developments that is helping many designers create an optimal mission-critical environment is known as modular integration, a new approach to generator systems that bypasses the complexity of traditional paralleled generators.

As we continually strive for innovation and efficiency, many common data center practices have become things of the past, making way for more streamlined, cost-effective approaches.  In the past, traditional paralleling was designers’ only option when creating a data center, forcing them to accept complex systems, high costs and large physical footprints as the norm.  Today, these issues are virtually nonexistent as we move into the next phase of data center power innovation – digitally paralleled generators.

Integrated and traditional paralleling systems are very distinct from one another, and through a deeper understanding of their unique qualities, it becomes easier to discover why integration could be the best choice for your facility.  Four major requirements are considered when analyzing the functions of paralleled generators, including synchronization, load sharing, protection and point of synchronization.

Synchronization

A necessary element in all paralleling systems, synchronization within traditional generators relies on third-party components to consistently regulate all controls.  Within onboard integrated systems; however, these controls are incorporated digitally inside the generator itself, eliminating the need for third-party involvement and added  cost.

Load Sharing

It is also important to note that the function of load sharing should be equalized between generators to ensure no single unit becomes the “motor”, pulling load from the other.  Traditionally, this is controlled via cabling; however in the new integrated system, load sharing is regulated digitally to allow for more flexibility in facility design.

Protection

As critical and expensive equipment, generators must be protected from all potential issues and threats. When it comes to reverse power, voltage and over current protection, traditional setups relied on a third-party for protection.  By contrast, in an onboard, integrated parallel system, each of these components live within the generator set, creating more space, control and flexibility throughout the data center.

Point of Synchronization

When generators achieve synchronization, it is necessary to employ a connection to the emergency bus, or point of synchronization.  Traditionally, this has been done utilizing motorized breakers within the gear; however, integrated paralleled generators do so using switches or motorized breakers located directly onboard the generator set.

This innovative technology, when used properly, can deliver staggering results by reducing overall complexity, shortening installation lead times, conserving precious floor space, lowering costs and making it easier than ever to be ready for future expansion.  This reliable and cost-effective solution is more achievable than you think and can make a world of difference.

If you would like to learn more about modular generator and integrated paralleling systems, view this comprehensive article by Electronic Environments Corporation (EEC)’s Director, Chris Avery, found here.

Data Centers Seeking Energy Efficiencies Have Options

By Ken Rapoport, CEO of Electronic Environments Corp.

Our advice to clients who engage us for assistance in building and retrofitting data center facilities for energy efficiency: consider the foundations upon which your data centers are built and the assets deployed inside them.  Reliability and energy efficiency are the overarching objectives.  This approach reinforces that the data center will perform to expectations in meeting the requirements of their business.

In scenarios where the client is building a new facility, the energy efficiencies offered by large cloud providers can be an attractive option to consider based on a number of factors.  For one, these providers can locate their facilities in geographic regions where the cost of energy is comparatively lower, for example in the northwest of the United States.  They can also leverage customized servers that are able to operate at higher temperatures and higher efficiencies.  Lastly, large cloud providers can take advantage of advanced scalability and uniformity capabilities.  The net result can mean levels of Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.02 or 1.01 — a significant achievement.  However, a sizable number of businesses will not have these options, and therefore rarely achieve PUE levels of less than 2.0.

In order to reduce their PUE levels, EEC advises customers in several ways.  First, we conduct assessments and deploy advanced technologies — for example, energy-efficient mechanical systems that take advantage of free cooling.  The good news is that a number of powerful new technologies will deliver impressive returns and are available at comparatively low cost.  These include intelligent air distribution and management systems that can achieve energy usage reductions of between 20 and 40 percent in just two short years.

Another option that can deliver greater energy efficiencies is to retrofit your legacy data center technologies.  For example, if you’re operating a low-density data center, one that’s operating at 50 watts per square foot, you can deploy direct water-cooled racks or in-row cooling in zones in order to accommodate potential future zones of higher density servers.

For more information about the relationship between data center strategy and energy efficiency, download our free white paper, or view the EEC Google Hangout.

For more information about EEC, visit www.eecnet.com.

Not Ready for Winter? Your Data Center Humidification System Should Be

By Jim Lundrigan, Vice President of Operations, Electronic Environments Corporation

Lundrigan_Head_Shot (2)

The cold is almost upon us once again and just like people, data centers can be prone to the winter blues, too.  As the temperatures drop and humidity decreases, it is important to ensure the necessary environmental adjustments are made within data centers to protect equipment.  This entails ensuring equipment which may have remained inactive during the summer and fall months is now able to operate with higher frequency at peak efficiency.  In the cooler, drier climate brought on by the changing seasons, this requires maintaining proper humidity levels, which is essential to achieving high availability and reducing operational costs within the data center.

Proper maintenance of data center humidification systems is necessary in drier climates to prevent static electricity that can build up and discharge – typically caused by cool, low humidity air moving throughout the facility.  Static electricity and electrostatic discharge (ESD) can lead to damaged computing equipment, including instances of blown fuses.  For the majority of data center facilities, staying within the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommended humidity and temperature guidelines (64.4° F – 80.6° F; 41.9° F – DP-59° F dew point) ensures a highly stable and effective environment for the efficient and reliable operation of mission-critical functions.

Identifying and remediating malfunctioning humidification equipment is also key to preventing water leakage resulting from blocked drainage.  Water leakage can severely damage the unit and surrounding IT equipment.  Malfunctioning humidification equipment is also the culprit behind the less obvious excess water vapor, which can slowly deteriorate components of a cooling unit.  Well-maintained systems are critical to reducing nuisance alarms, return calls and their related high price tags between preventive maintenance (PM) visits.  Monitoring and changing set points can also result in substantial power savings and increased energy efficiency.  At Electronic Environments Corporation (EEC), we’ve noticed a trend, much like that of raising intake air temperatures, in which customers are lowering humidification set points from 45% to 40% to 35% to reduce energy costs over time.

EEC has been providing customers with strategic guidance across all areas of data center systems, designs and environments for over three decades.  We help our customers prepare for and proactively prevent future data center challenges by providing a comprehensive scheduling of inspections and repairs.  This includes critical elements such as ensuring humidification systems are functioning at peak efficiency through the modification settings while preparing for seasonal changes and cooler, drier weather.  EEC’s humidification system inspections encompass:

  • Starting a humidification system and performing diagnostics;
  • Checking condensation pump operations and cleaning as needed;
  • Confirming that set points are operating correctly;
  • Examining overloads, fuses and electrical operations to ensure proper functionality;
  • Removing and cleaning humidifier pans and drain lines from build-up and deposits;
  • Adjusting pan water levels while testing and adjusting water overflow safety devices;
  • Calibrating humidity sensors; and
  • Maintaining water filtration systems that feed humidifiers (where applicable).

EEC leverages deeply-rooted data center expertise to develop and deploy customized solutions for data center maintenance in order to accommodate each customer’s unique business needs.  Examples of our customized solutions range from steam canister humidifiers, which offer simpler troubleshooting but a higher replacement cost, to UV systems, which require more maintenance, or ultrasonic systems, which requires larger up-front investments but run more efficiently and produce long-term energy savings.

While maintenance is critical during seasonal changes, it’s important to inspect equipment regularly year-round to ensure data centers function efficiently.  Prepare your humidification system and data center for the coming cold and dryness.  While you may not be ready for winter, your data center certainly should be; your business depends on it.

To learn how EEC can help your data center prepare for the cold, email info@eecnet.com or click here for more information.

PEN 2.0: The Next Evolution of Cloud Network

By: Jon Vestal, Vice President, Product Architecture, Pacnet

Over the past 10 years, cloud development and bandwidth-hungry applications such as cloud storage operations, videoconferencing and video streaming have continued their rapid proliferation in the market, consuming capacity and leaving traditional networks struggling to keep pace. Their propagation has spurred a growing customer need for a burstable hybrid cloud solution for Disaster Recovery, Ecommerce as well as flexibility in moving workloads from one location to another.  Moreover, today’s organizations also need compute, connectivity and storage resources to be dynamically scaled up or down according to demand. They also require access to these tools and systems without time or location restrictions, while still being able to maintain the utmost security.

As a result, we launched our award-winning Pacnet Enabled Network (PEN), the first pan-Asian Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) architecture to power cloud deployments in February.  The platform has proved to be a tremendous solution for our customers, enabling them to solve complex network challenges and build high-performance, cost-effective, scalable and cloud-ready networks.  Due to strong market demand, the platform was also extended into the United States in addition to deployments in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.  It is this same demand, coupled with new challenges spurred by rapid market advancement, which serve as the driving force behind Pacnet’s commitment to continued innovation.

Keeping Up with Advancing Technology

When our customers spoke, we listened – a nuance that I believe makes Pacnet unique amongst other providers.  In direct response to customer feedback and needs, we will be introducing the next evolution of the PEN platform, what we call PEN 2.0, in mid-September.

PEN 2.0 widens the scope of SDN, allowing a broader set of services in traditional network topologies to be deployed and scaled on demand.  For example, the platform allows carrier customers to create an individual network topology at a very granular level, eliminating complexity to create a clear network infrastructure.  PEN 2.0 further enables hybrid cloud deployment for our customers, facilitating connectivity from enterprise-class data centers and private clouds to any external cloud vendors and allowing customers to burst workloads from one end to another through our on-demand bandwidth.  PEN 2.0 also boasts a series of new features.

With the release of the enhanced platform, Pacnet has become the first carrier to deploy Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) solutions in an OpenStack environment, including vFirewall and vRouter.  The integration of NFV into the OpenStack environment did not come without its challenges.  One issue faced by our development team was the inability to reuse network resources with the OpenStack networking module, Neutron.  For example, upon creating a virtual network, Neutron prevented the removal of a virtual appliance and its replacement with another virtual appliance while still leveraging the original physical infrastructure.  The issue was resolved when our developers accessed and modified the OpenStack source code to our specific needs – a key reason for Pacnet’s initial selection of OpenStack.

PEN 2.0 also features a Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) that connects multiple endpoints for different application environments with varying characteristics to meet specific customer needs. The introduction of VLAN has allowed Pacnet to have a dedicated Ethernet connection directly to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) environment, leveraging the PEN 2.0 platform to extend these circuits anywhere across a customer’s network.

The third and final new feature of PEN 2.0 is the integration of approval chains to ensure secure access to the service platform.  The approval chain allows customers to define their own workflows for the PEN 2.0 environment through the workflow management tool.  Only a series of users or user groups who have been granted permission are allowed to approve workflow / environment modifications.

The Twin Technologies

While SDN separates network control from the physical infrastructure such as routers and switches to allow support of a network fabric across multi-vendor equipment, NFV focuses on virtualizing network components, or decoupling important network functions from physical devices.  Essentially, it is the delivery of a virtualized router within the cloud.

Together, SDN and NFV are synergistic – capable of orchestrating the delivery of a virtual appliance and the network with no human interaction as well as enabling self-provisioning end to end.  SNS Research estimates that the SDN, NFV and virtualization will account for nearly $4B in 2014 alone, growing at a CAGR of nearly 60 percent over the next six years. By 2020, SNS estimates that SDN and NFV will enable service providers to save up to $32B in annual CapEx.

Tell us your requirements and business objectives now, and let our mighty PEN help propel your business.

 

 

How Does Aging Equipment Impact Your Data Center?

Aging data center infrastructure can pose several issues for data center operators  – typically in the areas of dependability, increased maintenance, inefficiency and ultimately, customer trust.  Although most data center equipment is designed to sustain a decade of use, its reliability declines over time – especially critical gear such as Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) and cooling equipment.  This diminishes its ability to meet the growing power, cooling and structural demands of today’s ever-evolving and increasingly sophisticated technology market.

When hardware in your mission-critical data center ages, you run the risk of unexpected system failure, yielding lower to no productivity and hindering not only your profitability and core operations, but also the very business functionality of the customers that have come to rely on you.  Data center downtime also comes with a hefty price tag.  A study by the Ponemon Institute, a firm that conducts independent research on privacy, data protection and information security, found that the average cost of an unplanned data center outage in the US is approximately $7,900 per minute, a 41% increase from the $5,600 it was in 2010.  The average reported incident length was 86 minutes – that’s a bout $690,200 of loss per incident.

Knowing when to repair, replace or upgrade equipment is critical to saving your company the headaches, data loss and financial burdens that plague today’s aging infrastructures.  James Stark, P.E., Electronic Environment Corporation’s (EEC) Engineering and Construction Manager, recently addressed best practices associated with upgrading or replacing critical infrastructure equipment in a webinar.  During this webinar, Mr. Stark discussed the negative impact of aging equipment, the factors that indicate equipment should be replaced, proactive measures you can take to ensure maximum uptime as well as predictive signs of failure such as capacitor leakage and high motor amperage.

Mr. Stark also recommended considering measuring the input and the output of systems’ power consumption as part of general preventative maintenance efforts / programs due to advances in data center technology that have increased uptime and reduced the amount of energy required for usage.  The webinar’s key takeaway to preventing equipment failure is constant, proactive monitoring.  Trending this information over time will allow data center professionals to easily identify when a system needs to be upgraded or replaced.

The EEC webinar also featured representatives from ConEdison, NationalGrid and NSTAR, who highlighted how utility incentive programs can shape these upgrade decisions.  Attendees obtained an overview of these incentive programs as well as field examples and case studies of how the programs reduced capital expenditure for new equipment, shortened payback periods, increased project Return On Investment (ROI), and improved energy efficiency.

To learn more about best practices for replacing, repairing or upgrading your data center equipment, watch EEC’s ‘How Utility Incentive Programs Affect Equipment Upgrades’ webinar by visiting http://www.eecnet.com/Resources/Videos/#incentive.

To schedule a free project consultation or ask specific questions about upgrades or utility incentive programs, please contact an EEC representative at (508) 229-1404 or email info@eecnet.com.

For more information on Electronic Environments Corporation, visit www.eecnet.com.

 

Please welcome Electronic Environments Corporation to Data Center Discovery!

Founded in 1986, Electronic Environments Corporation (www.eecnet.com) provides critical facility services to information technology and telecommunication throughout all phases of data center lifecycle. EEC offers a single source for fully integrated data center design, mission- critical construction, and 24×7 support services. Its proven practices help IT and facilities managers eliminate downtime and reduce energy consumption within data centers and telecom sites. EEC is headquartered in Marlborough, MA and has offices located throughout the United States.

EEC offers a wide range of data center products and services including:

  • Data Center Equipment Providers

o   Generators (1 points)

o   Mechanical Infrastructure (1 points)

o   Power Distribution (1 points)

o   Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) (1 points)

  • Data Center Service Providers

o   Design Build (1 points)

o   Engineering (Consulting) (1 points)

o   Installation Services (1 points)

o   UPS Maintenance (1 points)

For more information about Electronic Environments Corporation please visit their profile in the Data Center Discovery global directory of data center solution providers

For more information about how your company can get listed in the Data Center Discovery global directory of data center solution providers please email becca@datacenterdiscovery.com

Electronic Environments Corporation Expands Mission Critical Construction Services Division and Welcomes Kevin O’Brien to its Executive Team

New innovations and rising demand for data center colocation facilities are driving the rapid growth of today’s data center construction market.  To address these emerging demands and technologies, businesses are looking to optimize and transform their data center operations.   Recent research from TechNavio predicts a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) rise of 21.99 percent in the global data center construction market from 2013 to 2018, while Markets and Markets forecasts the global data center networking market will grow from $12.49 billion in 2013 to $21.85 billion by 2018, a CAGR of 11.8 percent within the five-year period.

Leading mission critical facility management company Electronic Environments Corporation (EEC) recently announced the expansion of its Mission Critical Construction Services Division.  The division enables EEC customers to overcome data center and wireless infrastructure challenges and reach their Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and Service Level Agreement (SLA) objectives leveraging unique, comprehensive and integrated facility services, spanning:

  • Data center construction
  • Consulting
  • Design
  • Comprehensive assessments
  • Maintenance programs
  • Data center efficiency solutions

In addition to the expansion of its Mission Critical Construction Services Division, the organization also appointed a new Division President, Kevin O’Brien.  An industry veteran with over 30 years of engineering and construction experience, Mr. O’Brien brings to EEC in-depth expertise in preconstruction, estimating, procurement, construction and commissioning.   Over the last 15 years, the new Division President has solely focused on mission critical construction, serving a wide array of industries.  Throughout his professional tenure as Director of Mission Critical at Structure Tone and Gilbane, Inc, O’Brien was entrusted with over 13 million square feet of critical construction projects.  He also worked at Bear Stearns, a global investment bank and securities trading and brokerage firm.

EEC has been providing mission critical facility management and turnkey Mission Critical Lifecycle Services (MCLS) to data center and telecom sites across the U.S. for over 28 years.  For more information about Electronic Environments Corporation and its expanded Mission Critical Construction Services Division, visit www.eecnet.com.

For more information about how your company can get listed in the Data Center Discovery global directory of data center solution providers please email becca@datacenterdiscovery.com

Global Colocation and Managed Services Leader Continent 8 Technologies Joins Data Center Discovery

Continent 8 Technologies is focused on the delivery of market-defining Internet technologies, products and services for the global marketplace, providing companies with a secure reliable facility from which to host their on-line operations.

Redundant, low-latency and reliably managed bandwidth, an uninterrupted power supply and advanced managed services, including denial of service security and prevention, are factors which have made Continent 8 a leading data centre and co-location services provider to many industries.

Through the delivery of Internet technologies and customer focused products and services Continent 8 can help keep your business at the very forefront of the new economy.

Continent 8 Technologies offers a number of cloud and colocation solutions to the global business and gaming industries. Services include:

  • Cloud Based Data Storage
            • Colocation (1/4, 1/2 and full racks)
    • DDoS Protection
    • Disaster Recovery
    • Managed Servers
    • Online Backup

For more information about Continent 8 Technologies please visit their free corporate profile in the Data Center Discovery directory of data center solution providers

For more information about how your company can get listed in the Data Center Discovery global directory of data center solution providers please email becca@datacenterdiscovery.com

Please welcome Deerns Consulting Engineers to Data Center Discovery!

Deerns is a multi-disciplinary consulting engineering firm founded in 1928 to provide expert design services in the fields of Energy Supply, Sustainability, MEP systems and Master Planning.

Deerns excels in combining sustainable and innovative concepts with reliable and practical implementation to help our clients build comfortable, safe and sustainable working and living environments.

Deerns has an extremely impressive portfolio of completed data center projects that includes:

  • Over 50 different clients
  • More than 350,000 m2 white space
  • More than 1,000 MW of IT power

You can view some of their innovative and highly efficient data center designs here.

For more information please visit the Deerns Consulting Engineers FREE corporate profile in the Data Center Discovery global directory of data center solution providers.

For more information about how your company can get listed in the Data Center Discovery global directory of data center solution providers please email becca@datacenterdiscovery.com