Smaller Scales Welcome the Proprietary

It seems that the smaller the overall design and deployment of a data center, the more focused and specialized the equipment and best practices can become.  I am currently working on a small data room (calling it a data center might not accurately convey the size of the project) that will utilize a proprietary cooling strategy, as well as a proprietary power delivery strategy for the racks that are being deployed.

The project was planned with 5kw per rack, which to me seems like a lot of power and density, but in a couple of years, if current industry trends continue for data processing, it might just be a middle of the pack deployment.  In a larger enterprise facility, this kind of power consumption would require a rather large chiller plant and some serious power delivery and backup systems.  But the solution that has been proposed is a packaged UPS/Battery unit that deploys nicely within a data hall space, and is modular for growth if needed in the future.  The interface and manual switching are delightfully simple, so much so that anyone with enough patience to study the reductive one-line diagram could safely manage the use of this hardware.

The cooling proposed is equally clever.  Small CRAC units that fit into a standard cabinets provide cool air right where it is needed the most, eliminating the need for a more traditional underfloor plenum pressurized by CRAC/CRAH units located remotely from the servers.  The space below the raised floor can now be reserved for refrigerant lines and whips, leaving this space clean and free of obstructions.  This is very efficient on a small scale with a small volume to cool.  To ‘top’ it all off, they have decided to deploy a hot air containment system to keep the data room at a pleasant, workable temperature.  It may be small, but it is a microcosm that reflects perfectly the current trends touted by larger data centers splashing the headlines of technology news outlets.


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October 2011
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