Wednesday data center tidbits: no power backup in the #datacenter?

First up today is about the idea of building a data center with no power backup at all. This is about as boneheaded a thing as I’ve ever seen. Does it REALLY pay you to not only duplicate but run extra infrastructure so you can save a bit in equipment costs by letting a data center fail? What about the cost of restoring all the downed equipment? Or the damage to equipment from wild power fluctuations that a battery backed system (such as our 48V DC power plant in our data center) would absorb? Squeaky red noses to Yahoo on this one.

Next up is a piece about improving data center airflow. What caught my eye was this, “…flowing air from the CRAC unit, through specialized floor tiles and into the server fans…”. Attempting to tout cooling efficiency with a hopelessly obsolete raised floor is an automatic FAIL.

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2 responses to “Wednesday data center tidbits: no power backup in the #datacenter?

  1. It’s very easy to to clean a power feed from fluctuations without a UPS and I think Yahoo is on a much larger scale that what you’re used to. They already need diversity, they already have multiple footprint datacenter that provide the redundancy for failover incase of power outage and they have their own massive network that can absorb the load… so the real question is WHY build with all this extra power consuming equipment that you don’t need?

    This makes sense, but then again I understand their scale and architecture, I don’t think you do.

    • I think I understand the numbers of this quite well, thank you. Regardless of scale, the fact is that you have to be running a LOT of redundant facility 24×7 to absorb the uncontrolled shutdown of a single data center, not to mention the possibility of losing more than one at a time. Let’s see, let’s compare the 50% efficiency loss to operate a second duplicate set of equipment vs the 20% efficiency loss of a conventional double conversion UPS (far less for data center DC power).

      It makes far more sense to me that their power cost is so cheap that the difference in efficiency isn’t the issue. The gain for them is in avoiding the capital outlay for the power backup equipment. I have no doubt it costs them less to run unproductive redundancy than to install appropriate power backup. Financially beneficial it probably is, green it isn’t.

      And, of course, since the vaunted PUE metric doesn’t measure the work actually being accomplished by the data center IT load, it makes the data center efficiencies look real good.


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