Tag Archives: green data center

Show and tell: Pictures from the #datacenter

I thought I’d do something a little different today and put up some pictures and info about our green data center and cloud computing infrastructure. Enjoy!

Data center specs:

Power: 48VDC 800A(primary), 130VDC (available), 208Y120VAC (available)
Power density: 24KW per cabinet
Cooling: direct free air cooling with conventional backup
Power backup: multiple battery strings with greater than 8 hour run time
Cabinet type: vertical chimney
Lighting: T8 fluorescent with electronic ballast

An average set of cabinets:

(These are Rittal vertical chimney cabinets.)

The heart of the energy efficient 800A 48VDC power plant:

A 48VDC distribution panel:

(This is a redundant A-B dual feed panel that feeds subpanels in individual cabinets.)

A Peco II 48VDC inverter:

(The inverter allows us to run the small amount of equipment that’s only available with AC power from the same 48VDC power plant.)

Cloud computing servers:

(These are an example of the servers supporting our cloud computing operations. These are 2x AMD Opteron, 1U, 1/2 length case.)

Email or call me or visit the SwiftWater Telecom web site for green data center services today.


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Tuesday data center tidbits: #cloudcomputing negative hype, Yahoo data center cooling.

First up today is reading about the security PR problem of cloud computing. This just goes to show that hype can be spread both ways. Don’t like something? Nothing spreads FUD like the Internet, throw out a lot of vague “well it COULD happen!” and watch the chaos. The fact is that the largest risk to anyone on a cloud computing virtual machine is exactly the same as it is for a dedicated server. Bad system administration practices are still be easiest way to violate a server’s security.

Next is reading about the Yahoo computing “coop” data center design being the shape of things to come. Using clerestory monitors for cooling is more like shades of the past (these are clerestory monitors, NOT cupolas). The clerestory monitor has been around for 150+ years on the New England textile mills, among others (I’ve written previously on the blog about repurposing former mill space for data centers).

Last is the piece about the Yahoo data center in upstate New York. The takeaway point from this is that traditional data center raised floor takes 3x the amount of fan horsepower because the air flow is so lousy. Why in the heck would anyone these days put raised floors in a data center?

Email or call me or visit the SwiftWater Telecom web site for cloud computing services and green data center services!


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Friday data center tidbits.

I was just reading today about why it’s green to repair IT equipment. The sad fact is, most data center gear is not repairable at a level lower than swapping major components such as full boards and that’s only going to get worse with newer manufacturing techniques (you trade off reduced cost and reduced resource usage up front for not being able to repair it). Getting the most life out of servers and other data center gear is certainly a smart thing to do, but when it reaches the point where the cost of operating it isn’t paying for itself, it’s time for it to take a hike.

Next up is the piece about cloud computing lifting business out of the muck. The key point here for me is that IT departments are under pressure to provide rapid responses. Like cloud computing or not, waffle and fudge over vague cloud security boogeymen, preach the evil conspiracy of cloud computing (Richard Stallman), but this is going to happen and it’s going to pick up steam. Run with the bulls or end up road pizza.

If you want to stay ahead of the bulls, email or call me or visit the SwiftWater Telecom web site for cloud computing services!


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Friday data center tidbits.

First up today is yet another story about data center AC vs DC power efficiency, with the usual sprinkling of BS. Required cable size is based on voltage vs current, not whether the power is AC or DC. Higher voltage means lower current means smaller conductors. AC or DC power isn’t a factor. The idea that larger cables used in lower voltage DC power are more susceptible to arcing because of their size is ridiculous. Any well designed data center DC power plant will be just as safe as any AC power system.

Second up is the story about Horizon Data Center Solution’s new expansion. The tidbit here is not that they’re expanding, but that they’re measuring the facility in megawatts worth of space, not square feet worth of space. Physical space in the data center is becoming a very secondary measurement, it’s all about the power now.

Email or call me or visit the SwiftWater Telecom web site for green data center DC power engineering, construction, and operation that saves money without the hype.


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Monday data center tidbits.

First up today is the story pondering whether green requirements will hurt co-location providers. There are a couple of things to look at here. First, co-location facilities can’t cut “their” power usage unilaterally. You can’t expect co-lo facilities to cut their power usage the way other facilities can because they don’t have control over the equipment housed there (metered power is the best way to encourage green behavior). Second, claiming that co-lo’s aren’t reliable because one had 2 generators fail (but kept the customers running from the 3rd) is ridiculous. That’s why you have n+1 (or n+2 in this case) for one of the most fallible pieces of equipment in the data center. It’s a little disconcerting they went that deep into the redundancy, but even the big boys have trouble with generators (witness IBM and Air New Zealand last year).

Next up is the post mortem on the Google AppEngine power failure. It’s bad enough to have the power failure in the first place, but not to have anyone who knew enough about the system to make a sensible decision to failover to backup is just silly. When in doubt, you can never go wrong failing over to backup (unless your backup dies too).

Stay tuned this week for an article on diagnosing cloud computing failures and reducing the impact of them!

Email or call me or visit the SwiftWater Telecom web site for cloud computing services and green data center services.


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Saturday data center tidbits.

Up today is a piece about lamenting the state of Ethernet. There’s no argument that massive data center loads like Facebook’s need all the network capacity that can be thrown at them and 10GB Ethernet is almost certainly not enough. What struck me was the part about the college network’s wiring closets running at 98 deg F and the claim that there was nothing wrong with the HVAC, the switches were just using too much power. Number one, this is just insanely bad network design. Number two, how do you design for what you wished the equipment would draw and then blame the equipment when reality strikes? They say they can’t approve purchases for needed networking equipment when the wiring closets are running at 98 deg F. This is the biggest case of bass-ackwards engineering I’ve ever seen.

Email or call me today for data center and network engineering that isn’t in denial.


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More green data center DC power myths.

I’ve just been reading about the value of DC power in the data center. in this post, I’m going to correct some of the strange myths and egregious errors that are spread about DC power.

“But the downside is that DC power can require much larger wires to carry the current, thus creating power buildup and arcing that can endanger IT equipment and staff.”

Where do I start on this one. Power does not “build up” in the large conductors of DC power systems, any more than power “builds up” at your unused AC outlet. Not using the DC power doesn’t mean it’s going to build up, over flow, and arc. Mark this one as completely ridiculous.

“.. added that moderately high-voltage DC power poses some safety concerns, where the power can build up and arc.”

Once again, DC power doesn’t “build up”. Any high voltage distribution system that’s inadequately insulated has the potential to do this whether it’s AC or DC. I’ve seen catastrophic failures in common 240VAC and 480VAC circuits that resulted in melted bus bars, holes burned in armored cable, and total destruction of equipment (look at the Fisher Plaza fire where they destroyed 4000A aluminum bus bars).

What does affect the tendency to arc is jacking the voltage up and that’s just the same whether it’s AC or DC, there’s no great mystery to that. There’s a tendency to want to use high voltages to reduce wire size (higher voltage=less current=smaller wire). I myself much prefer to use long time industry standard 48VDC power, which is touch safe and has an extremely small arc over distance.

“”Four-hundred volts DC may be more dangerous than 400-volts AC,” he said.”

In a properly constructed DC power system, there’s no appreciable difference in safety between AC and DC, expect for some possible difference in coming in contact with the energized conductors. This point is really moot since you do NOT want to be coming in contact with either live 400VDC or 400VAC. Either way, someone is getting hurt.

Is there any safety hazard in the DC power plant? Yes, the battery string (exactly the same hazard that a battery equipped AC UPS has as well). Short the unfused battery leads or drop an uninsulated tool into the bus bars and you’re going to be missing some wire or a tool, completely. Batteries can put out 9,000+ amps of current in a fraction of a second in a short condition.

Finally, there’s the efficiency issue. Comparing a DC power plant to a conventional double conversion (or “online”) UPS is not in doubt. The UPS systems that fare better against DC are the type with “eco mode” (the old “standby” UPS). In normal operation, the eco mode UPS powers the load directly from the AC power, so it doesn’t use the power hogging inverter. Of course, this means the data center equipment has to stand the switch over to battery and the efficiency looks just as bad as a double conversion UPS when it’s running from battery.

Call or email me or visit the SwiftWater Telecom web site today and we’ll design a green DC power plant for your data center that will be SAFE and EFFICIENT!


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