Data center market trends: more power, more efficiency ...and some common sense

20. April 2011 10:45

A rapidly growing industry looks for ways to optimize performance and exploding energy demand

Data centers already account for over 2% of all electricity consumed globally, and that figure is set to increase exponentially over the next few years. A typical data center consumes 15 to 30 times as much power per square foot as a conventional office building, and the energy density is doubling every five years.

It's hard to overstate the level of growth in this field, which only came into being as a distinct discipline in the last 10 years. In 2008—already ancient history in the data center world—IBM posted $38 billion in revenues from their data center business alone.

Two trends to look for…

Higher voltages: servers and other equipment inside the data center already come with "universal" power supplies—moving to 230v (as is common in European appliances) will allow more power to be delivered to the hardware using existing wiring.

DC power: Servers use DC power, so why not just run your data center on DC? A current lack of standards is being addressed with a view toward a global solution for IEC and NEMA based facilities.

There is also a trend toward using industrial control systems to manage a wide range of data center operations from server configuration to HVAC through a single user interface rather than supporting multiple platforms.

Other common sense practices include siting data centers in temperate climates, operating servers at higher temperatures (but still within their acceptable range), hot/cold aisle containment to direct cold air only where it’s needed, and even liquid cooling.

 

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