The data center has undergone a number of major changes over the years, from mainframes to client/server computing to web-scale computing. This evolution occurred over decades, but in recent years the changes have been fast and furious. The emergence of virtualization and the cloud along with trends such as mobility, converged infrastructure and big data are redefining the data center.
One consequence of the accelerated evolution of the data center has been a dramatic increase in density. In order to achieve efficiencies and economies of scale, organizations are packing in more kilowatts per rack than ever before. While the typical data center once featured 4kW to 5kW per rack, densities of 8kW to 12kW have become common, with more than 20kW per rack for compute-intensive applications such as big data analytics.
In addition to the increased power consumed by equipment, today’s high-density data center generates more heat and thus requires more cooling. A 2007 study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that that U.S. data centers consumed some 61 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in 2006 — or 1.5 percent of the nation’s total electricity consumption. Although year-over-year increases in energy consumption have slowed somewhat, there’s no question that those numbers are much higher today.
Yet green data center practices are primarily associated with Facebook, eBay and similar organizations that operate extremely large data centers. Other organizations have been slower to take steps to reduce energy consumption in their IT environments.
As organizations rethink their data center infrastructures, green design practices should be considered. In many cases, the cost of green design is comparable to traditional design but with a much higher ROI. It also reduces emissions, waste, and space, power and water requirements, helping organizations meet their corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Although many organizations arrange equipment in a hot-aisle/cold-aisle configuration to reduce cooling requirements, air mixing often occurs. In order to meet the airflow demands of today’s high-density data centers, organizations need an aisle-containment system to ensure that hot air and cold air are completely isolated. DAMAC’s aisle-containment system uses twin-wall polycarbonate panels in a flexible design that can quadruple cooling efficiency in the densest environments.
DAMAC racks also play a key role in green IT strategies. Engineered for some of the world’s largest data centers, our racks ensure unimpeded airflow so that data center temperatures can be raised without harming equipment.
DAMAC designs also provide more mountable space within a standard rack footprint, enabling organizations to scale their data centers while saving space. In fact, a high-density racking system can reduce floor space requirements by up to 60 percent. Less square footage means a lower overall carbon footprint for the data center.
While the emergence of the next-gen data center is being driven by speed, efficiency and agility, green design has become increasingly important. DAMAC can help you incorporate the practices green IT leaders into your data center infrastructure.