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3 colocation data center challenges (and solutions)


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Key requirements colocation or multi-tenant data centers (MTDCs) consider in their offerings are: affordability, low operating cost, sustainability, reliability and agility.

But, they have three common challenges to which we’ve outlined the solutions.

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3 colocation data center challenges (and solutions)

  1. 1. 3 solutions for colocation data center challenges
  2. 2. Issue #1: Low UPS loading To preserve reliability, many MTDCs utilize redundant UPS and/or 2N architectures in which multiple units operate at partial loads, so if one device fails or requires maintenance, the others can quickly compensate. These types of deployment schemes guard against downtime, but also lower energy-efficiency. Lightly loaded UPSs waste more power and produce more heat than fully loaded UPSs.
  3. 3. Solution #1A: Use variable, modular energy-efficiency UPSs Variable, modular UPSs allow data center operators to load a few modules heavily rather than several ones lightly for maximum energy efficiency. The unneeded modules are on standby. If an issue cause load requirements to jump suddenly, the UPS automatically and immediately activates the standby modules for continuous uptime.
  4. 4. Multi-mode UPSs support two operating modes. In normal operation, the UPS runs in a highly-efficient energy saver mode up to 99% efficient, but if power conditions fall outside pre-determined tolerances, the device automatically and immediately transitions back to double-conversion mode. When power quality returns to acceptable levels, the UPS transitions back into energy saver mode. Solution #1B: Use multi-mode energy-efficiency UPSs
  5. 5. Issue #2: Extreme operating temperatures MTDC data center clients make extensive use of virtualization and blade servers. Though both technologies radically increase a data center’s compute density, they also generate enormous amounts of heat in smaller spaces. Dispersing that heat can be a difficult and expensive task.
  6. 6. Solution #2: Utilize economizers MTDC owners are increasingly deploying smaller computer room air conditioning (CRACs), eliminating them altogether or using them only as backups for more energy-efficient cooling technologies such as economizers. The two basic kinds of economizers are water-side economizers and air-side economizers. Which kind of economizer an MTDC uses is based on variables like location, but almost every MTDC will benefit from the “free cooling” economizers provide.
  7. 7. Issue #3: Inefficient cooling MTDCs housed in older buildings often rely on “chaos” air distribution to keep temperatures within acceptable limits. In such cooling schemes, CRAC units around the perimeter of the server room pump out massive volumes of chilled air that cools IT equipment and helps push hot server exhaust air toward the facility’s return air ducts. Chaos air distribution decreases cooling efficiency and drives up electrical bills.
  8. 8. Solution #3: Implement an air containment solution By deploying an air containment solution, MTDC operators can lower their cooling costs by some 30% or more. As an added benefit, air containment solutions improve reliability by protecting servers from thermal shutdown caused by hot exhaust air. They also enhance flexibility by giving facility operators the freedom to position server racks in the way best suits their needs, rather than in rigidly- aligned, uniformly-arranged rows required by hot aisle/cold aisle arrangements.
  9. 9. Read more about energy-efficiency in multi-tenant data centers in this white paper.