We as a race have always strived to make our hardships easier. What we call inventions today are actually solutions to the hardships that were prominent some years ago. Today we are in the 21st century and have evolved from letters to e-mails, wired telephones to cellphones and much more. In this is pursuit of exploration, the world has been moving towards ‘Digitization’ rapidly.
Digitization has been a continuous process of evolvement and it continues to be so. We have been seeing, using, interacting with and promoting digitization directly or indirectly, day-in day-out in our lives. It is important to question where and how we are achieving this digitization. Where does the processing of data take place? How do we achieve this uninterrupted environment of digitization?
There are special environments that are built to achieve uninterrupted and high volume data processing. They are called ‘Data Centers’. The Data Centers have IT equipment like servers, storage and network to ensure processing and transmission of data. They have the capability to process and transmit enormous amounts of data. Be it 30 petabytes (3 x 10,00,000 GB) of data generated by ‘Large Hadron Collider’ or the data generated in ‘Space Mission to Mars’ or even as small as an image you just sent your friend. To sum it up, a Data Center is a place that runs round the clock and is responsible for all the digital equipment and services that you are using. This blog describes the systems that fuel the operations of the data center…
Now that we know what a Data Center is, let’s get familiar with the systems that power up the Data Center and make them sustainable. In IT industry, such Data Centers are often termed as Critical Systems, IT Infrastructure systems or Power and Cooling Systems.
For any Data Center to function efficiently, it is essential to build robust power and cooling systems capable of performing in adverse conditions and delivering the best at all times. These systems mainly comprise of power and cooling systems. The power systems provide sufficient and conditioned uninterrupted power to the Data Center. The cooling systems eliminate the heat generated due to continuous processing and also control the environment of the Data Center by optimizing humidity and dust levels. These two systems i.e. power and cooling need to work in conjunction to achieve the best efficiency and minimize downtime risks in the Data Centers.
The critical systems in a data center are evolving at a fast pace achieving more efficiency and output. The systems have grown in operation and reduced in space. High efficient power and cooling systems help reduce operational expenses of a Data Center and increase reliability. It is essential for any Data Center provider to focus and invest on these systems to achieve a satisfied clientele and relieve operational stress. The power and cooling systems that support a Data Center should have sufficient redundancy to take care of mechanical and human failures.
If we were to describe the above paragraph technically, the power systems should have multiple current travel paths. A load and discrimination study should be conducted to achieve a proper protection system. Appropriate voltage levels should be maintained, monitored and regulated at all times to keep critical equipment like UPS systems, Power Panels, Cables and Server Rack power supplies healthy. Every equipment installed in a power system should be in redundancy with automatic failovers. There should be contingency plan for all equipment inside a Data Center. If your power system is healthy then your Data Center is healthy. Presence of protection systems like SPDs (Surge Protection Device) is a must. A monitoring system and trained professionals to keep a continuous check of the systems are musts too.
The cooling systems are equally important as power systems. IT equipment need continuous and regulated environment to function. This environment is regulated by cooling systems. Cooling systems are responsible to remove heat, maintain appropriate humidity and reduce dust levels to keep the IT equipment healthy. There should be redundancy for cooling systems as well. Significant amount of heat generation takes place during failure of a cooling system, leading to shutdown of IT equipment and hampering of IT operations. Efficient cooling systems should be deployed to achieve proper cooling and power saving. A monitoring system and trained professionals to keep a continuous check of the systems are musts too.
I purposely repeated the last sentence of the above two paragraphs. The reason being any system, irrelevant to this topic, present in this world needs supervision, control and monitoring. If you are following this, you are already eliminating many failure possibilities even before occurrence. Not all failures and breakdowns happen due to immediate reasons. Most of them, originate in the system, grow in the system over a course of time. They surface once the tolerance of system goes down to zero. If you do not monitor, observe or control and if you happen to turn a blind eye towards it, you are nurturing failure and thus, you are the reason behind the failure and not a faulty equipment or system. If you check, monitor and control, then you control the system’s behaviour and not vice versa.
Power systems for Data Centers have been evolved from AC (Alternating Current) systems to DC (Direct Current) systems. This is a huge leap in power systems of Data Centers which will lead to reduced power requirement, lesser losses and a healthier system. Along with this, cooling systems have evolved from traditional to hybrid and have become more efficient and environment friendly. Implementation of DC powered Data Centers will cut down the costs of power, reduce cooling requirements and increase server density in Data Centers.
This search for excellence is unending and will continue till the existence of mankind, evolving every day. We at ESDS, believe in creating, implementing and operating on disruptive innovations because we believe we can make a difference.
Want to know more about Data Centers and Critical Systems, write to us at [email protected]
Want to be involved in a digital transformation process and if you think you have the curiosity to work and explore Data Centers and Critical systems, write to us at [email protected].
- Data Centers – Powerhouses For Modern-Day Digitization - March 7, 2018