Data Centers Still Hot

Without question many of the top players in the computer world realize something has to be done about better cooling for data centers and computer rooms. “We have a non-commercial data center users group to advance the state of the art of the DC [data center] community,” said Scott Dysert, president of Columbus, Ohio-based Liebert North America.

11/01/2006


Without question many of the top players in the computer world realize something has to be done about better cooling for data centers and computer rooms.

“We have a non-commercial data center users group to advance the state of the art of the DC [data center] community,” said Scott Dysert, president of Columbus, Ohio-based Liebert North America. “Heat density is the No. 1 issue.”

Dysert spoke with CSE at Emerson Network Power’s recent AdaptiveXchange conference in Columbus last month. He called the cooling struggles the industry faces an “interesting challenge” for the manufacturing community. “That’s why we started our whole XP platform,” he said. “There’s definitely a need for supplemental cooling and bring the cooling closer to the source.”

That sentiment was certainly echoed by Kevin Kettler, chief technology officer for Dell, who addressed the gathered DC community in a keynote session at the conference. “When in comes to power and thermals in data centers, we must look across the board.”

According to Kettler, in a typical data center, 31% of all power goes toward cooling alone. Nearly another 30% goes to power distribution and 41% goes to the IT equipment itself. Of that equipment, 40% is consumed by the servers themselves.

The goods news, said Dysert, is that manufacturers like Liebert are coming out with some great innovations such as more rack-based cooling and even chip-based cooling. For example, Emerson Network Power recently acquired a new company—Cooligy—for precisely this purpose.

Girish Upadhya, Cooligy’s director of applications engineering, said the technology is fairly straightforward: a heat exchanger, driven by a mechanical pump, is mounted right on the chip and radiates the heat away. The technology is quite ready for the data center world, but the company is developing a way to migrate it to blade servers, as up to 30% greater efficiency can be achieved.

While that’s the most cutting edge, Dysert also sees a need to provide more general and standardized solutions. “At the very top data centers, consulting engineers are on top of these heat density issues, but when you get into smaller computer rooms and network closets, these densities are relatively new and customers want more standardized solutions.”

That’s one reason, he said, why Liebert also recently acquired German-based Knurr to provide more packaged rack and enclosure system for the XD platform. “Originally, these were just holding structures, but now they’re really a place where things converge and will be important building blocks in the future, especially when you start adding capabilities like power monitoring.”

In the meantime, the market is strong with no signs of stopping. “It’s actually accelerating,” he said. “We’re busy enough just keeping up with demand.”





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