Spotlight: USystems and DataBank deliver next gen cooling
As the data centre sector continues to innovate in terms of rack capacity, operators are experiencing increased pain points as industry standard cooling solutions struggle to keep pace with increased demands.
“Data Centre rack capacities of around 4-6kW are becoming less prominent, with kW duties creeping towards 12-15kW. For true high performance computing (HPC), kW duties of 40kW and above are being requested,” writes at in a new whitepaper on the future of cooling in the data centre industry shared with Data Centre Magazine.
ATL1, a leading-edge HPC data centre in the heart of Georgia Tech - Image Courtesy of USystems
He adds that, for the most part, data centre operators are now being forced to cope with these kW increases via bolt-on components like additional vent tiles, aisle containment and in-row chillers, something he notes is not a sustainable solution.
These bolt-on components can significantly impact efficient data centre architecture, as cold aisles get wider and cooling equipment takes up more and more valuable space. “Space in a data center equals revenue,” he explains. “Therefore, reducing this space has a serious impact on the revenue and utilisation of real estate for the business.”
The fact that, for the past 30 years, cooling “has not been a subject of great innovation” is becoming an increasingly thorny issue for operators. USystems believes it has part of the answer to this puzzle, a solution which it demonstrated as part of .
The project involved DataBank constructing a purpose-built data centre for Georgia Tech in Atlanta. The facility, ATL1, is located in the CODA building and is one of the most advanced data centres in the US, partly due to the unique demands placed upon it by the Georgia Tech Supercomputer. ATL1 will be used to support data-driven research in astrophysics, computational biology, health sciences, computational chemistry, materials and manufacturing, and more - including the study of efficiency in HPC systems.
ATL1 is also a site of data centre cooling innovation, courtesy of ATL1’s new ColdLogik rear door cooling system. The solution uses waste energy emitted from servers in a cabinet, exchanging it by heating naturally cold water that runs through a closed-loop system in each cabinet’s rear door. The water is then heated by the cabinet air, which pushes it out of the facility as new cold water is cycled back in, keeping cabinets continuously cool far more efficiently than traditional CRAC/H cooling techniques.
The ColdLogik system, according to USystems, consumes 90% less energy, while giving DataBank access to 80% more floor space than traditional cooling solutions.
“Traditional data centres are these big, heavy, clunky facilities. If they’re not at capacity then they can be running at PUEs in the 2s or 3s. It’s terrible,” said in a recent episode of the . “With the liquid cooling rear door solution, I can run each individual cabinet at a PUE of lower than 1.2, and that's amazing.”
Sustainability and PUE reduction in data centres
The data centre industry is at a crossroads. As demand for colocation, hyperscale cloud, and edge solutions continues to rise, operators and enterprises are also facing up to the reality that sustainable design and operating practice are a mission critical component of the modern data centre. Going green is no longer an optional extra.
Data centres are becoming an increasingly critical foundation that underpins the modern world, and the demand for them continues to grow exponentially each year. Data centres must remain in constant operation in order to provide the services for which customers depend on them.
This mission critical need, combined with the sector-wide push towards reduced energy consumption and carbon footprint throughout the industry, is making the search for innovative evaporative media solutions that keep systems running at peak efficiency an equally mission critical priority.
The two main sources of energy consumption in a modern data centre are its IT equipment and the cooling infrastructure used to keep that equipment cool. A 2017 study found that energy consumption as the direct result of cooling data centre IT equipment can amount to over 40% of the total energy consumption in a facility. From air cooling to liquid and evaporative chillers, data centre operators, finding the right cooling solution for your facility is a top-of-mind goal for any data centre operator.
Portacool: keeping it Kuul
Based in Center, Texas, Portacool is a portable evaporative cooling solutions firm that has been pushing the boundaries of mission critical infrastructure cooling technology since it entered the market in 1990.
Through constant embodiment of its five brand pillars - Safety & Liability, Total Cost of Ownership, Productivity & Performance, Sustainability & Social Responsibility, and Life & Comfort Enhancing Solutions - Portacool has grown steadily over the past 30 years, continually reinforcing its reputation for industry-leading cooling solutions.
Portacool’s solutions have been successfully applied throughout the agricultural and horticultural, manufacturing, industrial, business, entertainment, sports, home, and hobby industries - “anywhere cooling is needed and traditional air conditioning is impractical or cost prohibitive.”
The company’s sub-brand, Kuul, is Portacool’s answer to the growing need for reliable, sustainable cooling solutions in the data centre sector. Portacool manufactures three series of evaporative media – Kuul Control, Kuul Vitality and Kuul Comfort. Kuul Control is used in data centres, power generation and HVAC systems. Kuul Vitality is utilised primarily in the horticulture, poultry and swine industries. Kuul Comfort is exclusively made for usage in Portacool-branded portable evaporative coolers.
Kuul can help data centre operators lower their PUE dramatically, increasing the environmental sustainability of their facilities significantly as a result of its rigid evaporative media solutions.