High Density Data Centre Design

High density data centre design is a growing requirement for many facilities. With the ever increasing use of cloud architecture, virtualisation software, blade servers and other power intensive equipment data centre managers and IT professionals are increasing the utilisation of their IT hardware.  This generally results in more energy and space efficient operations; however it also increases the power requirement of the average data rack in their facilities.

Over the last five years we have seen average rack power requirements rise from around 2kW to around 4.5kW. Much of the industry is talking about average densities being around 6kW however in our experience, as an average IT load across a data centre, this is not yet the case. What is not in question is that the average power consumption and heat output per rack have increased significantly. And this rise has resulted in the standardisation of aisle containment solutions for any new data centre. This technology, whether in hot or cold aisle form, increases energy efficiency while eliminating hot spots.

In addition to the increase in the average load per rack we have also seen a much bigger increase in the load for a small number of “high density” racks, either within a dedicated facility or housed with other racks of lower density. Although different organisations have slightly different bands, it is generally accepted that any individual data rack IT load above 14kW is deemed high density and while this categorisation is useful it still creates a very large band for systems to sit within. Over the past four years Convergent Technology  has designed, project managed and delivered high density data centre facilities with cabinet IT loads ranging from 14kW to 45kW.  Some organisations refer to a further category labelled Very High density coming into place at around 20kW. However this does still leave a large range above it.

Facilities that support loads of up to 18kW can often utilise relatively traditional cooling methodologies; however from around 15kW there are significant advantages associated with using alternative cooling systems designed specifically for high density racks.

If you are restricted to deploying “off the shelf” IT hardware, a technology such as direct rear door heat exchangers can be used in conjunction with a standard data rack. This leaves you completely free to use any hardware of your choice. Rear door systems can support IT loads of up to 60kW per rack. Due to increased air on to coil temperatures rear door solutions can result in very energy efficient solutions. On a number of facilities we have achieved annualised power utilisation effectiveness ratios of under 1.18 within tier II & III environments, whilst staying within ASRAE recommended environmental bands.

If you have more flexibility with hardware selection other technologies such as direct chip cooling also present exceptional energy efficiency and very high density support.

Like all data centre design solutions it is essential to establish your drivers, requirements and constraints before choosing a particular path or route forward.

Working with our Design Engineers, Consultants and Project Managers gives you the opportunity to benefit from our extensive experience of high density data centre solutions. By working with you we will establish the route forward that most effectively achieves your projects objectives and organisation’s goals.