Upgrading Existing Breakers for Data Centers and its Effect on Energy Efficiency

No one is protected from the rapidly increasing pace of technological advancement and data centers are no exception. Recent research carried out by The Aperture Research Institute (ARI) (2007) showed that over a third of data centers were more that 4 years old. It is therefore not surprising that many center managers are dealing with an increasing internal and external demand concerning an update of equipment like breakers for data centers in their facilities.

An Aging Data Center Breaker for Data Centers

The main problem associated with an aging data center is the fact that the center generally cannot deal with the energy, space and cooling demands of modern hardware. This results in an energetically inefficient center from all angles. It can also mean that the facility is possibly at greater risk regarding outages and consequent component damage.

One remedy for this problem is to completely renovate the center. This basically allows the facility to be redesigned and refitted from scratch. The advantage of this is that many data centers have their components haphazardly arranged, as floor plans in these facilities generally result from incremental deployment, rather than a prepared arrangement. This renovation allows, not only for increased floor space, but it also gives the center the opportunity to redesign the cooling system.

Energetically Expensive

The cooling system within a data center and breakers for data centers is arguably the most energetically expensive component in the facility. Some cooling systems have been found to utilize up to 70 percent of a centers’ incoming energy. When the floor layout of a data center is preconceived and well executed cold and warm air within a center can be separated into rows between the racks, which can substantially cut down on cooling costs and energy expenditure. Air conditioning units can also be strategically placed for maximum efficiency during operation. Often however, a center renovation is out of the question as the company or institute can’t afford to close, or partially close, the center for the time needed to carry out these upgrades.

Advantageously, a few options exist for updating a data center without significantly disturbing operation. One of the most simple of these options is to monitor energy usage using common energy monitoring and data collection methods in association with calculation and comparison techniques, such as the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) ratio. Once problem areas have been diagnosed regarding energy loss or over expenditure, specialized in-house solutions can be developed.

Simple Method Updates

Another simple method to update a data center and breakers for data centers, which generally follows a problem diagnosis, is the upgrade of individual IT components such as: upgrading to servers and monitors with power saving functions; or updating non- IT components such as transformers, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), power wiring, and lighting in order to save on wasted electricity. ‘Energy star rated’ components can also be sourced to promote further energy efficiency within the center.

Although the renovation of existing facilities is the environmentally friendly option when discussing the modernization of data facilities, often the growth rate of a company or institute calls for the construction of a new center. This usually takes place when a company finds that even when renovated the existing center couldn’t meet their IT needs. In this case building a new facility is the only sensible option.