Upgrading Power and Panelboards for Data Centers

Many data centers built before 2001 are likely no longer able to properly power and cool their IT systems. According to recent statistics, today’s data centers and server rooms consume up to 30 times more energy per square foot than an “average” office building. And that number will continue to climb as more and more companies have their own data centers and server rooms. Many business owners report their biggest hurdle to expansion is how to properly handle their ongoing energy operating costs that are related to their data center.

panelboards for Data Centers

Companies that house their own data centers can hit their power limit quickly, which is why when expanding their server capacity without completing their due diligence and conducting a full power audit can be a big mistake. There are a number of different technologies available to help properly handle a data center’s power. One of the most important pieces of equipment to help handle power flow is the utilization of panelboards for data centers.

There are a number of different pieces of equipment that are utilized in a data center to help protect the valuable data housed within costly servers. A complete power distribution system should include UPS (uninterrupted power supply) units, appropriate-level cables and connecters, and panelboards for data centers. Regardless of the size of a company’s data center, these different pieces of equipment should always be included. A perfect example is selecting the appropriate amperage level for an upgraded data center. It is always important to not just build for the current ampere, but consider potential future usage levels.

A commonly-held belief is that IT can just “add on” to whatever is currently part of the data center without concern. This is, however, not the case. Typical power components do not always have all the right capabilities for today’s high-tech IT devices. Historically, a “non IT” panelboard can handle approximately 65,000 watts of power, which is enough to handle 10 to 12 blade servers. This means there could be significant power restrictions when using old panelboards for data centers. Therefore, it is important to have a professional power consultant come and complete a full audit of all IT systems currently in use and anticipate business growth in order to avoid potential issues down the road with any new panelboards for data centers.

It is also a good idea to add data center monitoring to any changes or planned upgrades. Monitoring systems will help track server and resource usage, which can help identify power and utilization peaks. Ultimately, this information can help gain important insight into the overall health of a business’ data center.
Upgrading a Data Center

Ultimately, planning a data center change or upgrade is a daunting process. It is important to take a thoughtful and organized approach when considering every aspect of an upgrade. This should include an audit of the power required for all systems in use. It is also important to not “push” the power grid to the limit. This will make sure the data center has a proper cushion of power.