High-Density Power Infrastructure | Rackmount Solutions, Inc.

Today’s high-density data centers also need a high-density power infrastructure. Why are high-density PDUs and other power equipment necessary?

With the majority of servers and other equipment that is on the market today being designed for high-density applications, it has become absolutely crucial to ensure that data center managers are knowledgeable regarding the density requirements of their power products. A rack that is populated with anywhere from 8kW to 10kW worth of electronics can be defined as a high density rack. However, many modern data centers are only designed to support approximately 2kW to 4kW per rack. This is troublesome from the standpoint of power, as exceeding the intended density of the rack can cause the equipment to fail due to either overheating or overloading, and can also eliminate any redundancy that your system may have had. The result is, at best, downtime, and at worst, downtime accompanied by damaged electronics.

Utilizing high-density power products such as PDU’s and UPS’s will help to ensure that the power coming into your rack is appropriately distributed among the equipment in the rack. Having Power Distribution Racks (PDR’s) along the rows is also a beneficial addition to high-density data centers; as the form factor of IT equipment shrinks, the number of power cables within the rack increases, and often becomes unmanageable. It can also become costly to make the necessary power drops into each cabinet in these types of environments. PDR’s come into play, which allow you to distribute three-phase power to the racks in that row, providing more power with fewer cords, in turn optimizing thermal management).

What are some of the most common mistakes made when setting up a high-density power infrastructure?

When creating a high-density power infrastructure, one common mistake is to rely too heavily on single-phase, 120V power distribution units within the racks. Data center staff often opt to use 120V power products because they cost less than three-phase, 208V products. However, while they often work just fine in standard density applications, they do not perform quite as well for high-density ones. High-power PDU’s will allow you to connect more pieces of equipment to a single strip, effectively increasing the supply of power yet maintaining a lower ratio of copper and losses than would occur if utilizing multiple low-power PDU’s. Overusing low-power PDU’s also creates excess cabling which begets poor thermal management.

What are the dangers of not making sure your power infrastructure can keep pace with the servers and other equipment you’re putting into your data center?

By not implementing at least a high-density zone into your data center, you run the risk of limiting your growth potential, since much of today’s newer IT equipment cannot effectively operate on a standard density power design. When you look into integrating newer equipment into your racks, you will find that the required surplus power might not exist, prohibiting you from adding new equipment. Or, you may add new equipment anyhow, and then begin to experience downtime due to equipment failures or a lack of redundancy. It’s likely not required that you redesign your entire data center to a high-density infrastructure, but incorporating a zone at the minimum will allow you to utilize newer, more energy efficient equipment as needed.

What should readers look for in high-density power equipment?

A quality UPS or PDU will offer both a local and a remote load meter, which will enable you to view the current load, and will also alert you if the recommended load is being exceeded, or is heading towards it. These systems will also have reporting functions so that you can review historic power consumption trends, which is beneficial if you are looking to implement new equipment – this allows you to pinpoint where you have the excess power to do so. Generally, on-line UPS’s are ideal for high density applications, and will have features such as voltage and frequency regulation, self-testing to ensure that the internal batteries are all functional, and a scalable design.

If you were going to provide how-to steps (or 3-4 key tips) related to implementing a high-density power infrastructure, what would you recommend?

First, you should review your current power consumption, assuming you’ve implemented “smart” PDU’s and UPS’s to do so. This will help you evaluate your future needs, and allow you to determine if any of your existing racks require a density upgrade. From here on out, you should expect that all future equipment purchases will serve to create a high density infrastructure.

Secondly, by anticipating the future growth of the data center, you can design a high-density zone; according to Gartner, Inc., this zone should accommodate approximately 20-25% of the floor space in your data center.

Once you’ve determined the size of the zone (number of rack it will contain, etc.), you can being to research and procure the appropriate high-density power products!

If you would like to talk more about high-density power, call us toll free at 1-866-207-6631 or email sales@rackmountsolutions.net .



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