Data centers can be more flexible with an elastic power infrastructure, says Dave Sterlace, global head of data center technology at ABB in a recent interview with DatacenterDynamics. His point of view is: The current emphasis on hardware redundancy doesn’t always do the job.
Based on the software redundancy that’s at the core of the cloud, and the new thinking around cooling, Sterlace predicts that the next few years will be exciting in terms of new ways of thinking on the facilities side.
From the article:
One approach would be to ditch today’s hard-wired control with its thousands of distinct point-to-point connections, and replace it with a communications platform based on open standards and tried-and-tested Ethernet technology – long used in computer networks.
“[Such an approach] reduces points of failure, makes troubleshooting faster and easier, and reduces commissioning time as well,” said Sterlace. “Additionally, these new open protocols save you from buying into one manufacturer’s version of control and communications. What if they decide to change direction or discontinue?”
Another approach would be to swap out the traditional modular UPS for one containing integrated components and greater intelligence.
“The traditional approach might be to add capacity with a modular UPS, which builds out in 500kW blocks, and modify the upstream and downstream switchgear and PDUs [power distribution units] to match, usually by taking portions of switchgear out of service, working on one side, then the other,” explained Sterlace.
An elastic approach helps to reduce complexity and simplify upgrades, reducing deployment and commissioning time, says Sterlace, while the built-in intelligence makes it possible to tweak power and control schemes via software choices. Moreover, any difference in capital cost is outweighed by labor savings in commission and operations, he said, citing projects done by ABB.