Saturday, 30th May 2020

Five steps to data centre thermal optimisation

With thermal risks still accounting for 29% of unplanned data centre outages, EkkoSense details how organisations need a more structured thermal approach if they’re to kick their addiction to over-cooling.

According to data centre thermal risk experts at EkkoSense, the fact that cooling now accounts for 35% of overall data centre energy consumption suggests that it’s time for a less piecemeal approach to cooling and airflow optimisation.

“With over 20 years’ experience in optimising thermal performance, it’s clear that resolving data centre thermal issues can help organisations to reduce their risk significantly, while also releasing capacity,” commented James Kirkwood, Head of Services at EkkoSense. “Research shows that thermal issues, such as over-heating, now accounts for almost a third of unplanned data centre outages, even though the average utilisation of cooling equipment ( AHU/CRACs/etc.) remains very low.”
“What’s required is a more structured, pragmatic, end-to-end approach to cooling - one that works directly to reduce thermal risk, while at the same time helping organisations to secure about 30% cooling energy savings,” he continued. “To help data centre operators address this challenge, EkkoSense has developed a distinctive 5-Stage approach to help deliver effective thermal strategies that maximise the performance of their cooling assets as part of an ongoing standards compliance management approach.”

EkkoSense’s 5-Stage approach to Data Centre thermal optimisation covers Standards, Measurement, Visualisation, Airflow Recovery and ongoing Cooling Plant Management. Central to the EkkoSense approach is a commitment to managing the data centre environment through a process of continuous improvement based on initial highly accurate thermal benchmarking. The 5-Stage approach covers:
  1. Standards – whether it’s ASHRAE, IEEE, ETSI or the EC code of conduct, standards adherence provides a starting point for best practice optimisation
  2. Measurement – using a broad range of scientific measurement techniques, mapping tools and data analytics provides a benchmark on which to base an agreed programme of works
  3. Visualisation – if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – next generation visualisation techniques are set to revolutionise thermal management
  4. Recover Airflow – by removing key hot and cold spots, organisations can achieve a significant reduction in supply variance and optimisation of in-room airflow.
  5. Manage the cooling plant – with the traditional option of over-cooling becoming less and less sustainable, thermal optimisation can deliver benefits for all types of data centres – from legacy halls through to the latest state-of-the-art buildings
With over 20 years’ experience of working in the most critical environments, EkkoSense’s services team has developed a distinctive approach to optimising data centre environments, delivering reduced risk and energy reduction. Proven across multiple Data Centres from 200 sq m to 2,000 sq m, EkkoSense can deliver rapid payback while helping customers to maximise the performance of cooling assets in the Data Centre.

For one major global financial organisation EkkoSense recently optimised the cooling environment at its European Data Centre, with the following results:
- 32% reduction in cooling energy
- Payback on investment of less than 6 months
- All hot and cold spots removed, ensuring all racks performance within ASHRAE temperature guidelines
- Cooling Plant and floor grille airflows optimised to reduce the amount of cooling required
- Operational risk reduced by completing cooling performance and ‘N+’ cooling resilience testing
- Opportunities to increase IT capacity – with no additional cooling and no risk
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