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GLRPPR Sector Resource: A Measurement Management Technology for Improving Energy Efficiency in Data Centers and Telecommunication Facilities

A Measurement Management Technology for Improving Energy Efficiency in Data Centers and Telecommunication Facilities

Data center (DC) electricity use is increasing at an annual rate of over 20% and presents a concern for the Information Technology (IT) industry, governments, and the society. A large fraction of the energy use is consumed by the compressor cooling to maintain the recommended operating conditions for IT equipment. The most common way to improve the DC efficiency is achieved by optimally provisioning the cooling power to match the global heat dissipation in the DC. However, at a more granular level, the large range of heat densities of today's IT equipment makes the task of provisioning cooling power optimized to the level of individual computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units much more challenging. Distributed sensing within a DC enables the development of new strategies to improve energy efficiency, such as hot spot elimination through targeted cooling, matching power consumption at rack level with workload schedule, and minimizing power losses. The scope of Measurement and Management Technologies (MMT) is to develop a software tool and the underlying sensing technology to provide critical decision support and control for DC and telecommunication facilities (TF) operations. A key aspect of MMT technology is integration of modeling tools to understand how changes in one operational parameter affect the overall DC response. It is demonstrated that reduced ordered models for DC can generate, in less than 2 seconds computational time, a three dimensional thermal model in a 50 kft2 DC. This rapid modeling enables real time visualization of the DC conditions and enables "what if" scenarios simulations to characterize response to "disturbances". One such example is thermal zone modeling that matches the cooling power to the heat generated at a local level by identifying DC zones cooled by a specific CRAC. Turning off a CRAC unit can be simulated to understand how the other CRAC utilization changes and how server temperature responds. Several new sensing technologies were added to the existing MMT platform: (1) air contamination (corrosion) sensors, (2) power monitoring, and (3) a wireless environmental sensing network. All three technologies are built on cost effective sensing solutions that increase the density of sensing points and enable high resolution mapping of DCs. The wireless sensing solution enables Air Conditioning Unit (ACU) control while the corrosion sensor enables air side economization and can quantify the risk of IT equipment failure due to air contamination. Validation data for six test sites demonstrate that leveraging MMT energy efficiency solutions combined with industry best practices results in an average of 20% reduction in cooling energy, without major infrastructure upgrades. As an illustration of the unique MMT capabilities, a data center infrastructure efficiency (DCIE) of 87% (industry best operation) was achieved. The technology is commercialized through IBM System and Technology Lab Services that offers MMT as a solution to improve DC energy efficiency. Estimation indicates that deploying MMT in existing DCs can results in an 8 billion kWh savings and projection indicates that constant adoption of MMT can results in obtainable savings of 44 billion kWh in 2035. Negotiations are under way with business partners to commercialize/license the ACU control technology and the new sensor solutions (corrosion and power sensing) to enable third party vendors and developers to leverage the energy efficiency solutions.


U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

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