How Higher Rack Densities Are Impacting the Rack Space
August 31, 2021
Data center cabinets are having to support advanced, heavier equipment that consumes more power and produces more heat. For successful operations, data center managers should approach the entire rack space as an integrated platform that combines intelligence and structure.
If there is one thing the past year has taught organizations, it is that business continuity is not possible without
connectivity—remote connectivity. For data center managers and operators, this means the stakes have never been higher. Each new generation of data center equipment is more powerful than the previous and can replace multiple legacy technologies. With the demand for data growing quickly, the need to consolidate and expand simultaneously is compounding. How can organizations ensure reliable operations and stay up and running 24/7 while keeping costs down?
Continuous and agile operations, fast and reliable processing, robust storage, and hybrid computing architectures require a holistic approach, one that focuses on simplification, economization, and optimization.
To get there, it is important to know what hurdles to overcome.
Challenge 1: Reliable Power Distribution
Reliable rack PDUs within high-density environments should include, at a minimum, the following features:
Challenge 2: Minimizing Cooling Costs
- Appropriate input circuit to handle required capacity
- Adequate outlet type and density to plug all equipment
- Branch over-current protection to minimize nuisance tripping and downtime
- High ambient temperature rating for reliable operation within hot aisles
- Appropriate functionality level to monitor at the rack or device
- Continuous monitoring to enable proactive notification of impending issues
A reliable containment system inside the cabinet creates a strict front-to-rear or front-to-top pathway for airflow and includes:
- Perforated doors to allow airflow front-to-rear when used with aisle containment.
- Perforated front door and solid rear door to allow front-to-top airflow when used with a ducted exhaust.
- Panel work that seals the sides, top, and bottom of the cabinet.
- Grommets or brush seals over cable openings in top, bottom, and side panels.
- An internal front/rear seal, including a perimeter seal between the mounting rails and the side panels and blanking panels in each unused rack-mount space.
- A top-mount ducted exhaust or an overhead aisle containment to separate supply and return air within the room.
Challenge 3: Ensuring Uptime
Monitoring the power use and availability of power for each piece of equipment gives data center managers the ability to prevent issues before they result in downtime. For high-density environments, it is critical to continually monitor circuit-breaker status. Setting thresholds for all the electrical parameters being monitored (e.g., voltage, current, energy, temperature) ensures data center managers are proactively notified of alarming problems.
Challenge 4: Optimizing Efficiency
For optimizing efficiency, the strategy is to focus on getting the highest return on power utilization for compute power at the lowest cooling cost possible.
Challenge 5: Reducing Deployment Time
Utilizing a vendor that has the capability to integrate the components of the cabinet into a single solution, perform quality checks, and deliver a cabinet ready to be deployed can simplify the supply chain and speed up operations.
New Data Center Cabinet Designs
When considering the main challenges faced by data center managers and operators, the proposition then is to address them not as individual concerns, but rather holistically as equally critical components of a complete, unified cabinet ecosystem.
The Data Center Cabinet, Designed to Speed Deployment
Supporting the hyper-hybrid landscape, functioning with N+2 and sometimes 2N+2 redundancy sites, distributed real-time processing and diverse networking architectures are nothing short of demanding. The path to success: agility and flexibility.
In its 2019 report, Infrastructure Is Everywhere: The Evolution of Data Centers, Gartner states that “infrastructures of the future must be able to change quickly, as markets and providers change.” This means data center operators must provide an environment that inherently enables rapid deployment of services, whenever and wherever needed and at the right price.
To expedite deployment, many companies across the globe are utilizing third-party integrators to populate cabinets with compute, power, and cabling. Then, they transport fully-loaded cabinets to the data center space where they are rolled into position and quickly brought online.
This “need for speed” requires an innovative, robust cabinet design with the end user in mind. This means rails and accessories that are quicker and easier to adjust, cable management solutions that accommodate a variety of applications and a strong cabinet frame architecture that can withstand high weight loads, often exceeding 4000 pounds (≈1814 kg).
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