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Data Center Energy Efficiency

As technology shifts and grows more and more power is used and more attention is being paid to energy efficiency improvement in data centers. Data centers use a lot of power and a lot of costly energy so creating a more efficient data center can save a lot of money without sacrificing power reliability. Energy efficiency is not only important to a business’ bottom line but also the the environment. Data centers use a lot of power and so any way in which you can reduce energy use is a bonus. There are some important steps you can take to design an energy efficient data center.
In a data center, a lot of cooling is needed but even cooling requires the use of additional energy. There are options like using a hot aisle/cold aisle design that will help your systems function better and use less energy to stay cool. You will want variability and flexibility of cooling devices that can be adjsuted to keep everything functioning at an optimal level but will fluctuate to the needs and significantly reduce energy use.
Another important element in data center energy efficiency is that you will want to keep your systems lean and avoid duplication across the board. You can avoid duplication by employing things like cloud-based email. You will also want to turn off unused servers which, in large data centers, can cost thousands per year. More and more companies are moving towards virtualization. It provides the same amount of processesing but on fewer servers, reducing servers reduces energy use.
Also, things like tiered storage can save space by ranking importance and storing older files in a more efficient way. Many companies are offering improved servers that both boost power and have improved energy use.
As with improving energy efficiency in any space from home to office to data center, you will need to elminiate any leaks. For a data center, you will want to eliminate any leaks between your air conditioner and racks. It can be very expensive to ool a room and racks if there are leaks and the air doesn’t make it to the racks.
Improving data center energy efficiency is very important and can save businesses a lot of money in energy costs. According to Gartner, “12% of all data center expenditure is currently consumed in energy-related costs.” That is a major percentage of expenditure for any business and reducing those costs should be of utmost importance. By improving data center energy efficiency you are also doing something positive for the environment which is another benefit that effects everyone.

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Basics of Data Center Design

Designing a data center can be a daunting task to take on. There are many things to consider. You want your data center to have good flow, be energy efficient, and functional for the needs of your business. Some of the primary goals when designing a data center is that it has flexibility and scalability to accommodate fluctuating operational and capacity requirements. Technology is constantly changing and your business needs will also fluctuate so being able to be flexible is a huge benefit. With new technology comes the need for increased power and additional cooling. Also, there can be changes in procedure, safety and security which will also warrant needs for flexibility to accommodate change. If your design is static and cannot adapt to the needs of ever changing technology you will have to spend a lot of money to remedy these problems down the road. If you can anticipate and build in a flexibility to your design you will be able to adapt to any changes needed.
There are a lot of elements to consider when designing a data center and, initially, it can be very overwhelming. Having well qualified professional design your data center is the best option because they can anticipate exactly what you will need based on your specific business. One very important part of data center design is energy efficiency. Data centers use a lot of power and if you do not have energy efficiency you will be spending a lot of unnecessary money. You will also want to ensure that you have proper air management. You can achieve this with optimal positioning of data center equipment with a goal of removing hot air exhaust before it mixes with cool air supply. Some people use the hot aisle/cold aisle design to achieve this. Another very important element of data center design is fire protection and suppression. When working with so much electricity and so much heat you want to ensure that all the money you have invested in a data center will not go up in flames. You will also need a security system. There is a lot of value in the equipment in a data center and you want to make sure you are able to monitor your investment.
The power you need to run a data center can be huge. You will want to asses your overall power requirements and anticipate any shifts in your power needs. A common way to to estimte power and space requirements is to use rack units. You will need to determine whether single phase or three phase power is needed.. And you will most definitely need a good backup generator and Uninteruptible Power Supply (UPS) as well as surge protection to ensure that if there are any power outages or problems, you will not experience downtime, which can be very costly.
By integrating flexibility into your design and anctipating your potential needs you can design an efficient and useful data center. Using a qualified data center design company and taking the initial steps to protect your data center against any potential problems can save you a lot of money and a lot of headaches in the long run.

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What To Expect From Your UPS Device

When someone chooses to use a UPS device, it is because they have a machine, or several machines, that need to be powered on at all times. Mitigating down time is critical, and UPS devices offer a very important service to people all over the world. When the power goes out or there is some sort of other issue, your UPS device keeps your hardware running for as long as possible, thereby providing you the ability to get your work done when it needs to be. Your UPS performance is therefore critical. However, even with the highest quality battery inside your UPS device, sometimes batteries fail. There could be a number of reasons for it, but the result is the same. A UPS without a working battery simply doesn’t do anybody any good.

You may find yourself at some point down the road with a UPS device that has a battery that is either malfunctioning or otherwise not working. You may not know quite what to do in this situation, or where to turn to. The first option you have is to contact the company that you bought the device from. They will sometimes offer battery replacement services. You can work with them to find the solution that best fits your needs, which is getting a new battery as quickly as possible. UPS performance needs to be constant, and so getting the battery replaced will be a high priority. The stress of not having one can be great, especially when the UPS device was attached to hardware that is critical to your business’s ability to operate.

If your UPS device is one of the types that are designed for serious use in a data center, the provider will sometimes have a contract that you signed when purchasing their services. If this is the case, feel free to go over the contract again and see what your options are when it comes to replacing the battery and getting your UPS performance back to normal levels. If you are curious on how exactly you would know that your battery is not working, do not fear. Almost all UPS devices come with an alarm that goes off when the battery reports that the power levels are low. It knows this because it has a built in way of running a test, all independently from anything you are required to do. If this test reports that the battery is low, it will either make a loud sound, or flash an indicator light on the device itself. If you have a device that is doing either of these two alarms, you will then know that the power is low in it, and it may be time to replace the battery as the UPS performance is, at this point, less than optimal. Sometimes these alarms are false alarms, or the plug was disconnected. Reseat the plug and try again. If you get the alarm a second time, then investigate further.

If your battery has truly died, you can sometimes replace it without having to replace the entire device, though this is not always the case. Discuss with your provider how to best replace the battery or device and get one that will be able to keep your UPS performance at the level required by the hardware it is attached to.

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Single Or Three Phase UPS: Discerning Your Needs

As more and more of society and its processes rely on electricity, there has been a rise in electrical problems such as blackouts and brownouts that periodically leave hundreds of families and businesses temporarily without power. Although situations like this can prove quite annoying, they can also be very harmful to your company by leaving important facilities, such as data centers, without the power they need to preserve the server functions that affect your everyday work. Fortunately there is something you can do to guard your business against this problem:
Uninterruptible Power Supply, known alternately as UPS, helps preserve the power supply for your essential processes even during power shortages. When choosing this solution for your business, though, you may run into the conundrum of which to pick: single or 3 phase UPS. What will best meet your needs depends on several factors.

The most pressing matter affecting your need for either single or 3 phase UPSs is how damaging equipment failure will be to your day to day operations. For example, smaller businesses dealing with minimal PC loads can often get away with using single phase Uninterruptible Power Supply because the data they store may not necessarily stop the business in its tracks or cause a costly shut down of all operations. A single phase UPS usually utilizes offline or line interactive strategies to complete its job, and the small interruption of power allowed by this does not usually affect work areas that are not centralized.

By contrast, 3 phase UPS is usually necessary when equipment failure is not an option. The way 3 phase Uninterruptible Power Supply works allows for a completely gap free transfer between battery power and internal bypasses, which can be a critical part of avoiding equipment failure. The fact that the system works online adds to its reliability. In addition, for loads that are above a certain limit, 3 phase UPS is often more utilitarian.

The way the facility you are using is engineered also dictates what kind of Uninterruptible Power Supply is right for you. In general, you will find that the larger the building, the more likely it is that it has been configured for 3 phase UPSs rather than single phase UPSs. If your facility is equipped to handle a 3 phase UPS, then you will need to make sure that the load is distributed evenly through the electrical grid to avoid unbalancing the system. Keep in mind that every time you add to the load in the future, you may need to revisit this issue to keep the balance intact.

To make the smartest business decision, consider price and capacity in the decision making process. The smaller the capacity and the UPS, the lower the cost. Single phase UPSs routinely cost less than 3 phase UPSs, and the available capacity of each also varies. As you calculate the amount of energy your system needs to be capable of delivering, remember that your needs may change as you expand. To make the most informed decision, talking with an expert can help you understand the possibilities available for your business and help you choose the right solution for your Uninterruptible Power Supply needs.

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Why Preventative UPS Maintenance Is Important

Data CenterEveryone, to some degree or another, is dependent upon the technology of today in one way or another. Whether you have a website that offers goods or services or write code for a living, the technology you use is vital to your success and ability to do your job in the most efficient manner possible. It is because of this reliance on technology that many people opt to employ the use of UPS batteries for their most integral systems. A UPS, also known as an uninterruptable power supply, is a device that provides power to your equipment when the usually used means of powering it fail. Things like power outages in the city, or even in the building the hardware is physically located in can result in these types of failures. With the UPS placed correctly, power will continue to flow to this device for as long as the specific type of UPS employed is able to provide it with backup power. The benefits here are obvious and immediate, and it is for this reason that proper preventative UPS maintenance should be administered to the device on a regular basis.

As you employ your UPS batteries throughout your environment, you may ask what sort of preventative UPS maintenance is needed, and what you can expect when it happens. Optimally these tests happen at least once every quarter, with some people choosing to do it on a bi-annual basis. Whenever possible, UPS batteries are kept running, even during maintenance. The person doing the inspection will look at the UPS to make sure that it is running as it ought to be. There are often times signals or indicators on the devices, and these will be looked at and responded to on an as needed basis. The voltage and current for both input and output will be reported and verified that it is operating at normal levels. This is very important because if the battery is able to turn on but is not giving enough power to keep your hardware running, then it is as good as useless. Some UPS devices are also able to give information related to the history of the device in addition to the rest of the information, and this would be checked as needed during your preventative UPS maintenance.

Other things that the inspection takes into consideration are the environment where the device is employed. Things like temperature humidity, dust levels, etc. are taken into account and noted for how they would expect to interact with the device. In addition to environmental factors, the physical appearance of the battery is also noted during preventative UPS maintenance. You can expect your inspector to also check things like the cooling fans, to verify that they are operating as intended. Another thing that they may decide to do is to take the temperature of internal components, in addition to removing any sort of dust or debris that is found inside your UPS device. Cables connecting your device to your hardware will have their integrity checked, and any updates or physical repairs will be taken care of as necessary. After your preventative UPS maintenance is completed, you will have the ease of mind knowing that the hardware that your company relies on is safely backed up with a UPS device that meets all industry standards for normal operation. Should something happen, you will then be taken care of in the best way.

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Choosing The Right Power Protection Company

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In a world where the landscape of technology is evolving almost as fast as it’s created, people find themselves more and more dependent upon the technologies that most benefit them personally, as well their company overall. Whether you are an artist, work in IT, are employed in big business or are doing your own work, chances are that you use the technology of today to help spread word about who you are and what it is that you do. From hosting websites to show your art or developing code for a company a few cities over, technology gives us the ability to do our work reliably and, oftentimes, remotely. It is because of how integral technology is to our lives that makes choosing the right power protection company so important.

A power protection company is a company that provides a service specifically designed to mitigate and minimize the downtime you may experience with your technological equipment. There are a wide variety of things that can happen that would result in downtime. Whether the power in your area goes out or your cables are damaged, having a power protection company that knows what they’re doing can mean the difference between your customers getting the desired result, or having them get nothing at all. If you depend on a website to promote your business but your website is unavailable due to power issues then you are missing out on potential viewers. Potential viewers are potential customers, and if they cannot see what you offer, they are going to go elsewhere.

When you try to find a power protection company, consider going with someone who is relatively local. You want to do this for a number of reasons. First, with close proximity comes the ability to get the hardware you need in the fastest time possible. Finding a business that is local to you can mean you may be able to have it delivered on the same day or perhaps run over and grab it yourself. This would not be a possibility if they were not local. By finding a business that is local to your area, you also open yourself to their current customer base. You can find people who have worked with them in the past, or who are currently working with them. Doing so will let you figure out what type of company they are, and they may recommend their services. You can also check them out online and find reviews there. Having a power protection company that provides a good service is important, and having one that is local is equally so for the many benefits that it offers.

Another nice advantage to doing business with a local company is that they will often have spare parts that are available to you. Do not be afraid to call and ask about what sorts of parts and services they offer in addition to what is listed or advertised. They will be willing to discuss with you any questions or concerns that you may have. The end result will be you going with a company that fits your needs, budget, and expectations. Rest easy knowing you’ve made the choice that is best for you and for your business, whatever it may be.

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Understanding Your Data Center Cooling Needs

Data CenterIn the modern world, one of society’s most precious commodities has become information. With the explosion of the digital age that has affected almost every aspect of life, this often means data that has been stored digitally. For businesses and companies this is doubly true as data storage impacts all the systems and programs used to run the business. Data centers have become a popular way to store such information and can hold an entire entity’s lifeblood on its servers. Data center cooling is an important part of keeping data centers healthy, but why are they necessary and how do you choose the right system to protect your center?

Data center cooling is necessary to keep servers and other electronic devices in good working condition. If you have ever been working at your personal computer and heard the fan come on, then you have a reference point for this concept. Devices that use electricity produce a waste product of heat. When there are many electronic products in one place, such as a data center, then the amount of heat given off by such devices can add up quickly. High heat levels can be destructive for servers and other electronic devices, causing corrosion and potentially making information inaccessible. To keep your data safe, your center needs a cooling system.

The two most common forms of data center cooling use methods that involve either air or a liquid to remove heat from the center. Air methods of cooling take advantage of the tendency for warmer air to rise above cooler air. In these systems, air in the center circulates through a special room designed to remove heat from the warmer air to outside of the facility and then recirculating the cooler air back through the building. Liquid cooling systems usually require more infrastructure but are generally considered to be more effective. Cool water or refrigerant is kept in a central location, such as a tower, and then runs through pipes into the facility, taking heat with it when it exits the building.

Whether you have an existing data center cooling system or are looking to install a new one, making sure the cooling system you use is sufficient for your needs is important. For those with an existing system, periodically checking things such as the air temperature inside the facility and in the racks can help you determine whether or not your servers and other equipment is at the proper temperature. If you suspect that your existing system is not up to par or are trying to gauge what you need for a new system, remember that for every unit of heat your equipment puts out, you will need a unit of cooling to counteract it. Every system should be rated with a cooling capacity, so sure the system you choose covers your maximum waste output.

Keeping your information safe with data center cooling should be a priority. Cooling allows you to prevent servers and IT gear from corroding. There are several different systems you can utilize to cool your facility, but air and liquid systems are most common. For help determining your facility’s needs and what system best fits the bill, contact an expert today.

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Load Bank Testing For Data Center Maintenance

When people have data that needs to be protected or maintain an excellent uptime, with hardware that meets their needs and an environment that is safe and secure, they will oftentimes turn to data centers. Data centers are exactly what they sound like, they are a center or facility that offers to protect and maintain electronic data for their customers. Their environment usually deploys a wide array of security and safety practices to ensure that their downtime is as close to non-existent as possible, in addition to performing standard data center maintenance.

Many data centers have several networks running in and out of the premises so that their customers can maintain connectivity to their data, or their website can still be up, even if one (or more than one) line is severed. Connectivity, though, does no good if the machines themselves are not powered on. It is for this reason that data centers usually employ several backup power generators in order to ensure a maximum uptime. Just as you do maintenance on your machines and UPS devices in your office, so too do they. Data center maintenance is very critical, because it affects the entire host of people that they provide services to.

An essential part of testing the ability for a data center to provide power to its expected hardware needs is utilizing the practice of load bank testing. Load bank testing is a way to check a backup generators ability to meet the power needs that would be given it in the event of an emergency. The device is plugged into the generator and then configured to emulate what those needs would be, and the generator is then monitored to verify that it is working as intended. This is better than other methods of testing because it brings the generator up to higher levels of demand than other tests do, and so should be done regularly during your data center maintenance. An often employed method of testing a generator is with a very small load, or even no load at all. This can be dangerous because you do not bring the generator up to the level it needs to be in order to validate its ability to perform under the stress the building will provide to it. It would be a critical problem if your generator worked, but wasn’t able to provide necessary power to your devices, and so regular load bank testing should be employed as a part of your data center maintenance.

Because many data centers use generators that run off of diesel fuel, a common problem is something that is called wet stacking. What this term describes is a situation where not all of the fuel is burned during use, and so it builds up around the exhaust. This happens when engines are continually run at a small percentage of what they are actually able to do. If this is allowed to continue for any significant length of time, it can cause damage to the engines ability to function at an efficient level, as well as directly affecting how long the engine itself will last. By doing load bank testing during your data center maintenance, the generator is brought up to the temperature it would be expected to be at during an emergency, or rather, the temperature it operates at when running at full capacity. Doing so burns the excess fuel in the exhaust, and removes this problem from the equation.

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Choosing The Right Data Center Generator For Your Company Needs

Data CenterUsing data center storage solutions to protect and preserve company information is an increasingly popular and necessary part of doing business. However, not all data centers and their respective characteristics may be made equal, so it’s important for you to have the tools you need to make the best decision for your company. When it comes to data center generators, this can be especially true. Knowing how to discern which generator will best fulfill company needs requires a bit of background information. Learning may take a bit of time, but in the end you will find that it has been worth your while.

Data center generators provide backup power supply to the data center. This is an important function because it isn’t unheard of for traditional power networks to go down due to overloads, limited electricity, inclement weather, and other problems. Just about everything in the data center, including your servers, IT equipment, and cooling system, relies on electrical power to keep it running. Should the power go out, a back supply is needed to ensure that essential processes stay online, preserving servers and equipment from breaking down. As most anyone can attest, there are few things more crippling to a business than a downed server because it impedes almost all information gathering and dissemination from the customer all the way to the top.

One major factor governing which data center generators are best for your business is your company output. All of the information you are storing in a data center and the equipment you use to preserve it require a power supply, as was already discussed. When you take into account the power supply necessary to run each component, you can calculate how much energy is needed to run the entire facility. You can use this figure as a guide when you are deciding what generator will work best for you because different generators provide varying levels of power output. The right generator is usually one that will continue to support, at the very least, the most important processes at your data center until the main power is reinstated.

You should also take into account the size of your operation when calculating the proper output for data center generators that your business needs. In the simplest terms, the more your generator is required to support, the more output it should be capable of. If you are certain that your business will grow quickly or have solid plans for expansion, a larger capacity generator may prove a good investment. In addition, if you plan for your generators to back up more than just the company data center, you will also need to plan for greater consumption of generator energy and therefore may need to choose a generator with a greater capacity.

Providing a failsafe power supply for your data center can be made easy with the right data center generators, but you may need to do a little information gathering, along with some math, to better understand your needs. Take the time to calculate your business’s projected power needs and talk with an expert or qualified consultant to make sure you won’t be down and out in case the power supply to your data center is interrupted.

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Electrical Safety in Data Centers

When you are working with electrical equipment, there are a lot of things that you need to be aware of. You want to provide your customers and the people with whom you work with the safest environment possible. It is for this reason that anyone working for a data center ought to have proper training regarding electrical hazards and electrical safety procedures. Many people think that they do not need to go through the hoops to get their training done or renewed. The thought may occur to them that they’ve done it so many times that there is virtually no risk of injury. Unfortunately this is never the case, and keeping the safety of your employees and facility at the highest level possible will ultimately benefit you and your company in the long run.

When workers in a data center are up to speed on the latest safety standards, you will be able to rest easy knowing that you’ve done whatever you can to ensure that no one is injured on the job. There are several things that the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) has come up with to ensure that these sorts of facilities are as safe as possible. The first thing that is mentioned is that employees working with any sort of electrical equipment must wear Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, that is up to par with the work that they are doing. It does nobody any good if the safety equipment you’re wearing is not enough to actually protect you. Make sure that your equipment matches the level of work you’ll be performing.

Another thing that those working in a data center ought to be aware of is just how important labeling arc flashes can be. The NFPA has come out with stricter guidelines for what ought to be on the label. This includes things like what the required level of PPE is, what the incident energy is, what the highest hazard/risk category for the equipment is, and so on. If you have all of these things labeled both correctly and to the standard set by the NFPA you will foster a much safer environment than you otherwise would be.

As far as employee training goes, people who are in charge of security and safety related programs within a data center have a few things to keep in mind that will help them create a program that best fits their particular work environment. Consider performing inspections annually or bi-annually, thereby ensuring that every employee is on the same page when it comes to safety. Additionally, keep track of what you have as far as training material goes. Having a physical copy that is readily available to your employees can help to foster an environment of awareness. In addition to inspections that are done, it is also helpful to have a required retraining of employees every few years. Doing so will ensure that they know the latest safety practices and procedures.

By employing a comprehensive safety plan in your facility, you will be doing yourself a huge favor. You will mitigate the injuries that would otherwise be more likely to happen, and thereby avoiding higher insurance costs for injuries that have now been avoided. You will have a more productive staff, as they are confident in their abilities and knowledge, and you will not lose out on any of your workers’ productivity because they are not being injured, and therefore not missing work.

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