Utility Incentives and Rebates can Increase your Data Center ROI

Utility IncentivesData centers have become an integral part of every business operation, from small local businesses to major corporations. As the volume of data increases every year, the amount of space required for data centers is also increasing. Whether you are building a data center for the first time or investing in infrastructure and improvements, it is important that you know about and work on improving data center ROI with utility incentive and rebate programs.


Finding Rebate Programs


For most companies the biggest hurdle in taking advantage of available rebates and incentives for new data centers is not knowing what the rebates are and how to find them. In cities and states throughout the U.S. there are programs for utilities and energy efficiency offering rebates and incentives for reducing energy usage, plus there may even be federal programs to encourage energy efficiency as well.


Not all of the rebate programs are specifically customized for data centers, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of the savings. The N.C. Solar Center at North Carolina State University has created the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), with support from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council and partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. This comprehensive database provides extensive information about all the state and local rebates available in an easily searchable format by state.


It includes a variety of information about rebates and incentives, including:

  • Corporate tax credits and financing opportunities
  • Personal and business tax credits
  • Sales tax incentives
  • State bond programs
  • Utility rebates
  • Rules and policies regarding energy building codes and standards
  • Additional information on programs and initiatives for energy efficiency, green power, and more


Keys to Maximize Your Data Center ROI


For many companies a data center is a huge expense, and it can be a significant drain on resources over time, but there are a few things that you can do to prevent it from becoming a financial burden. Many tax rebates and incentives are helping companies achieve this goal with high-tech energy efficiency initiatives that help reduce costs and preserve resources. Whether it’s data center consolidation and virtualization to earn rebates and reduce energy consumption, or innovative cooling technologies that reduce the largest cost for many data centers by keeping servers at a steady temperature, many companies are working to improve efficiency.


Many utility providers are also implementing efficiency programs that are more tailored to data centers, and organizations like the Consortium for Energy Efficiency is addressing the topic. Making the switch to more energy efficient data centers might seem like a big task, but overall it will save you money, lower your carbon footprint, and can generate additional cash to offset those costs through the strategic use of incentive and rebate programs.

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Cloud Data Center to be Powered by Apple’s Solar Farm

Data Center PowerApple continues its commitment to provide environmentally-friendly power to its data centers.


Apple has a long-standing goal to run data centers in an environmentally-responsible manner. Its latest project is an 18-megawatt photovoltaic solar plant constructed just east of Reno in Yerington, Nevada. Apple will use this plant to provide energy for its new Reno cloud data center that will serve Northern Nevada.


We at Titan Power understand that one of the most important components of reliable data center management is power management. There are several requirements for data center power, including:


  • Clean power – energy must not contain interference or transients that can damage sensitive computer equipment
  • Uninterruptable supply – power must be constant. Modern data center reliability specifications allow little room for down time due to power outages.
  • Power capacity – each server consumes as much energy as several light bulbs. Some data centers consume enough power to light a small city.


As the demand for cloud-based services increases, the need for reliable power grows as well.


Impact on the Environment


Energy generation can have a significant impact on the environment. Using fossil fuels to generate electricity can cause several well-known problems for the environment. In addition, the amount of fossil fuels is limited. Analysts predict we will have exhausted the world’s supply in several decades. For these reasons, power industries have worked to develop renewable energy sources that have a minimal impact on the environment. One of the best of these strategies is solar power.


Apple’s Solar Power Strategy


The Reno power plant is not Apple’s first effort into creating renewable energy. It already supplies its largest U.S. data center with solar power. Located in Maiden, North Carolina, the Apple facility produces 167 million kilowatt hours. This is the same amount of energy that powers 18,000 homes for a year. The North Carolina power plant is a 100-acre solar farm and fuel cell installation constructed by Bloom Energy. It currently provides 60% of the energy for the associated data center. Apple purchases the remainder of its energy from local sources providing clean, renewable energy.


The Reno plant will not only supply 100% of the datacenter’s requirement, it will provide additional energy to the grid managed by NV Energy. Apple has contracted SunPower to construct the Nevada solar array. Apple explains that all of its datacenters run on 100% renewable energy, and that they are on track to continue this commitment with their Reno facility.


New Data Centers Using Solar Power


At Titan Power, we support the efforts of Apple in providing clean, reliable energy sources for their datacenters. As companies plan new datacenter construction, we are ready to provide design, construction, and maintenance which will meet their energy needs as well.

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How Advanced PDU’s create enhanced Rack Power Distribution

Advanced PDUData-center managers can optimize their essential power distribution through the use of advanced PDUs.


As experts in planning, construction, and maintenance for datacenters, we at Titan Power are very familiar with the utility of advanced power distribution units (PDUs). We want to help our clients understand how to deal with the features and challenges associated with implementing PDUs in modern datacenters. Here are some of the ideas that will help a manager feel confident in dealing with these issues.


The Need for Proper Power Distribution


The market demand for data services continues to grow. With this demand comes an increase in the requirements for datacenter power and reliability. Much of this reliability depends on the functionality of the power supply system. Managers must carefully design and maintain proper power distribution in order to meet client requirements.


Plan for Capacity


A sound plan for power distribution starts with a design for capacity and location. Managers start by creating a floor plan with server units and other power-drawing equipment such as monitors and environmental controls. Then, equipment can be grouped by location, power requirements, and functionality. At that point, power distribution points can be added to the floor plan.


Power capacity level is a key design point. Managers often design distribution units with capacities 10% or 20% over requirements in order to allow for expansion without the need to replace the units. For further expansion, designers make sure that the PDU rack space will accommodate the larger sizes for higher-capacity units.


As part of the capacity plan, the cooling requirements for the output power levels are also taken into account. Managers review the environmental equipment capacity to make sure it can handle the load of the PDUs.


Evaluate the Latest Technologies


PDU technology changes quickly. With the capacity requirements, managers are ready to evaluate the technology options for their PDUs. They start by choosing among the three basic distribution unit categories:


  • Basic distribution
  • Metered distribution
  • Managed or switch distribution


The latter options allow managers to locally monitor current and load balance, either on-site or remotely. They also allow managers to perform real-time control as well as long-term capacity planning.


Detailed Monitoring


Modern datacenters must monitor their power distribution at a granular level. Often, the computing capacity of the clients is volatile and dynamic, and datacenter managers must use advanced techniques to keep on top of a changing environment. Advanced PDUs give managers control over such challenging situations as dealing with lights out operation, implementing a power cycle, and shedding a load. When problems occur, the power of advanced PDUs helps managers provide a fast response.


As managers learn more about PDU capability, Titan Power is ready to help datacenters realize their goals for datacenter reliability through the proper choice of advanced power distribution units.

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Single- vs. Three-Phase: Which is For You?

3Understanding the subtle differences between the various power sources available to you in the data center environment is essential if you hope to be able to maximize the money spent on powering your server racks while still being able to deliver the same level of server performance that’s come to be expected. The complexities of power input requirements as well as the impact that high energy expenditures have on the data center environment demand power strips or PDUs that are efficient in terms of both performance capacity and heat production.

The biggest question you’ll face when choosing which power supply is right for you is whether or not to go with single-phase or three-phase. The answer to that depends largely on your system requirements. This is when it pays to know the difference between each power supply method and the optimal conditions under which each performs.

How Does Each Work?

A single phase circuit features a single active wire and a neutral wire that connects at the switchboard. Power coming in along the active wire rises to its peak voltage flow, subsides to zero, reverses, and rises again to its peak traveling along the neutral wire in the opposite direction. A three-phase circuit follows the same philosophy, yet it never reaches zero thanks to the three active wires bringing power in from the line. Each is out of phase with the other, meaning that the input and output are constantly near or at peak levels at any given moment.

Typically, single-phase strips are fine at powering a single server cabinet with clearly defined power requirements. They are also much less expensive to install than three-phase systems. Yet servers incorporating new technologies now have the need for greater, more efficient flow. Some of these technologies include:

  • Network switching
  • Power supply redundancies
  • Blade server technology
  • Real-time load sharing and balancing

To accommodate the requirements of these new technologies, a three-phase power strip is often needed. This has given rise a general assumption that three-phase circuits are a requirement for commercial and industrial applications.

Three-Phase Cost-Effectiveness

Yet three-phase systems can also offer cost-savings of their own. A single three-phase PDU can power multiple server racks, whereas multiple single-phases units would be required for the same job. This decreases the amount of power distribution equipment needed, which reduces installation costs as well as the cooling requirement.

It’s always nice to have options when it comes to PDUs and power strips, yet an increase in options also increases the likelihood of choosing the wrong one for your data center. An inadequate power supply can take a drastic toll on your operating budget, while an uber-efficient one may require a higher up-front expense than is necessary to meet your needs. Don’t worry; we here at Titan Power have expertise to offer when it comes to making this important decision. Trust in our team’s ability to steer you in the right direction when it comes to powering your data center.

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Managing Your Unstructured Data

7It’s estimated that every year, your unstructured database grows by 40% to 60%. By properly managing all of this “stuff” taking up space on your server, you reduce the risk of confidential data loss and lower your data management costs. The problem that many IT engineers and data center managers have is the notion that cleaning out unstructured data equates to little more than busy work. Yet given the net positive impact that reducing your unstructured data can have, you’ll quickly realize that the ROI is well-worth the relatively small investment of time and resources needed to effectively do it.

10 Projects to Consider for the Current Year

With that in mind, here are some unstructured data projects to consider for the current fiscal year:

  • Clean out your outdated data: Start your cleanup by identifying those items that haven’t been accessed in more than three years to be reviewed and deleted, if possible.
  • Target redundant files: While there’s wisdom in backing up certain network files, many redundancies are unnecessary. You should consider finding duplicate files and deciding whether or not they can be purged completely.
  • Look for multimedia content among user shares: Among employees’ stored network files, you’re sure to find downloaded multimedia content that has no business value whatsoever. Work with employees to clear this data off of the server.
  • Index data from legacy backup tapes: By scanning and indexing any relevant data from old backup tapes using a metadata profile, you’re able to recoup the expense of storing them.
  • Streamline access to critical data: Find a way to create easy access channels to data that could be requested in the future for compliance or legal issues.
  • Manage your PII: Auditing email and your server for potentially sensitive information shared between users outside of regular corporate channels helps to ensure corporate compliance.
  • Look for hidden PSTs: Locate and review any personal archives or PSTs that users may have created that could potentially hold sensitive corporate data. This helps ensure that all sensitive data is under corporate control.
  • Implement charge-backs: This encourages individual departments to more effectively manage that data they may no longer require.
  • Find less-expensive storage tiers: For that aged data that can’t be deleted, migrating it to a cheaper storage tier frees up space for more relevant files on your server.
  • Move less-relevant data to the cloud: Hosted storage can be more cost-effective and offers you yet another location off of your server to place your older, less-useful business files.

You have every reason in the world to better manage your unstructured data, yet probably don’t have all of the time in the world to do it. Not to worry; we here Titan Power can help. As the industry’s premier provider of data center solutions, we can offer you access to all of the tools that you need in order to make cleaning up and managing yours and/or your clients’ databases that much simpler. With our help, unstructured data will no longer continue to be a drain on your server space.

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Caring for Your Center’s Humidification System

10Environmental control of the data center environment is a year-long job. Aside from regulating the internal temperatures to offset the heat generated by rows upon rows of server racks, data center managers also have to keep the challenges that seasonal climate changes produce in mind. A center’s HVAC system allows conditions outside of the data center to have just as big an impact on potential safety and equipment hazards as internal temperatures. Perhaps no time of the year best illustrates this point than at the onset of winter.

The Problems a Dry Winter Can Bring

The drier air that the winter season brings can contribute to any number problems with your equipment. These can include:

  • Static electricity buildup leading to electrostatic discharges
  • Water damage from a poorly-maintained humidification system
  • Accelerated deterioration of cooling system components due to excess water vapor

Any of these issues can lead to blown fuses, equipment damage, and the increased potential for fires. Having and maintaining a well-functioning humidification system can help to mitigate these risks. The issues you can encounter with your system will depend largely on its design.

Specific Issues for Specific Systems

Steam humidifiers fit to a building’s boiler system were once a popular choice among commercial property owners due to the relatively low cost of retrofitting the humidification components to an already existing system. However, these units can raise the supply area temperature, placing greater strain on a building’s cooling system. Wall-mounted steam canister humidifiers have become more popular in recent years thanks to their easy installation and improved efficiency in smaller areas as compared to boiler-type systems. Yet replacing water canisters over time due to mineral buildup on heating electrodes can prove costly. Ultrasonic units offer the best energy efficiency in the business, yet there exist the potential of bacterial growth in the system’s transducer water bath.

Any of these issues can be pinpointed during an annual maintenance check of your humidification system. Not only does such preventative maintenance assure your compliance to the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineer standards, but is also can produce cost-savings thanks to improved energy efficiency and the need for fewer service calls.

Given that issues with your humidification system can lie undetected during those months when it is not being utilized, it’s of crucial importance to you as a data center manager to include it’s maintenance as part of a routine inspection. Yet remembering that small task amongst the sea of larger business issues that you have to deal with can be difficult. Not to worry; we here at Titan Power will remember that for you. We make it a point to include a check of your humidifier pan and bulbs as well as your system’s condensation pump as part of every HVAC Field Service Check we perform. Together, we’ll work to ensure that your data center is safeguarded from all of the problems that drier seasons can bring.

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Comparing N+1 and Fixed Capacity UPS Systems

14Data centers are at the heart of our businesses, powering the technology that we use on a daily basis to conduct transactions, share information, and stay connected. But what happens when the power goes down at the data center due to natural or man-made disasters? To minimize the impact of power loss most companies implement an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) that kicks in when public power fails. Here is a quick comparison between two popular systems: Fixed Capacity versus N+1 (Parallel Redundant) systems.


Fixed Capacity


A fixed capacity UPS is commonly used in data centers throughout the U.S. (and is the most affordable option), but is often classified as the lowest “tier” when it comes to uninterruptible power supplies. For this system your IT department will calculate the base capacity required to power all of your equipment (a critical load projection, often referred to as “N”) then you will configure a UPS that provides exactly that much power.


Unfortunately it is difficult to project the precise level of power that your system will require next month, next year, and even five or 10 years from now, because data center needs are constantly growing and changing. If you outgrow your fixed capacity system, you run the risk of losing valuable data. If you estimate too high you’ll pay more for a system that you don’t use. For that reason many companies today choose to go with modular or scalable systems so you can add capacity as your data center grows.


There are some other disadvantages of a fixed capacity system:

  • The system leaves no room for error—if one module breaks down the load is often transferred to an unprotected power source.
  • The entire system or parts of the system are left exposed during required maintenance, which could take several hours.
  • With no redundancy built into the system there is limited protection in the event of a UPS failure.


N+1 or Parallel Redundant


The N+1 (parallel redundant) system, provides a higher level of protection for your data center than fixed capacity. If “N” is the number of UPS modules required to protect all the essential systems in the event of a power failure, N+1 is a system that provides what you need, plus one more.


Rather than having just a single large UPS module that will kick in when the power goes out, these systems are built using several smaller integrated modules that share the load evenly. If one module fails, or you need to take it offline for maintenance or other service, the rest of the system continues to operate as expected. In the event of one modular failure during an emergency, the other modules continue to support all your critical systems. This system can also be designed with the ability to expand as your power requirements grow.


Finding the right UPS configuration is critical to the continued success of your business. Consider all the benefits and risks of each system before you implement one to make sure you are getting what you need

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Maximizing Surge Protection Safety

13Data centers have become an indispensible part of our daily lives, housing and processing the information that keeps businesses, consumers, friends, and family connected around the world. Downtime comes from a wide variety of sources, but one of the most common is a power surge—a voltage increase within an electronic circuit that spikes power to dangerous levels. Power surges can happen at any time, and in any data center. When it does happen you want to know that your critical infrastructure and systems are safe with the right surge protection in place.


The Source of Power Surges


A power surge can come from a wide variety of sources. In a data center, they can happen for one of many reasons on any given day, including:


  • Changes in external power supplies such as phone lines, cables, and power cords outside your building
  • Lightning strikes, either directly to the building or indirectly to nearby areas
  • Internal surges that come from equipment inside your data center, such as motors, electrical equipment, HVAC systems, or generators
  • Poor utility wiring, grid shifting, and power lines that are down at the local power plant


No matter what the source of the power surge, without adequate protection the end result is often costly downtime or even system failure and data loss. That’s why it is important to have the right surge protection measures in place.


Conduct a “Risk Audit”


The first step to developing a surge protection plan is to identify the risks that your commercial data center faces. Examine the reliability of your existing power supply, activities conducted by your power company, and frequency of lightning strikes, plus internal and external factors that could contribute to power surges. Make a list of all the potential risks so you can adequately plan for them and minimize the impact.


Implement a Protective System


The best way to protect against a power surge is with electrical surge protection. At home you plug your appliances into a portable surge protector, but to offer the right level of protection for massive data centers and account for the sensitivity of your equipment, you need a state-of-the-art system.


  1. Separate the wiring and circuits that supply power to your data center and those that supply power to other equipment or systems that could cause surges.
  2. Apply an additional layer of surge protection to the area that powers your data center equipment.
  3. Design and build an electrical system that is properly grounded, separating the communication cables from power cables.
  4. Create another layer of protection and power continuity with and uninterrupted power supply (UPS) system.
  5. Install surge suppression devices that can monitor power system and divert voltages that are above a safe threshold.


Don’t Risk Your Data

All of your critical data and sensitive electronic equipment can be lost in a matter of milliseconds if you leave them unprotected from the common, but dangerous, effects of power surges. Don’t risk harm to your data or your business—guard them with the proper surge protection today.

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Configuring a Backup Power System for a Data Center

TP-MCCD-0001Uninterrupted power supply (UPS) and other auxiliary power systems have to be carefully designed in order to provide each data center with the support required for stable, secure, and efficient operation. Just as there are many possible data center configurations there are many power system configurations. The Titan Power advisor working with your organization will help you determine which configurations will best meet your current support needs as well as your development goals. Understanding a few things about power system configurations will help you understand all the available options and make appropriate decisions.


Power When You Need It


A UPS system is in place to prevent damage to equipment and data that can result from a dip or surge in electricity or a total power failure. This sensitive system provides a stable flow of energy to continue operations and preserve your data center. Though a UPS is designed to be highly reliable, having a redundant source of power in place is an ideal safeguard for many organizations.


A UPS module is able to provide a stated amount of energy; multiple modules with a total output at least equal to the energy demand of the data center are required to prepare for a power failure. Estimating your total energy need is an involved process that accounts for these and other considerations:


  • The UPS module options available
  • Realistic load estimates
  • kVA and kW ratings
  • Short term growth and head room
  • Operational efficiency at load


Once this estimate is made and the number of modules determined, a redundancy plan can be developed. A common and popular solution is the N+1 configuration, where N is the number of modules required for center operation plus one extra.


Another very common approach is active parallel redundancy. In this configuration two power components (AB) work alongside an active center rather than maintaining standby. If component A or B fails independently then the system will continue to run.


Powering Complex Data Centers

Some organizations have more complex backup power needs as a result of more complex network configurations. Advanced parallel designs can provide a seamless source of power to keep everything working correctly. Duplicate data packets can be created to ensure that every request for information sent by a user receives a response. The duplicates are discarded once the information successfully reaches the user. This way the system continues to provide support for operations even when a power interruption takes place.


Your Partner in Power


We stand by the data centers designed and built by Titan Power. We can develop a power system that meets your needs and safeguards your operations.



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How Your UPS System Works

ASU-Polytechnic-Fire-Suppression-012Owners and managers of businesses with data centers need to be familiar with the fundamental principles behind these important systems. Understanding the value of backup power supplies allows decision makers to more effectively manage the data storage needs of their organization. A data center with an uninterrupted power supply, or UPS, is protected against the damage that can occur if the servers suffer a sudden loss of power.


You Can Avoid Costly Consequences


Computers that are suddenly deprived of the necessary power without proper shut down procedures may compromise or even lose valuable data. This data might be essential for various business operations or contain sensitive customer information. All lost or damaged data is lost time and money for your organization. Repairing the damage and addressing all resultant setbacks must be undertaken before normal operations can resume. Investing in a UPS system will help prevent this kind of costly loss and will provide significant peace of mind.


How a UPS System Works


A standby UPS system will continually measure the voltage entering the system from the normal power source using a sensitive monitoring element. If the monitor detects a rise or fall in voltage outside of preset parameters then the system activates. The system’s AD/DC inverter circuitry activates by drawing power from an internal battery. The equipment served by the power supply is then mechanically connected by the UPS to the inverter output. This automatic transfer switch (ATS) activates as soon as the UPS detects an abnormal voltage. The switchover from the main power source to the UPS takes place in under a second; the mechanic transfer can engage in as little as 25 milliseconds. This very rapid response prevents any interruption in the power serving essential computer equipment and eliminates brownout to all equipment served by that particular system.


A Comprehensive Solution to Power Supply Problems


Briefly stated, a UPS protects your equipment against loss or damage caused by interrupted power flow. Power interruptions come in several types and so your UPS system is designed to address all types. Power problems include:


  • Variation in frequency
  • Periods of low voltage
  • Spikes and surges in voltage
  • Complete loss of power (power failure)


Though computer equipment is designed to function normal even when powerful varies a small amount, any variation above or below certain tolerance levels compromises function. Your UPS system, its automatic switches, and other essential elements work together to respond to dangerous power flow fluctuations.


Discover the Benefits of UPS Sytems


A standby UPS system is the most fundamental of all uninterrupted power supply configurations. Several others exist, such as online/double conversion, line-interactive, and various hybrid systems. Our consultants can tell you more about how these configurations can benefit your data

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