Managers who have designed the power distribution system for their data center equipment based on Kohler backup generators have found that their data centers are virtually uninterruptable. The reliability that they can offer to their customers is unprecedented. In addition, data center equipment is now chosen to run at the highest efficiencies possible in order to reduce the cost of power to a minimum. Indeed, some data centers are trying to get a green rating, and find that appropriate Kohler data center generators help them reach that goal.
Without any on-site power-generating data center equipment, the ability to handle power outages for a particular data center is limited. This function is generally performed by a UPS (an uninterruptable power supply) which consists of a battery connected in parallel with the delivery wires. During normal operation, the plant power is transmitted straight through the UPS while a trickle of current charges and maintains the charge on the backup battery. During a power outage, the plant power is cut, and the battery power automatically switches from drain to supply. This system will continue to power the servers for the capacity of the battery, until they discharge. The discharge time is chosen to match the 99th percentile of power outages that occur in that region. Therefore, the system can deal with most outages through the battery backup.
However, extreme instances can engender circumstances exceeding the abilities of a reasonably-costed UPS system to maintain operations. These can include such catastrophic events as a downed transmission tower, a prolonged electrical storm, or a extended snow storm. Modern data centers cannot compete well in the market if their reliability plan does not include contingency strategies for these events.
Data center managers are turning to Kohler generators for the reliability portion of their data center equipment. During extended blackouts, electricity is generated on site to back up the municipal supply. With the proper choice of Kohler generator, data centers can be designed to be virtually uninterruptable in the face of all reasonable contingencies.
These days a huge selling point for data centers is that they obtain a green rating. This looks good for their environmentally-conscious clients, and as they cut costs through efficient energy, they save those costs for their clients as well. The industry standard measure for the data center efficiency is the PUE (power usage effectiveness) rating. This is the ratio of the total power consumed at the entire data center in proportion to the power consumed strictly in the IT equipment, the data servers. If all of the input power went to the servers, the PUE would equal one. This would be an ideal situation, but difficult to obtain in practice since a considerable portion of the input power must go to the HVAC (heat, ventilation, and cooling system) to maintain the safe operating temperatures for the servers. It is becoming standard to publish the PUE for all data centers which at the current time average 1.8. Ultra-efficient centers have reportedly been able to reduce their PUE to an astounding 1.05, cutting their energy costs by an amazing 40%.
Natural gas Kohler electrical generators have taken advantage of the PUE weighting factor for natural gas of 0.31 to augment the municipal supply (in addition to backing it up) to get PUE factors below 1.0. The first facility to do so has been built in the Nevada desert and intends to meet PUE ratings of 0.96.
Reliability and efficient power generation are strong reasons for including Kohler generators as part of the data center equipment.