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Data Center Regulations And Construction Requiring PUE Surveys

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Possible Future Ramifications For Data Center Regulations And Construction Requiring PUE Surveys

Low PUE Data CenterThere are three main categories in which PUE surveys would likely be used in the future construction and maintenance of data centers.  These include future government regulations pertaining to usage of greenhouse gasses; standardization for data center construction; and using PUE surveys to optimize return-on-investment due to the predicted short “shelf-life” of data centers.

New data centers have been estimated to be obsolete in under a decade by research firms including Gartner (7 years) and the International Data Corporation (9 years).  Many others speculate that the shelf-life of data centers is closer to five years.  Thus, data center construction and maintenance must take cost-benefit into account to a greater degree than many other structures built to support infrastructure or service providers.

Data center construction heavily relies on a variety of specific needs.  For example, data centers must be in a position to effectively re-route many utility lines during construction; design and build firms must work closely with government agencies and service providers to ensure that a large data center will not overwhelm an existing power or utility grid; data centers must have complex HVAC systems; and, any loss of power or lack of maintenance could be catastrophic for data centers catering to individual clients.  The potential for lost data and the lost ability for customers to have their websites live could easily result in various lawsuits citing lost earnings and corresponding legal fees.

To make a new data center successful, it is imperative to stay informed on all pertinent news and stay abreast of all likely future trends in regulation regarding construction methods and energy usage, especially on hot topics such as utilization of greenhouse gasses.  Due to the costs associated with building and maintaining a data center, knowing the nuances of data center maintenance such as Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) surveys can be the difference between success and failure.

PUE survey services

PUE surveys can show whether or not a data center is working to its full potential.  One of the most considerable costs when running a data center include costs associated with energy.  Taking preventative measures to ensure that your data center is functioning optimally can save money now and help prepare for possible future regulations that address the amount of greenhouse gasses consumed by a certain facility.  Three common types of PUE surveys include:

  • Thermal imaging surveys
  • Power quality surveys
  • HVAC and thermal imaging surveys

Examining the overall power consumption of a data center is helpful to an extent.  A sudden and unexplainable spike in energy consumption should raise cause for concern.  However, overall energy consumption reveals little about target areas that are not preforming with optimal efficiency or a starting point to remedy the problem.  Without specific PUE data, trying to optimize efficiency and address problem areas can be like searching for a needle in a haystack.

Thermal imaging surveys

Routine maintenance is highly recommended.  It is not only conceivable but common for necessary re-calibration of measurement tools.  In addition, PUE surveys are designed primarily as a preventative measure.  Instead of waiting until there is a noticeable problem, thermal imaging surveys can detect an atypical transfer of energy, such as heat.  Thermal imaging can be especially effective in a data center environment as data centers rely heavily on equipment functioning in an artificial climate.

Thermal imaging technology can provide more accurate PUE data due to the consistent temperature within a data center as opposed to a structure with a less advanced (and less predictable) HVAC system.  Thermal imaging can target specific rooms or smaller areas.  Furthermore, thermal imaging can provide data that can help prevent the chance of fires, unseen faults in electrical systems, and determine to what extent a data center is in jeopardy of loss of data due to an unknown electrical problem or electrical fire.

Power quality surveys

Power quality surveys are able to gather data relevant to power consumption to a much more specific degree than power consumption for the entire facility.  They can investigate flicker, slag, and other similar phenomena.  In addition, power quality surveys can ensure that enough power supply is available to meet demand.  As many data centers have additional power redundancies (e.g. generators) in addition to being connected to an existing power grid, it is essential to know to what extent power supply is readily available to prevent a power outage or crashing the power grid within the data center itself.    Electricity and energy consumption should be ideally dispersed throughout an entire data center instead of taking a risk by having a disproportionate amount of power go to a specific area.

HVAC and thermal imaging surveys

HVAC systems are imperative for the functioning of almost all data centers.  Troubleshooting problems with HVAC systems along with collecting data that suggests inefficiencies in the system is recommended routine maintenance in order to save money or avoid a system meltdown.  Thermal imaging is highly indicative of optimal HVAC systems for obvious reasons.   Some of the first signs of HVAC malfunction include uneven distribution of heat exchange.  In addition, excess power is wasted when trying to support a sub-optimal HVA system.

How PUE surveys may affect the future of data center construction and maintenance

There are three main factors in determining the future of data centers: government regulations, the “shelf life” of new data centers, and the necessary return on investment from construction to when the data center is rendered obsolete.  In short, data centers need to be designed for the future and always strive to operate at optimal levels of efficiency.  Thus, PUE surveys may impact future data centers in the following ways:

  • Mandatory laws regarding PUE surveys and increased government regulation
  • Need for increased PUE surveys to optimize overall efficacy due to shorter data center shelf lives to optimize return on investment
  • Standardized construction methods to promote longevity of data centers and preservation of resources

After investing in a data center, ensure that PUE surveys are conducted regularly to save money now and stay in compliance with possible future government regulations.  Aside from early detection of possible catastrophes, PUE surveys can help prepare for the future of profitable data centers along with preempting possible future regulations pertaining to energy consumption and greenhouse gasses.





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