Data rules the world you live in, and the flow of bits and bytes in and out of high density data centers must continue at breakneck speeds for businesses to operate unimpeded on a global scale.
Above and beyond processors and server racks, this entails having a dedicated and scalable power supply which meets not just the needs of today but those arriving in the near future.
When it comes to power reliability, 99% won’t do as the industry standard is 99.9% continual uptime.
The end result of this, thanks to Moore’s Law, is the need for energy efficiency, which is more important than ever before as increased computational power is leading to exponentially greater power usage.
Data centers have always required large amounts of energy – power density can be 40 times greater than commercial office buildings – and with industrial space at a premium, smaller gen set footprints are critical to maximize capital investment.
Today’s power generators for data centers must be able to operate equally well as sources of both direct continuous power and standby/emergency power.
The Demand for Continuous Power
More so than in almost any other industry, an unbroken power supply is critical for data centers.
In fact, high density data centers will typically have multiple redundant power systems so downtime is (theoretically) impossible no matter what kind of power interruption occurs with the grid.
After all, to you a second is just a sixtieth of a minute, but for a computer that’s more than enough time to perform over 50 trillion calculations. Being offline for even a second can lead to significant consequences when, for example, performing automated high-volume stock market trades or other time-sensitive communications/transactions.
Gen sets for data centers are configured according to the industry-specific Data Center Continuous (DCC) power rating – unlimited hours of operation with no average variable load factor restrictions – as administered by the Uptime Institute for the design and installation of data centers. In addition, the Uptime Institute offers a four-tier certification system:
- Tier 1: Basic site infrastructure (non-redundant)
- Tier 2: Redundant capacity components site infrastructure (redundant)
- Tier 3: Concurrently maintainable site infrastructure
- Tier 4: Fault tolerant site infrastructure
Data center power supply systems are key to earning Tier 3 and 4 certifications as those are directly contingent on the number of continuous and emergency power supply sources.
Safety Considerations & Generators for Data Centers
Because most data centers are located in urban areas and are continually working in more and more restricted spaces as computer hardware increases in volume, proper ventilation is a more pressing concern than with units normally located outdoors such as in the agriculture industry or unmanned cell towers in the telecom industry.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has specific guidelines for the safe operation of diesel generators. Of particular concern for generators operating indoors is the monitoring of gasses produced as a byproduct of the combustion process:
- Carbon Monoxide (CO): A toxic gas produced by fossil fuels and which is especially dangerous as it has no odor or color.
- Nitrogen Oxide (NOx): A non-toxic colorless gas that’s also a fossil fuels and which contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone.
- Hydrocarbons (HC): Organic compounds such as methane and polymers consisting of hydrogen and carbon molecules.
- Particulate Matter (PM): All particles – liquid or solid – suspended in the air.
It’s important to note some states and municipalities have emissions restrictions more stringent than the EPA. This includes California and its California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations as well as Houston, Texas.
Maximizing Power Generation for Data Centers
As in other industries, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that will work when designing, installing, and maintaining your data center gen set. There are, however, five factors to consider to tailor a power system best suited for your situational needs:
- Uptime Institute Tier 3 and 4 certifications will define power generation according to industry-accepted standards.
- Uptime will be increased through long-term power reliability strategies.
- A single vendor will improve the quality of power system installation.
- Choose a vendor based on a documented history of superior service.
- Use hardware and equipment specifically designed for high-density data centers.
In the end, while 99.9% uptime reliability is never going to be 100%, you can make sure your power system isn’t keeping you from operating at maximum efficiency.
When you’re buying generators for data centers, you want to buy with confidence and know that all units have been load tested and are guaranteed. At Depco Power Systems, you’ll have a wide variety of new, used, and surplus units available to choose from.