The Raritan Blog

Are Data Center Power and Cooling Being Overlooked?

Michael Bord
February 10, 2016

There’s been no shortage of coverage on the data center industry over the last few years.  Topics like big data, cloud, CI, IOT, HPC, and virtualization get all the headlines. But why don’t fundamental topics - like power, cooling, and infrastructure - get the same amount of exposure?

Last year, Lenny Liebmann wrote in a piece for BizTech Magazine:

“With all of the attention being paid to the cloud, Big Data, mobility and other hot-button IT issues, it’s easy to forget about seemingly mundane concerns such as data center power and cooling. 

But IT decision-makers do so at their own peril, because the transformations taking place in the data center are making it essential for IT departments to change the way they manage power and cooling. And any failure to make those changes can leave organizations unacceptably vulnerable to power outages, overheated equipment and excessive utility bills.”

So there we have it. At a time when so much has been made of advances in computing, storage, and networking, it’s easy to overlook the underlying infrastructure that makes it possible and reliable.  Read more of Liebmann’s article in the latest edition of the Hot Aisle.

But consider how a leading company like eBay approaches infrastructure in its Tier IV Topaz Data Center:

“With multiple blade servers deployed in certain cabinets, eBay wanted any given rack to be capable of provisioning loads up to 17kW. While this is achievable with traditional 208V distribution, Topaz enjoys significant cost efficiencies by extending higher- voltage distribution all the way to each cabinet. By supplying 400V power to each rack, eBay minimizes step-down transformation and line transmission loss while simultaneously reducing copper utilization.  Specifically, eBay provides 400V 3-phase power to two Raritan intelligent rack power distribution units in each cabinet.

The rack PDU, with internal line-to-neutral (3-phase WYE) wiring, supplies each server with 240V, single-phase power – well within the operating range of the power supplies of virtually any IT equipment.  By eliminating unnecessary voltage transformations, 400V power reduces energy costs by approximately 2-3% vs. 208V distribution; and approximately 4-5% vs. 120V distribution.”

One might argue that few companies in the world have the resource demands of eBay.  But, with emerging trends changing the physical make up of data centers all over – it would be wise to start taking power and cooling more seriously. 

Learn more about Raritan rack power distribution and environmental monitoring solutions.