The new standard for data centers

Power supplies play a vital role in overall data center efficiency. (Source: Advanced Energy)

In this edition of Voices of the Industry, Brian Korn, Vice President of Data Center Computing for Advanced Energy, explores the journey from simple servers to achieving interoperability in an open standard power architecture.

Brian Korn, Vice President of Data Center Computing for Advanced Energy

Data centers continue to be power-hungry hubs, driven by the explosive growth of big data, digital content, e-commerce, social media networks, mobile networks and cloud computing.

As the demand for greater scalability, continuous availability, and real-time responsiveness increases, open standard architectures are rapidly being adopted as a model for standardizing and simplifying systems management.

Traditionally, consumer data centers consist of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of racks of independent server machines, almost exclusively using 12-volt power. The challenge with this approach, however, is that there are inherent limits to what data centers can do with a finite set of resources. And while technologies have been implemented over time in an attempt to accommodate increased levels of computing, the result is expensive and complex systems with oversized physical configurations and siled management.

Open standards enable the redesign of data center infrastructure to effectively meet the growing demands of next-generation computing.

The need for better data and digital services is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, with global Internet traffic expected to reach 4.2 zettabytes per year (4.2 trillion gigabytes) and the number of users of Mobile Internet is expected to reach five billion. by 2025, while the number of Internet of Things (IoT) connections is should double from 12 billion to 25 billion during this period.

By providing an open platform, organizations are able to overcome the limitations of fixed resources in existing infrastructures and achieve true interoperability between the cloud and traditional models. Not only does this enable the integration of heterogeneous systems, but it also removes vendor-imposed boundaries by improving data interchange and exchange, to create a scalable yet sustainable infrastructure that meets the continued demand for more power and pressures to cut costs.

To accommodate this shift to an open computing platform, meet the needs of next-generation high-performance processors, and improve power efficiency, data centers are moving to 48-volt power distribution.

It takes a huge amount of energy to power data centers and the sector’s energy consumption will only increase as the demand for more data centers increases. Already, data centers are using a estimated at 200 terawatt hours (TWh) each year, to power critical IT systems as well as additional equipment, such as lights, cooling systems, monitors and humidifiers.

Moving the rack supply from 12 volts to 48 volts reduces current consumption for the same input power by a factor of four, resulting in 16 times lower distribution losses. In principle, this allows data centers to become more economical, flexible, easier to manage and easier to scale on demand. This ultimately reduces total cost of ownership through significantly better thermal performance, optimized efficiency and increased power density.

As organizations leverage big data to stay close to consumers, this shift is seen not only in large data centers, but also in various markets where small and medium-sized businesses, and even retailers, are migrating from the traditional approach. from data management and storage to highly scalable edge systems. Consider a retailer with an IT footprint equal to that of any large enterprise, with servers located in thousands of stores and distribution centers across the country. This extended footprint means that each store acts as a mini data center, with the retailer able to take advantage of open standards, such as the Open Compute Project (OCP), tailored to the needs of edge computing rather than the main data center, to support the growing number of retail applications.

Brian Korn is the Vice President of Data Center Computing at Advanced Energy and brings extensive experience in embedded power solutions for data center computing, hyperscale, telecom and networking products. Contact Advanced Energy to learn more about how their OCP-compliant platform is a catalyst for bringing interoperability, increased reliability of compute and storage applications, and power savings to large-scale deployments, enterprise data centers and edge computing.

Ramon J. Espinoza