In recent years, the internet services industry has been developing rapidly. Accordingly, the demands for compute and storage capacity continue to increase and internet data centers are consuming more power than ever before to provide this capacity. Based on the Forest & Sullivan market survey, data centers across the globe now consume around 100GWh of power and this consumption is expected to increase 30% by 2016. With development expanding, IDC (Internet Data Center) owners realize that small improvements in efficiency, from architecture design to daily operations, will yield large cost reduction benefits over time.
Cooling energy is a significant part of the daily operational expense of an IDC. One trend in this industry is to raise the operational temperature of an IDC, which also means running IT equipment at HTA (Higher Ambient Temperature) environment. This might also include cooling improvements such as water-side or air-side economizers which can be used in place of traditional closed loop CRAC (Computer room air conditioner) systems. But just raising the ambient inlet air temperature cannot be done by itself without looking at more effective ways of managing cooling control and considering the thermal safety.
An important trend seen in industry today is customized design for IT (Information Technology) equipment and IDC infrastructure from the cloud service provider. This trend brings an opportunity to consider IT and IDC together when designing and IDC, from the early design phase to the daily operation phase, when facing the challenge of improving efficiency. This trend also provides a chance to get more potential benefit out of higher operational temperature. The advantages and key components that make up a customized rack server design include reduced power consumption, more thermal margin with less fan power, and accurate thermal monitoring, etc. Accordingly, the specific IDC infrastructure can be re-designed to meet high temperature operations.
To raise the supply air temperature always means less thermal headroom for IT equipment. IDC operators will have less responses time with large power variations or any IDC failures happen. This paper introduces a new solution called ODC (on-demand cooling) with PTAS (Power Thermal Aware Solution) technology to deal with these challenges. ODC solution use the real time thermal data of IT equipment as the key input data for the cooling controls versus traditional ceiling installed sensors. It helps to improve the cooling control accuracy, decrease the response time and reduce temperature variation. By establishing a smart thermal operation with characteristics like direct feedback, accurate control and quick response, HTA can safely be achieved with confidence. The results of real demo testing show that, with real time thermal information, temperature oscillation and response time can be reduced effectively.