Taking a different approach to Data Centre cables
Wed 3 Jun 2020 | Darren Clark
Why it’s about more than just cable supply
Global tech giants are building hyperscale data centres around the world but each site will have its own unique challenges. Data centre cables have to meet the demands of the application, match the geographic and environmental particulars, and comply with relevant regulations and legislations of the location country.
In practice, that means when considering medium voltage cables for distributing power from the grid or substation to transformers you size the cable accordingly. You select whether or not the cable is armoured. You also identify whether cables will be run externally, direct buried, or placed in cable ducts; considering whether additional water-blocking layers are required and confirming properties such as UV resistance where needed. That’s before you consider the raft of regulations to comply with.
Yet the pure specification is only part of the puzzle. In many ways, that’s where a cable supply partner comes into its own:
Taking nothing for granted – independent laboratory testing
Just because the label says the cable meets the standards doesn’t mean it actually does. Unfortunately, quality and compliance is not a given, and sub-standard or non-compliant cables can cause issues ranging from reduced performance and increased maintenance to far worse, including short-circuit and fire.
By rigorously testing the cables in an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory prior to install, that risk is mitigated. Any cables not meeting the exacting specifications are quarantined before they reach the site. Installing a cable you know meets demands saves both time and money in the longer term. For those high-profile, quality-conscious jobs the additional testing provided by the BSI Cable Verification Kitemark, testing across all component layers, can provide an even greater peace of mind.
Specifying when no off-the-shelf cable exists
The long list of requirements can mean that no one cable meets all the demands. That’s where technical experts can design a customised solution. The process of design, manufacture, and testing can be achieved within the same timeframe as standard manufacturing lead-times in most cases.
Calling on technical know-how
In addition to QA controlled cables and accompanying accessories, you need data centre project specialists who can offer guidance of industry best-practice and confirm the nuances of legislation such as CPR in different European countries. You need cable technical experts to answer tricky electrical questions and confirm accessories and cables will be calibrated to fit.
Demanding excellence in service
Excellence is expected of you, so in turn you should expect nothing less of your cable supplier. You need all of the above along with tailored logistics where deliveries arrive well-packaged and in the same optimum condition they set out in. You expect clear and transparent communications and a customer experience that clearly puts you first.
In short, it’s about integrating cable experts into your wider team and knowing you can rely on them to help your project run smoothly. When all of this is put together it makes for a compelling offering for your customer – ultimately what everyone wants.
- Darren Clark, UK & Ireland Sales Director, Eland Cables