The Stack Archive Case Study

How Panduit Oversaw Reduction in Energy Use Through Increased Integration and Automation at CyrusOne

Wed 3 Jun 2020

Thanks to Panduit technology, CyrusOne is experiencing a 2-7°F increase in the RAT set points throughout its data hall, with the refrigeration power decreased to 137.4kW from 149.9kW

CyrusOne, is a globally recognised enterprise data centre supplier which offers 40 data centres in Europe, US and Asia with more than 4 million square feet of total net rentable space. As a colocation provider it is trusted by companies of all sizes to provide scalable, highly reliable and secure data centres, as well as connectivity solutions to meet customers constantly evolving needs.

A recent survey from Secure IT Environments (2020), revealed that reducing energy costs and improving energy efficiency are IT professionals’ key priorities for 2020.

CyrusOne has designed, built and managed certified, highly secure and reliable shared data centres for critical IT environments since 2001. The Austin data centre II was designed to offer a more economical and energy efficient data centre, through the implementation of an automated monitoring system. By doing this, it could achieve its end goal, to lower its operating costs, improve operational reliability while exceeding power and cooling standards for its customers.


The company chose Panduit’s SynapSense, which offers a feature called Active Control, a technology that provides energy savings and increased efficiency by continuously aligning cooling capacity with changes in IT load. Its granular deployment of wireless sensors measure server inlet temperature and sub-floor pressure differential to manage computer room air handler (CRAH) return temperature set points and variable fan speeds. This approach optimises cooling capacity and provides savings in cooling costs by minimising the fan energy needed to meet server CFM and ASHRAE compliance.

The Active Control is one technology included in the SynapSense software. After conducting a thorough assessment at the data centre, the Panduit team first introduced the two Stulz units, of a total of 13, which had not been in use up to that point.

Working to the cooling system’s design, helped prevent air leaks in the sub-floor and triggered the 11 operational units to operate at a slower rate. Then they operated all 13 chilled water cooling units after installing the Active Control feature and replaced 63 perforated tiles with solid floor tiles, which raised the sub-floor pressure and reduced the fan speeds.

Image: LiveImaging Pressure Map – Before / After (above) Sub-floor Temperature Before / After (below)

The Active Control feature works alongside the existing Computrols Building Automation System (CBAS). With CBAS already wired into the data center’s Stulz units, communicating via Modbus, Panduit was able to streamline the process and send its control set points to CBAS. These were then passed by CBAS to the Stulz units.

This setup left all the existing BMS functionality in place while providing another layer of redundancy. As the SynapSoft Software does not make any control decisions based on humidity, the humidification and dehumidification settings on the Stulz units were disabled.

This ensures that the Stulz units do not override the software fan speed set points by going into dehumidification mode and Stulz personnel were onsite to make any necessary changes. At the same time, the fan speed and valve position limits were also increased. Initially, the fan speeds were limited to 60-80 percent and the valves from 25-100 percent. After testing, the limits were recalibrated to a more efficient 50-100 percent and 0-100 percent, respectively.

Full control

The software uses two redundant control servers, with one being active and issuing commands. If the primary server fails or loses communication, the second server will take over seamlessly with no interruption to the control system. If the software loses communication to CBAS for longer than 15 minutes, CBAS will take control of the Stulz units and hold the last set points received from SynapSoft until communication is restored and an operator intervenes to relinquish control back to the software. If the Stulz units lose communication to both CBAS and the software, they will default to their own local settings, which are a 70-degree Return Air Temperature (RAT) set point and 80 percent fan speed.

To provide environmental monitoring, Panduit installed over 300 sensors and nodes connected across 3 SynapSense Wireless Mesh Gateways throughout the data centre’s cabinets, including temperature sensors in both the front and back as well as humidity and pressure sensors. The mesh networked included installed CRAH nodes to measure the supply and return temperatures as well as the return air’s relative humidity.

Jason Dingess, Program Manager, Datacenter Systems, CyrusOne stated, “Thanks to Panduit’s SynapSense solution, we have improved our IT Space efficiency and sustainability. This allows our customers to know what is going on with their servers and is essential for our service level agreements (SLAs). In addition, we are recovering cooling capacity that increases our operational and energy efficiency.”

Before Panduit implemented the Active Control feature, there were 11 of 13 CRAH units running with an average fan speed of 73 percent, all with return air temperature set points of 70°F. The two fan units that were not operating were not sealed, and cold air from the sub-floor was blowing back into the return plenum.

After implementing the Active Control feature, all 13 fans were running with an average speed of 62 percent, which brought the power used down from 64.3kW to a startling 37.9kW. This is especially impressive since the 64.3kW accounted for 11 out of 13 fans working, while the 37.9kW utilises all 13. At the start of the project, the average rack inlet temperature in the data hall was 67°F and the average under-floor pressure was slightly under 0.030 inches of H2O. Panduit set the target point for the rack inlet temperatures at 78°F and the control system increased the return air temperature (RAT) set point to meet this inlet temperature, since the majority of the rack inlet temperatures were below recommended values.

Today, CyrusOne is experiencing a 2-7°F increase in the RAT set points throughout the data hall, with the refrigeration power decreased to 137.4kW from 149.9kW. In addition, the floor pressure is perfectly balanced.

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