The Stack Archive Article

Intelligent Enclosures and the Physical Infrastructure Solution for Data Centres

Fri 22 Apr 2016 | Michael Adams

Data centres are under pressure to increase their operational efficiencies, and ensure that the data centre is operating 24/7 without fail.  Without true transparency to actual data centre operations such as power consumption and cooling efficiency, data centre management are not prepared with the actionable information necessary to optimise energy efficiency, maximise capacity and protect the uptime of the service to customers.


The physical architecture of the data centre now has the capability to support the operational requirements due to the latest enclosure designs and the analysis systems that the modern DCIM offers.


The latest enclosures such as Net-Access and the Net-Contain ducting system are the core products within Panduit’s ‘SmartZone’ strategy and have been designed in collaboration with the industry’s leading hardware, software and backbone suppliers. This range of highly flexible enclosures provide the framework to deliver transparency of power consumption and thermal conditions at the cabinet and individual outlet level.


Panduit’s Integrated Infrastructure Solutions (IIS) deliver a complete family of data centre hardware, software and services that are modular, and pre-tested, allowing IT and facilities stakeholders to stay ahead of demands, minimise required resources and expenses and reduce total cost of ownership.


Designed and built as an interoperable end-to-end solution Panduit (IIS) facilitate faster implementation by streamlining the process of designing, specifying, installing and managing the increasingly complex physical infrastructure necessary to optimise the modern data centre. The enormous expense of operating a data centre means that operators must design and deploy an architecture that is built to meet projected needs, which requires both the scalability to meet changing business demands and optimisation of IT investment. World class quality testing by both Panduit and its alliance partners such as CISCO, EMC2 and VCE have proven to significantly reduce infrastructure risk. By applying intelligence to the operations to identify opportunities for improvement the architecture can create new operating efficiencies, such as in-line metering to monitor power consumption to measure and verify actual power consumption, a growing compliance demand for today’s high-performance data centres.


The Panduit range of physical infrastructure solutions help to address challenges around power, cooling, asset management and connectivity.  This system delivers support for active equipment, seamless scalability for networking, computing or storage capacity and improved thermal efficiencies.



Panduit Integrated Infrastructure Solution



Physical Infrastructure

Key Elements include:

  • Modular cabinets for serviceability and flexibility for moves, adds and changes (MAC)
  • Seamless migration path for higher data rates and next-generation network architectures (fibre and copper connectivity)
  • Passive airflow remediation product suite (thermal management, cooling control and containment)
  • Pre-configured cabinets, including plug and play solutions and POD containment designs
  • Security and remote operational capabilities


To meet these challenges while minimising the risk to service levels, the available data centre space is often underutilised while being over provisioned with excess power and cooling capacity regardless of actual IT equipment and space utilisation. Today, a typical data centre consumes about 3-5kW per cabinet due to the power and cooling concerns, while the available cabinet space can accommodate 15kW or more per cabinet when managed effectively.


As energy and construction costs continue to rise, over provisioning and under utilisation are no longer sustainable. Energy costs related to cooling account for approximately 37 percent of the overall data centre power consumption and are one of the fastest rising data centre operational costs.


Panduit Energy Usage Pie-Chart_


Power and cooling capacity remain the top targets for efficiency improvement and optimisation of cooling capacity is often the simplest way for data centre operators to realise short term savings and directly impact the PUE. Panduit Labs research confirms that raising the supply air temperature in a data centre is one of the most effective means to reduce energy consumption. In addition, higher return temperatures enable a higher Computer Room Air Handler (CRAH) DT across the heat exchangers allowing the cooling system to operate more efficiently.


Hot Air Cold Air Separation


A key way to realising this energy efficiency potential and enable maximum capacity utilisation is to eliminate the mixing of cold and hot air within the cabinet and at room level delivering higher return air temperatures to the cooling system and allowing higher room set points. It is understood that a 1oC rise in chiller water temperature translates into 3-4 percent cooling system energy savings.


Complete hot air cold air separation is critical to energy efficiency and capacity utilisation. Panduit’s Energy Efficient Data Centre Cabinet System offers containment, in-cabinet ducting and improved sealing that optimises air separation and provide superior energy savings compared to competitive offerings. Even small air leaks within a cabinet will impact data centre energy efficiency, regardless of the heat load. Leaks allow hot air recirculation forcing IT equipment inlet fans to work harder and consume more energy, limiting per cabinet power utilisation. Panduit Net-Access Cabinets reduce the air leakage typical in standard cabinets by as much as 80 percent. Segregating hot and cold air, allows cool air to be directed into the intake fans preventing recirculation and reducing inlet air temperature by as a much as 14oC, lowering fan energy consumption.


The Energy Efficient Data Centre Cabinet System can be seamlessly integrated with all elements of the Panduit Intelligent Data Centre Solution, including Overhead Cable Pathway Systems, High Speed Data Transport (HSDT) Cabling, Grounding and Bonding and Physical Infrastructure Systems.



Panduit Net-Contain POD


Complete air seal features reduce air leakage throughout the cabinet structure by as much as 25% Net-Access Cabinets have been designed to eliminate every possible air gap other than those needed to mount equipment. This minimises by-pass air and recirculation in the cabinet allowing lower inlet temperatures. Net-Direct inlet ducts enable optimised containment by effectively directing airflow to improve network reliability. Inlet duct solutions deliver cooling air directly from the cold aisle into the intake fans of switches. Inlet ducts are completely passive, requiring no energy to operate. The system ensures front to back cooling airflow which enables an effective deployment of network switches with Net-Contain cold aisle containment. Inlet ducts enable reduced fan power energy consumption by allowing lower fan speeds, improving the reliability of the switch.


Net-Direct exhaust ducts direct hot exhaust air out of the cabinet and away from adjacent devices to the hot aisle enabling effective deployment of network switches with a standard hot aisle/cold aisle configuration. Exhaust ducts enable reduced fan power energy consumption by allowing lower fan speeds, improving the reliable of the switch. In-Cabinet ducting optimises cooling system efficiency by establishing front to back airflow patterns through the cabinet.


Panduit Vertical-Exhaust-Duct1

Panduit Vertical-Exhaust-Duct2

Typical Uncontrolled Air Flow vs Panduit Net-Contain System


Data centre managers challenged to maximise the utilisation of available rack-space and cooling capacity, often increase the power density per cabinet. As cabinet power densities rise, containment architectures are the optimal approach, ensuring uniform cooling air temperature is delivered to equipment in high density PODs allowing full utilisation of available cabinet space and cooling capacity.


Passive cooling for high density applications – Net-Contain Vertical Exhaust Duct (VED) Systems

optimise cooling energy utilisation to support high density heat loads to enable 30kW or greater per cabinet. VEDs passively separate hot exhaust air from cooling air and direct hot exhaust air from active equipment into the Computer Room Air Handler (CRAH) air return system, allowing higher return air temperature improving CRAH and heat exchanger system efficiency up to 40% or more.


Vertical Exhaust Duct System provide the data centre architects flexibility and versatility with exhaust ducts offered in multiple sizes and heights allowing systems to adapt to virtually any data centre structure including slab floors and raised floors and facilities with or without drop ceilings. This modular system allows fast deployment, which can provide lower installation costs, while component build quality ensures sealed connections which improves system reliability and protection to both equipment and personnel.


Real-Time Wireless Monitoring and Cooling Optimisation


With the hardware implemented, monitoring and controlling the environment is essential to gain and retain operating efficiencies. SynapSense is an element within the Smart Zone portfolio and provides a wireless monitoring and cooling optimisation solution. SynapSense is a powerful DCIM thermal risk management and cooling application. Through a mesh network of on-cabinet devices, operators are provided with visibility across the environment and can instigate change manually or automatically to optimise airflow and maintain efficient processes.  Panduit offers end-to-end solutions to provide a road map to achieve data centre operators’ capacity and investment goals.

Experts featured:

Michael Adams

EMEA Director Integrated Data Center (IDC)

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