The Data Center Industry Is Changing. How Will That Affect Energy Consumption?

We asked Jim Magallanes to update our webinar viewers on the state of data storage operations and the innovative technologies guiding the future of this energy-hungry industry. His presentation was the latest of our 50-minute Coffee Break webinars — ask your SVL sales engineer for an invite to future sessions.

The State of Data Storage

The landscape of the data center industry is changing. There has been consolidation on one end of the spectrum with hyper-scale data centers — think of the cloud or other server centers like those at Google, Meta, Amazon, or Microsoft. These data centers keep growing larger and, fortunately, more efficient in their operations.

On the other end, there has been an explosion of small “data centers” that support normal business operations in the commercial, consumer, or industrial markets. This decentralized strategy of small data centers has been trending for a while and will continue to expand. Experts project that 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created or processed outside the centralized data center or cloud by 2025. That’s a ton of small data centers to support that network.

Energy Challenges in Micro “Data Centers”

Unfortunately, it is well documented that small data centers have poor cooling efficiencies and reliability. The main challenge with small data centers is that they are difficult to cool and come in all shapes and sizes, with demanding site characteristics unique to each building.

We use the term “data center” lightly here. In many cases, these server arrays are stashed in converted closets or mixed-use rooms, and there have not been server-specific cooling options for racks in these types of setups.

As a result, existing minisplit air conditioning systems usually become responsible for cooling the equipment. These systems inefficiently cool down the entire room for the sake of the server, which leads to reliability issues since they often run 24/7/365.

Consider that, in the aggregate, the energy consumption footprint of all small data centers in the country is just as large as that of massive data storage operations. Since cooling can account for up to 50% of energy costs in these arrangements, small data center cooling must evolve.

A Server-Specific Solution

EdgeCool Rackmount brings data center cooling efficiencies directly to the rack level. Its patented powerful design cools a 4 kW sensible heat load per rack while operating on standard 115 V power. Its split system design requires no additional floor space and works with most new or existing server racks, transforming them into portable, energy-saving server rooms.

EdgeCool’s efficiency comes down to how it cools the rack and not the entire room. By delivering cold air directly in front of the IT equipment and capturing the warmest air at the back of the rack, an EdgeCool rack provides little opportunity for the cold and warm air to mix (a prime culprit that hurts cooling efficiency).

This technology brings many of the best cooling practices found in large efficient data centers down to the small data center level. And it can cool multiple racks in larger centers as well. The efficiency is significant compared to minisplit arrangements — depending on your electricity rate and capacity, it could save thousands of dollars a year.

Furthermore, installation is straightforward and adaptable, with the evaporator unit located at the bottom of the server rack and several different options for the condenser unit, including the top portion of the server rack, on top of it, or remotely nearby. Not having to go through the building’s exterior walls or roofs like a traditional minisplit air conditioner, the installation time and costs can be cut by more than half.

EdgeCool is an excellent primary, redundant, or backup cooling solution for all sized data centers. Efficient cooling will save you money, while its reliability will lower your stress levels, knowing your data center will be properly cooled year-round.

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