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Sunday, June 25th, 2017

Data Center and Infrastructure

Wireless sensors, DCIM drive holistic cooling optimization

Growing complexity in the today’s data centers has increased the risk of combining power, cooling, racks, cabling and management components to run an efficient facility due to the shortage of essential skills needed to design and integrate them.

To get around this, smart organizations have turned to tightly integrated, aisle-based physical infrastructure modules, or PODs, along with non-containerized integrated infrastructure solutions to optimize the use of power, space and cooling capacity while simplifying specification, design, validation, procurement and installation.

This approach also offers the opportunity to build data center capacity incrementally, instead of setting up 100% of the infrastructure from the start.

In line with this approach, Panduit upcoming launch of its SynapSense Cooling Optimization solution in the South East Asian and Australian regions marks a unique strategy to integrate highly-reliable secure wireless mesh sensors and gateways, airflow optimization services, and manual or automated cooling control with physical infrastructure hardware, services and data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software.

Wise choices for cooling

This strategic move addresses data center operators’ major pain points, including the need to optimize power and increase cooling capacity cost-effectively and to avoid capital expenditure on new equipment via better capacity management.

One major consideration in optimizing cooling is proper physical thermal management, including proper containment systems, blanking panels, and design of hot and cold aisles. “The next challenge is to have a balanced air flow,” says Robert Dennelly, director of Data Center Business Development at Panduit  “You do not want to have inconsistency in the pressure differential and you do not want to have hot spots within the data center. The third challenge, of course, is the dynamic IT load in the data center.

“You add equipment. The IT load in the cabinet changes over time. How do you make sure there’s proper cooling in each of the cabinets? And typically, we also see data center operators over-provisioning the cooling. Just turn the fans up and make sure nothing goes down.”

Hence, optimizing data center efficiency extends beyond energy savings to careful planning and making cost-effective choices.

The SynapSense Cooling Optimization turnkey solution provides wireless monitoring and cooling control by using intelligent software, advanced wireless sensors, and professional services. The sensors self configure and self connect to a wireless mesh gateway when they’re activated. The gateway collects and processes data captured from the sensors about temperature, humidity and pressure within the data center. And the information generated is ultimately presented to the user via a web console.

“With our SynapSense solution, energy savings really come from being able to control the fan speed that cools the data center to make sure that it’s optimum and not at full tilt, which uses a lot of energy,” points out Dennelly. To achieve this, organizations can establish baseline optimum set point conditions for the computer room air conditioning (CRAC) and computer room air handling (CRAH) units.

Facility-IT convergence

Further, Panduit facilitates the convergence between the facility and IT teams with its DCIM solution providing real-time information and visualization on power consumption, heat load and other environmental conditions within the data center. Such information enables facility groups to optimize operations by finetuning, for instance, the chiller plant or the power distribution within the data center.

Strategically, the design phase of a data center is critical in developing sustained and adaptive cooling optimization and energy efficiency. Through its professional advisory service, Panduit consults with the client to identify goals as well as the type and level of support required; develop solutions that achieve new levels of performance and efficiency; and work with experienced installation partners to deliver an integrated and well-planned physical infrastructure.

Panduit’s SynapSense and DCIM elements are aimed at quick identification of inefficiencies in, for example, energy and air flow, as data center operators plan for an optimum state. “The optimum state will require thermal management products and for existing data centers, they have to get retrofitted,” adds Dennelly. “And the data centers that offer the biggest opportunity for energy savings are the ones that were built during the period when no one was thinking about improving energy efficiency and airflow. But sometimes, that’s not an option because of the physical layout of the data center. Sometimes, we have to customize containment systems or cabinets to get to that efficiency state that customers need.”

To flesh out its integrated best-of-breed approach, Panduit works with an ecosystem of alliance partners like Cisco, EMC, IBM and VCE on R&D and product development. These partnerships give Panduit much insight into how  active equipment, architectures and data centers are evolving.

Panduit also believes that this approach allows organizations to focus their limited resources on data center operations without having to become an expert in power, cooling and infrastructure. With a single supplier managing the design and integration of all components, organizations avoid interferences and complexity commonly encountered when multiple independent suppliers are used.

This is a QuestexAsia feature commissioned by Panduit.