ebm-papst Fans, Blowers and Technology

Cooling the Cloud, One Data Center at a Time

Posted on Thu, Jan 30, 2014
describe the imageBy Peter Kimmett - Business Development Manager

In my last post, I discussed how we're reducing acoustic levels for equipment that cools today's fast, high-powered computer systems. Today, I'm exploring the other side of the equation: heat reduction.

In our world of growing cloud-based services, users want more online storage, faster video streaming and quicker access to information. In a recent article in The Data Center Journal, Jeff Clark discusses how, as energy prices and demand for cloud services increase, the demand for efficient systems to save data center floor and rack space is also growing.

While higher density data system racks can reduce facility size requirements, their cooling systems also need to accommodate higher heat loads within these smaller areas.

With an increase in rack density – both in power and airflow impedance – the challenge of keeping these systems cool while still remaining within old standards limitations is becoming significant. The dilemma? How to keep one’s data center upgrade costs low while providing the additional cooling that’s essential for higher-power density equipment which can now approach 20+ kilowatts per rack.

In this changing environment, equipment manufacturers must accommodate aging standards while also meeting higher cooling flow needs in denser rack systems. As rack densities increase, air-cooling becomes more expensive and more challenging.

As cloud-based services continue to grow, ebm-papst continues to refine technologies that help maximize cooling capacity of our air movers to meet a wide range of data center requirements. Whether it’s our new line of highly efficient compact RadiCal impellers or high-pressure capable axial fans, such as our new DV6300 series, we are always pushing the improvement curve.

Have you experienced any of the above cooling challenges in your IT/Telecom applications? If so, how did you resolve them? What solutions did you choose moving forward? We welcome your feedback in the comments box below!

About Pete Kimmet

ebm-papst Business Development Manager Peter Kimmett approaches projects in the IT/Telecom market with the same focus and determination he applies to his sports and technology interests. With a B.S.M.E. from Western New England University, he uses his engineering background, detail-oriented mindset and sense of humor to work towards common goals across the company’s disciplines and teams. A tech geek and Apple enthusiast who keeps up on the latest personal and mobile product trends, he enjoys rock climbing, snowboarding, soccer, running and experiencing different cultures through travel.

Tags: DV6300, RadiCal, ebm-papst, IT/Telecom, Pete Kimmet, Data Centers, Axial, cooling, cloud computing

3 Ways to Prevent Data Center Crises During a Power Outage

Posted on Thu, May 30, 2013
Joe Landrette
by Joe Landrette, Market Manager - Ventilation

Last year’s heavy snowstorms and Hurricane Sandy kept data center operators on their toes as they battled power outages and struggled to keep their cool – literally. These acts of nature got data center operators thinking more about ways to prevent data loss and overheating, long before the next storm hits.

1. Look to the cloud

At the Data Center World expo, from April 28 to May 2, a keynote panel featured two data center stories straight from the eye of Hurricane Sandy. For Alex Delgado, the global operations and data center manager for International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF), cloud email prevented communication headaches, and a back-up facility prevented the company from losing a single order. Donna Manley, IT senior director at the University of Pennsylvania, also relied on the cloud, backing up documentation on Box.net in case servers went down. 

2. Plan for a crisis during the design phase

For Kevin Dickens, deputy director and senior projects engineer with Jacobs Facilities, Inc., Hurricane Sandy also pointed to a need for HVAC back-up. Data center operator zColo experienced issues with its generators during the storm and decided to shut down portions of the cooling system to avoid losing the entire operation. Temperatures inside the center climbed to above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, causing zColo staff to place fans around the center, open windows and shut down some equipment.

“I have wondered what it must have been like for zColo’s mechanical team when they were informed that in order to keep IT online, they would have to shed mechanical load,” says Dickens. “Did they have any idea how the space temperature would react and how fast? Could anyone quantify the near-term and long-term risks to the IT equipment?”

Dickens addresses his own questions by pointing out that the answers should be determined during computer room air conditioner (CRAC) unit design – not during crisis time.   I would expect that the age of the CRAC’s should be reviewed along with their efficiency.  This brings us to the third topic.

3. Consider your CRAC’s age

Another consideration when creating your crisis plan: How old is the CRAC? Over 70% of the 500,000 data centers around the world are greater than 7 years old.  An old and less-efficient CRAC will put a drain on your utility bill as well as eat at your UPS capacity when crisis hits. Replacing fans within the CRACs with direct-drive EC fans means less wear and tear and, therefore, increased reliability and a longer life span.  Other benefits include:

  • 10 to 30 percent in energy efficiency gains.

  • A return on investment within six to twelve months.

  • Lowers the UPS requirements – increasing capacity for power outages.

ebm-papst offers the largest range of fan and blower sizes, along with some of the most efficient motor technology in the world.  We currently supply a range from small tubeaxial fans in blade server applications up to some of the largest fans used for data center building facilities cooling.  This proficient knowledge and product blend in IT, HVAC, and Data Center equipment position us to best address upgrades to existing cooling equipment as well as brand new cutting edge ‘green’ builds with alternative cooling methods.  

Have you recently experienced a data center crisis?  Share your story below. Interested in exploring data center cooling solutions?  Give us a call at 860-674-1515 or email sales@us.ebmpapst.com.

Tags: HVAC, Data Centers, cooling, cloud computing, CRAC

ebm-papst: Efficiency Starts at Home

Posted on Mon, Jan 07, 2013

aerial shotebm-papst Inc. has recently replaced all the heating and cooling units in the main production areas at the U.S. headquarters in Farmington, CT. The units that were removed were mostly installed in 1998. Originally, we had only one gas fired central heating system in the assembly area (circa 1985) and one more gas fired central heating system in the sheet metal area (circa 1994). We added 9 separate air conditioning units in 1998.

The decision was made to replace 10 of these units with combination heating and cooling units that utilize the existing roof penetrations.  We selected the highest efficiency model available in the 20 ton size. 

The project was completed during the final two weeks of October – including all the new natural gas line piping, rigging of the old units off the roof, and installation of the new high efficiency units.  We also added an Energy Management System (EMS) that allows for direct communication, regulation, and temperature adjustment of all the units.  They are all connected in a machine network that is subsequently controlled through a single PC setup on our LAN system.

Also recently added was an emergency backup system that consists of two small generators for both buildings. These generators are hard wired into the building electric supply and sense when there is a loss of main power, then start up automatically and provide backup power to certain key systems.  They also shut back down automatically when power returns.  They also self-test themselves by starting up and running some diagnostics once a week – just to be certain that they are functioning correctly. Both generators (one outside the warehouse and one outside the factory) are fueled by natural gas. The natural gas services are hard lines coming into both buildings and flow gas under all conditions – regardless of utility power status.

The services covered by this tandem generator system are the site computer systems, phone systems, building alarm systems, and electronic building door locks.  We have also added some fork truck charging and also some lighting for the warehouse. While they are not designed to run a laser cutting machine or a punch press, the thought is that they would allow us to continue to operate at the most basic levels during an extended outage period.

Tags: heating, ebm-papst, Energy Efficiency, cooling, generators