Data Center Journal

Volume 31 | April 2014

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26 | THE DATA CENTER JOURNAL A Modern Data Center Requires a Robust Electrical Infrastructure DESIGN CORNER I n mid-2013, a global network solutions provider released a study based upon a survey administered to 1,750 IT professionals in North America, France, Germany and the U.K. 1 A significant outcome of the study revealed that many of today's data centers are relying on 20-year old technology which impacts server productivity. Of those surveyed with these older tech- nologies, 33% reported weekly network downtime. Generally speaking, the data centers referenced above were built in the 1990s and therefore are ill-equipped to keep up with the sheer number of users and/or technological advances. • Advances in technology such as video on demand and remote access increase the strain on 'aging' data centers. • Cisco projects the amount of video- on-demand traffic in 2017 will be equivalent to 6 billion DVDs per month. 2 DECISIONS FACING IT MANAGERS Faced with an aging infrastructure, the alternatives include: 1. Build a new data center - the most expensive and time-consuming option. 2. Colocate, whereby a company leases space off-site to store their servers and storage. Companies considering this option should closely examine the provider's service level agreements. 3. Upgrade the existing infrastruc- ture, starting with a reliable power system. Long term reliability of electrical equipment is a fundamental requirement for mission critical facilities. ough the electricity may still be 'on', the power sys- tem may not be robust enough to support today's technological requirements of data centers. Switchgear equipment is at the heart of any electrical power distribu- tion system. is equipment is composed of passive components (horizontal and vertical bus structures) and active compo- nents (power circuit breakers). e main function of the active components is to protect the electrical assets downstream and to disconnect the circuit and protect personnel in case of an arc flash event. Both the passive and active components require regular maintenance to ensure equipment integrity, proper mechanical and electrical functionality, and to extend the equipment's useful life. Maintenance is necessary to assure reliability. However, even the best main- tained equipment is subject to two key phenomena: BY REZA TAJALI, SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC

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