Technical characteristic of a Data Center (Part 3)

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The electrical, refrigeration and fire extinguishing installations fulfill essential functions for the proper operation of the data center. Advice from engineers, technicians and specialist staff will help us choose the solutions most suited to our Data Center, in accordance with our present and future needs.

Electrical Installations

At each DC facility, it is essential to guarantee their availability, which is why ensuring constant power supply is vital in order to prevent and avoid faults or, in the worst-case scenario, zero energy state of the system.

Most IT equipment has a double power supply, therefore, the projects and electrical boxes must be designed in relation thereto. The existence of System A and System B is highly recommended and, from a technical point of view, the more independent the better. In turn, the electrical installation of the Data Center must be as insulated as possible from the rest of the building. The boxes must permit future extensions and be hot. Any circuits reaching as far as the racks must have independent and specific protections for these environments, such as super-immunised differentials.

To Increase reliability levels, equipment such as UPS and insulation transformers are used.

Due to the high degrees of criticality that are intended to be achieved, it is recommended that these types of facilities be supplied by two independent power supplies to ensure that, in the event of one failing, the power supply continues to the equipment through the other. We are talking about the normal electrical grid as the primary one and, in the event of a fault, have an emergency power supply that will usually be a generator set.

Redundancy levels, electrical insulation of the DC, independence of Systems A and B and the existence of emergency power supply will depend to a large extent on whatever technical and economic balance is determined in the project.

Cooling Installations

There are a number of cooling systems and each installation must be studied, in particular to decide on the most suitable technology. It is essential to have a detailed engineering study before making a decision in this regard. In row and CRAC technologies may be chosen and, in any case, the implementation of freecooling systems must be studied. The proper operation of the chosen system that will guarantee the durability of the equipment must be ensured. It is essential to maintain appropriate temperature and humidity levels. Confining the cool and hot air also becomes essential in order to prevent them mixing and to be more efficient.

GESAB has its own cooling solutions, such as Freecooling, Ecooling, and In Row systems, or CCNOC closing of corridors.

Extinguisher Systems

Given the risk run by these kinds of facilities, the Data Center should be provided with an independent and exclusive fire protection system comprising a detection, alarm and automatic extinguishing system.

The most usual fire detection systems are conventional optical detectors and early aspirating detection using a laser camera. Data center facilities must also have an automatic extinguishing system, the most usual ones being gaseous agent or nebulized water extinguishing systems.

Gaseous agent extinguishing system. These types of solutions require the room to be highly watertight. There are several types of gases on the market, some more environmentally harmless than others. The most harmless ones include NOVEC or inert gases, though inert gases cause other problems such as overpressure in the room. Some gases work by reducing the temperature and others by reducing the concentration of oxygen in the room.

Gases used in DC facilities must avoid causing damage to IT equipment. These extinguishing systems are fast acting once the release order is given; a fire can usually be extinguished within 10 seconds. The systems are automatically activated when the fire is detected, while coordination with the cooling equipment makes these stop. Fire doors and ventilation hatches must be closed to prevent gas leaking to the outside.

Nebulised water extinguishing system. This type of solution requires a room to be less watertight. It uses very small water particles to suffocate fires. It is ideal for working in critical environments where normal water could damage equipment or facilities, as in the case of a Data Center. When the system comes into action, the nebulised water cools the fire and displaces the oxygen thanks to the steam generated at the same time as the radiant heat is reduced. It is important to know what we want to achieve, since we can find different nebulised water systems.

In the case of a data center, installing a smoke cleaning system under the false ceiling is recommended. This system removes the smoke generated and at the same time the extinguishing is carried out.

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