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Power is the Most Important Factor for Selecting a Data Center Site
When Steve Rosa, principal of Unique Infrastructure Group, spoke at the Critical Facilities Roundtable, he discussed the importance of considering power when selecting a site for a new data center.
According to a recent article posted on Tek-Tips Nethawk, available and reasonably priced power is of the utmost importance when selecting a new data center site.
Recently, Server Technology, a global leader in power distribution products and power monitoring software, shared how its Sentry Power Manager serves as a one-stop shop for combating data center challenges such as improved uptime and increased power costs.
“Sentry Power Manager is currently being used in networks at some of the world’s largest companies,” Brandon Siri, senior marketing representative for Server Technology (News - Alert), told TMCnet in a recent interview. “With well over 225 installations of SPM in companies all over the world, SPM in conjunction with Sever Technology CDUs is allowing those businesses to gather the critical data they need to make smarter business decisions regarding their data centers.”
Similarly, Rosa is looking to help companies make smarter business decisions regarding their data centers.
To better understand the power issue, Rosa first looked at his personal power and gas bills. He noted that even though a residential bill is not the same as a data center power bill, he was amazed that it included several charges beyond the charge for actual use. The data center power bill is also comprised demand charge, power surcharge, service charge and sales tax. Rosa noted that what the user pays for power goes beyond the $/kWhr number.
Rosa also focused on key factors to be taken into consideration beyond today’s bill when thinking of utility power for a data center site. These include utility portfolio, rate increases, NERC (News - Alert) CIP-compliance, regulatory, future capacity and power usage effectiveness (PUE.)
Utility portfolio – the source of power generation – needs to be considered, according to Rosa, because some sources, such as coal, may be regulated more than others. Some utilities are heavy users of crude oil, while others use little oil for power generation. The price of oil is very volatile and must be considered in your site selection.
Likewise, the cost of data center power will increase over time, and that increase may depend on the site you select. The president of Rocky Mountain Power, for instance, predicted that power cost would double in the next 10 years.
In view of malware, such as Stuxnet and cyber attacks, Rosa also covered security requirements (NERC CIP-compliance) for utilities’ power generation and the power transmission infrastructure. The auditors are getting serious about enforcing it, and if a utility does not comply, it will be fined $1 million a day, which will be passed on to consumers. To date, not a single utility satisfies this requirement, stated Rosa. His suggestion is to get off the power grid and rely on your own facilities for power. The military is working to get its critical infrastructures off the grid now, the expert noted.
Future capacity is also an important consideration because you need to have reliable delivery of data center power when your demand for power increases in the future, Rosa said. For example, he added, “You cannot get even 1 kW for your new needs in Manhattan.”
On the regulatory issue, Rosa talked about the EPA’s Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standard, which is a court-sanctioned mandate that will take effect later this year. MACT is concerned with the emissions from coal-fired power plants. MACT is one type of National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP).
Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Carrie Schmelkin
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