Storage technologies are quite a rage in data centers these days. Every data center environment requires a different type of solution. Some data centers may receive poor quality power that needs to be rectified; some data centers may have frequent power failures for short durations of time; some may have power failures that may last a while. As a data center manager you must not only consider solutions that cater to your environments, but also solutions that are likely to last.
There are some factors that most data center experts consider while deciding on the type of storage solutions for their data center.
Data Center Efficiency
This term is defined as the ratio of power available to the IT load to the power available to the data center. If the efficiency of the storage devices is low, then they will draw more power to keep themselves charged. As a result, the power available to the IT load will be diminished. This, in turn, will lead to an increase in the energy costs of the data center.
How critical is your load?
For some data centers, it is mandatory that they maintain 100 percent uptime because of mission critical data stored in them. If the systems go down, they stand to lose millions of dollars in just a few minutes. Yet others are less critical and do not stand to lose much even if the data center is shut down for some time. Depending on the criticality of the operations, you can choose to spend on the energy storage devices ‒ you can decide whether you need power only till you can safely turn off the devices or till an auxiliary source can be connected to the grid. If you own a large data center, you can categorize the data center rooms according to its criticality and you can up the storage devices only for the critical IT equipments.
The initial investment for the storage options plays a huge role in the determination of the technology you will use in your data center. Sometimes, government might be offering you an incentive for the promotion and use of green technology which you might consider availing. Modular storage devices are becoming quite popular. You can invest in them as and when required.
If you buy an energy storage unit that needs constant replacement, the overall cost of the device will obviously shoot up. The total cost of ownership should be as low as possible. You also have to take maintenance and operating costs into account.
Size and weight
Although this is not a making or breaking factor, it is still important to discuss this point. Most of the backup devices are placed as close to the IT equipments as possible, preferably in the same rack. In such cases, it pays to have a small sized, light/medium weighing device instead of a monstrous piece of equipment. Sometimes, the racks or floors may not even be able to bear the weight of the equipments. It is also not feasible to have a large part of the room dedicated exclusively for storing the storage devices.
Time to support
This factor completely depends on the stability of your local utility company. If you experience short but frequent blackouts, you need to adopt a different technology from the data centers in areas that experience a rare but prolonged blackout. If batteries follow the charge- discharge cycle without fully discharging, the life of the battery is significantly reduced.
Whether you plan to house your storage devices indoors or outdoors, the average/ typical temperature standards, humidity range and static in the air also matter. They can affect the life of the devices and affect their functionality.
Safety is an important consideration for the selection of storage devices. More often than not, energy is chemically stored. You don’t want your employees collapsing when they go too close to the batteries. Even worse, you don’t want your flywheel to go out of control and turn into a circular saw. Also, you are also running a data center, not a firework workshop; fire in any form is disastrous to the building. Avoid it. You must adhere to the local safety regulations and fire codes.
Wear and tear is part and parcel of storage devices. Batteries can succumb to corrosion or will require electrolyte replacement; flywheels can wear out. But that does not mean you spend all your resources and time on maintaining. Choose solutions that can do with little or no maintenance at all.
Data Center Talk updates its resources everyday. Visit us to know of the latest technology and standards from the data center world.
Please leave your views and comments on DCT Forum.