Trade-off tools for data center design

Based on the input of customer requirements, the tools will aid in the design and deployment of prefabricated or traditional build data centers, highlighting potential PUE levels, carbon emissions and cost savings to ensure project teams make sound decisions in the early planning phase.

Schneider Electric has introduced two freely available new solutions within their online family of TradeOff Tools that serve as design aids for those planning data-centre projects.

Created by Wendy Torell and Victor Avelar, both Senior Research Analysts at Schnieder Electric’s Data Center Science Center, the Prefabricated vs Traditional Data Center Cost Calculator and the Cooling Economizer Mode PUE Calculator allow users to model the benefits and associated costs and risks of various options available in a number of scenarios.

The Prefabricated vs Traditional Data Center Cost Calculator allows planners to investigate whether a prefabricated approach to building a data centre is appropriate based on an order-of-magnitude estimate of the capital expense costs involved. Users of the tool can compare a completely prefabricated data centre in which power, cooling and IT facilities are factory built, pre-tested and pre-configured off-site, compared to a traditional design and build approach. They can also examine the effects of a partially modular approach, using prefabricated modules for only one or some of the elements.

The key cost drivers to consider are cooling architecture, rack density, module placement and whether to build or lease the property. The tool uses pricing information from a variety of sources inside and outside Schneider Electric including third-party equipment suppliers and government labour statistics to provide rough comparisons of the costs of choosing a particular module or combination of modules.

The tool makes use of trending data to devise multipliers to estimate the effects of increasing rack density, capacity and redundancy. It calculates a summary of the capital expenditure incurred by a variety of options and demonstrates the percentage difference. Bar charts provide a graphical overview of the equipment, design/installation and space/building costs for each approach.

The Cooling Economizer Mode PUE Calculator allows planners to compare common cooling economiser architectures for a given geography, load and operating environment.

Users of the tool input the data centre’s specific location, IT capacity, IT load density, desired operating temperature and other power characteristics.

The tool calculates Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), energy cost, annual carbon emissions and the economizer mode hours for a variety of cooling architectures. These include chilled water architectures: using a chiller with a cooling tower and perimeter computer-room air handler (CRAH), or a containerised packaged chiller with dry cooler and row-based CRAH; glycol-cooled architectures; and a variety of air-cooled architectures. The calculations are based on measured and estimated device-loss data. Losses are adjusted for IT inlet temperature and humidity in the location and weather date temperature is used to determine the number of economizer mode hours at each temperature. Using the tool will help planners determine the optimal cooling economizer approach for their data centre.

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