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Old 05-08-2014, 07:57 PM
Keith R Keith R is offline
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Default DC Power Could Be the Future For Data Centers

The first decade of the 21st century brought immense gains in the IT industry. Larger, denser data centers became the norm, as did higher and higher power consumption. Consequently, efficiency has become a key consideration for those in the IT world and while this has sparked a boom for high-efficiency components like 80PLUS power supplies and the like, there still remains a remarkable inefficiency in the way that power is supplied to these components.

What’s so inefficient about AC power?

The main problem with the supply of energy to data centers is the loss of energy through multiple conversions needed to get the power to the right type/voltage for the data center. The typical process used to get power to the electronics in a data center is somewhat convoluted. The established AC distribution system in North America supplies 480V AC power, which is which gets stepped down into safer, 208V AC power, which is then converted back into DC power which goes through a UPS (uninterruptable power supply), then is converted back into AC so it can run on the wires in the building, and is then finally converted back to DC by the components that consume it.

All of the changes that occur throughout the process of creating usable DC power result in a significant loss of potential energy. Until recently, not much consideration was given to possible alternative paths for the energy to take, however, some simple alternatives are starting to make some new gains in the IT world.

What would be more efficient than the typical AC to DC process?

Simply eliminating all of the steps in the process and converting AC to medium voltage DC before it gets inside the data center could yield huge energy savings for IT businesses. You can save energy just by eliminating one conversion and using a DC-to-DC power supply, so imagine the savings of a DC data center!
Are there any other benefits to a DC data center?

The benefits of a DC data center aren’t limited to energy savings either. According to Ronald Ranaldi, VP of sales at Validus, “real estate is often even greater than energy savings”. The square footage required for a DC data center is 25% to 40% less than that required of your average data center. This is because all of the equipment can connect directly to their back-up batteries rather than having to connect to a series of components. Additionally, fewer components means DC data centers can afford you cheaper installation costs as well as cheaper maintenance costs than their AC counterparts.

According to Validus DC Systems CEO, Rudy Kraus, many of the world’s most reliable platforms already run on DC power. “Nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers, data centers (UPS systems are backed up by DC battery strings), manufacturing facilities and telecommunication centers all run direct current.”
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