Learn to Save Water or Your Data Center May Tank
757 million liters. That’s about 2,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools–all full of crystal-clear, cool water. That’s how much freshwater a typical large, cloud data center complex with cooling towers used on average in 2017, even though fresh water is a dwindling and limited resource worldwide, especially in hot, dry areas of the globe. Clearly, data centers have a conservation challenge ahead of them.
Now, I’m sure you have heard the adage ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. So, it should come as no surprise that the industry has attempted to tackle this issue in a variety of ways – but unfortunately without much success – yet. Many of the solutions in recent years have certainly improved energy efficiency, but water usage remains high. Open cell towers are still way too common–place for an industry that knows it has a water problem.
And because Data Centers have this drinking problem, it is imperative the industry finds the most efficient and cost-effective solution regarding water usage – without sacrificing reliability. In short, low-water to no-water data centers are becoming a necessity for the market.
Data Centers Wow Clients with Low WUEs
First, what’s a WUE and why should you care? WUE stands for Water Usage Efficiency and it is just as important as the better known PUE (Power Efficiency Usage). The Green Grid Data Center Maturity Model (DCMM) sets standards for sustainability in several key areas including power, computing, storage, network, and yes water. They rate efficiency maturity levels on a scale from 1-5. If you are a 5, you can stop reading now…you have reached maximum efficiency. All others, keep reading.
Efficiency recommendations could include hot-aisle or cold-aisle containment to improve airflow management and reduce cooling loads, increasing the cold-aisle temperature set points, installing some form of economization to the cooling system, implementing data-center-wide monitoring and controls, conducting an energy efficiency audit, identifying and removing comatose/orphan/unused servers, and upgrading to higher-efficiency servers.
All of these strategies translate into utility bill and operational savings that also conserve overall natural resources, such as the water used onsite for cooling, or the water used to generate the electricity which runs the data centers.
The Aligned Solution: “Free Cooling”
Aligned’s cooling system offers a unique take on the chiller/forced-air approach to data center cooling that results in an all-around more efficient and sustainable solution.
Using a patented heat sink design that is closely coupled to the server racks, Aligned has been able to not only capture the heat generated by the servers more efficiently, but transport and reject it to the atmosphere using dramatically less energy and resources than the traditional CRAH systems.
The specially designed heat sinks, coupled with the use of hot aisle containment and an advanced volumetric air flow control strategy, enable Aligned to capture the heat at the source in a highly efficient manner. This solution trifecta results in a considerably lower airside static pressure drop, while minimizing bypass and maximizing the Delta T across the heat sink, which allows for dramatically less fan power and significantly higher return water temperatures.
Having higher return water temperatures is, of course, a great benefit where economization is concerned. An economizer system works the cooler outside ambient air against the warmer water to reject as much of the heat without using refrigeration.
This is where Aligned’s system sets itself apart. Their CACTUS cooler combines the best of wet and dry waterside economization, with industry leading maglev trim refrigeration. Through the use of their specially designed economizer coil and evaporative assist, the cooler is able to reject the heat very efficiently using only a modicum of fan power. Because of the close approach between the entering scavenger air and leaving water, the cooler essentially wrings out as much benefit from the ambient air as possible. And since water is used very sparingly by the evaporative media, this precious resource is conserved.
When the ambient air is no longer able to provide all the cooling needs, Aligned turns to centrifugal compressors for trim cooling. The system has the ability to start at very low power and can vary its output in a very granular way. One other benefit to the system is that the condensing section sits in the evaporatively cooled air stream, so when the system is running evaporative assist, it benefits from lower condensing temperatures and an improved coefficient of performance.
In addition to industry leading efficiency and sustainability, the Aligned Data Center Cooling System can be setup and installed to run dry. This solution benefits customers looking to operate without the use of water, while still maintaining lower connected power and lower PUE’s.
Want to learn more about how Aligned conserves water and power resources? Get in touch with us!