Keeping data centres cool and efficient
Data centres are an increasingly important part of modern infrastructure, with the UK boasting more square metres of data centre than any of the major European countries. Energy intensive and essential to practically every aspect of our lives, data centre owners and their maintenance teams are under pressure to prevent downtime, while improving sustainability. With the right systems in place these two aims can go hand in hand, creating more reliable data centres that use less power, water and labour to keep them cool and efficient.
Guardian Water Treatment can help data centres meet these aims. Using the latest technologies, we can provide options to suit both water and air cooled applications.
Water cooled data centres
Water is a far better heat transfer medium than air, making cooling towers a popular choice for larger data centres. While effective, this approach uses vast quantities of water, with some of the large data centres using hundreds of thousands of gallons of water every day.
Water recycling for data centres: One of the best ways to reduce water wastage is to recover water from processes and reuse rainwater – around 70% of water used can be recycled. This approach not only saves water, it reduces chemical usage.
The larger the system, the better the returns; approximately £2 per cubic metre of water recovered. With some of the largest data centres using thousands of cubic metres of water per day, this equates to a huge saving. In fact, initial outlay of water recycling system can be recouped in less than six months.
Data centre water recycling systems use a combination of media filtration, ion exchange and membrane filtration to remove all suspended solids and bacteria. A high percentage of dissolved solids are also removed and all bacteria, algae and viruses are discharged, ensuring recycled water is safe to use – in some cases cleaner than when it came out of the mains in the first place.
Water recycling benefits:
- Around 70% of water can be recycled, including water from processes and rainwater
- Chemical usage is reduced as well as water
- Thousands of pounds a day can be saved in larger data centres
- ROI in as little as six months
- Recycled water can be cleaner than when it came out of the mains
Air cooled data centres
In data centres relying on air cooling and supporting closed circuit water systems, water wastage is not so much of an issue – although there are still savings to be made. The main focus here is energy savings, which can be achieved by operational efficiency, in turn leading to reduced risk of downtime – a win, win scenario.
Air and water monitoring: Air monitoring is a relatively sophisticated process, using sensors to monitor conditions in order to provide real-time data on temperature, humidity and air quality, but in many data centres, ensuring the closed circuit water system is running as it should, is a less sophisticated affair. If a closed system becomes corroded, for example, expensive repairs and potentially catastrophic downtime could ensue, not to mention the strain that this fouling will place on associated systems, leading to greater energy usage.
The traditional regime for corrosion and other condition issues is sampling, which falls short on a number of factors – results can take weeks to return, it only presents a snapshot in time and sampling fails to identify dissolved oxygen effectively. The latter point is key – oxygen is the pre-cursor to all forms of corrosion, either directly or by creating the conditions for bacteria to thrive, which can lead to Microbial Induced Corrosion (MIC).
A more effective approach for critical operations such as data centres, is 24/7 remote monitoring. We use Hevasure’s technology which provides constant information on a range of parameters, including pH, temperature, pressure, inhibitor levels and the all-important dissolved oxygen. Any changes are instantly detected and sent straight to the in box of responsible parties, meaning small issues can be flagged up and dealt with before they become major problems.
Water monitoring benefits:
- Reduced risk of expensive repairs, breakdown and downtime – potentially saving tens of thousands of pounds
- Improved efficiency & fit for purpose maintenance
- Reduced water and chemical wastage – flushing and dosing can be reserved for when they are actually needed, rather than knee-jerk reactions to a problem
- Reduced need for expensive consultants