An Introduction to Data Centers

Anything we do in the cloud requires data centers: streaming shows on Netflix, buying products on Amazon, storing documents on Google Drive, posting on social media platforms, hailing a ride on Uber, reserving a room on Airbnb… Data centers are essential in keeping the systems we use on a daily basis functioning and operational.

Put simply, a data center is a building or space dedicated to the housing of computer systems and associated components like servers or telecommunications. (Wikipedia) Historically, companies had their own server rooms or IT spaces located on their property; but, there has been a shift from this traditional model of data center to a cloud data center platform, which houses and hosts essential IT equipment off-site, often maintained by a third party.

Data centers are large-scale operations, with tens of thousands of terawatt-hours being consumed globally each year. According to the US Department of Energy, “Data centers are one of the most energy-intensive building types, consuming 10 to 50 times the energy per floor space of a typical commercial office building.” Because of this high energy consumption, it’s especially important to increase efficiency whenever and wherever possible. Data centers are commonly classified as mission critical, as they are essential to the survival of a business which leads to minimal downtown at a facility, leading to a need for high repeatability and quality. Data centers have an uptime guarantee of over 99%, with downtime varying from 26.3 minutes to 28.8 hours per year depending on their infrastructure tier. (phoenixNAP)

Several products are used to ensure a data center is operating safely and efficiently. Relative humidity, temperature, air velocity, differential pressure, and flow control are all important factors to consider within a data center space. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) lists several guidelines for the long-term operation of data centers.

Humidity/Temperature Transmitter, Series RHP

High relative humidity and temperature have shown to have a negative impact on IT equipment, and can result in decreased reliability and performance. (IBM) Dwyer offers many products for monitoring these parameters, such as the Series RHP humidity/temperature transmitter and the Series TE-E/N wall mount temperature sensor. 

Air Velocity Transmitter, Series AVLV

The Series AVUL and AVLV air velocity transmitters are a great choice for monitoring air velocity or volumetric flow in a building duct. These units provide a linear velocity output signal that can be paired with a building management system. In particular, the lower ranges of the AVLV high accuracy units are ideal for applications in quality intensive environments like data centers.

Magnesense® Differential Pressure Transmitter, Series MSX Pro

The Dwyer® Series MSX and MSX Pro Magnesense® differential pressure transmitters have the high accuracy pressure measurement required for exacting control. Standard square root capability converts a velocity pressure into a velocity flow or volumetric flow eliminating the need for additional air flow instrumentation and simplifying programming at the BMS. Additionally, the MSX or MSX Pro can be used to notify both a local alarm and control system via dual voltage and current output signals. Within data centers, these transmitters are used for controlling VFD driven air supply in the HVAC system and monitoring pressure drop across filters to maintain clean air cooling the data center racks.

Insertion Electromagnetic Flow Transmitter, Series IEF

In addition, Dwyer’s Series IEF insertion electromagnetic flowmeters are key to ensuring the smooth running of the critical cooling systems within data centers. These flowmeters can be installed with a hot tap, which means that they have the ability to change the sensor while not interrupting the operation of the chillers. This is vital, as it allows the system to undergo maintenance while the data system remains functioning and minimizes downtime. Additionally, Dwyer offers a unique option that allows three IEF’s to be positioned in the same location in one pipe which provides safety redundancy for data centers in case an instrument stops functioning.

Dwyer has a full range of humidity, temperature, differential pressure, and velocity sensors to control the environment inside data centers.

If you have any questions about selecting products for your application, the Dwyer Applications Engineers are available to assist by phone at (219) 879-8868 x6402, or by email at tech@dwyermail.com.

To learn about leak detection in data centers, please read our blog article here: http://blog.dwyer-inst.com/2021/05/19/protect-your-capital-assets-water-leak-detection/