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Rising rack densities worldwide means European data centre stakeholders must adapt their approach to testing key cooling infrastructure ahead of facilities coming online, says temporary solutions specialists Aggreko

Will high-density racking change how we cool future data centres

According to a recent market report by Researchandmarkets.com, rack power density is expected to grow globally from an average of 4-6kW in 2020 to approximately 10-12kW in 2026 because of the deployment of increasingly high-performance infrastructure, but can be as much as 100KW for supercomputer applications. With the CBRE highlighting a quarter-on-quarter decline in vacancies for the FLAP markets due to data demand, facilities are increasingly being housed in highly rack-dense locations with smaller footprints.

The need to prevent servers from overheating in these more cramped environments has led to the growing popularity of more efficient heat removal technologies, such as liquid cooling. According to Aggreko, this change in approach can present different challenges for loadbank testing that must be addressed in the commissioning phase.

“Ensuring that data centre halls maintain a controlled environment is a key part of keeping facilities functional and avoiding disruption,” explains Billy Durie, Global Head for Data Centres at Aggreko. “However, the surge in more compact data centres, often situated in high-rise city centre locations in areas such as Frankfurt and London, poses new commissioning challenges that need to be accounted for with innovative testing methods.

“Simply put, traditional air cooling is not possible in data halls with high rack density, and as research shows, this will become a growing concern as more and more IT equipment is fitted into smaller spaces. It is therefore crucial that data centre owners and operators engage with organisations that can effectively load-test the liquid cooling systems that will become increasingly commonplace in the facilities of the future.”

Will high-density racking change how we cool future data centres

With innovative approaches required to adequately test cooling systems in this more challenging environment, electric boilers from suppliers such as Aggreko may offer a potential solution. Installed with the data hall and connected directly into the cooling circuit during the commissioning phase, these units heat the liquid within the cooling system and measure its response to rising temperatures.

“Overheating servers can present real issues for businesses that rely on these facilities for their everyday operation,” concludes Billy. “This is especially the case for organisations that constantly require large amounts of data very quickly, and this level of demand, combined with rising rack density, requires highly efficient liquid cooling systems to maintain stable conditions.

“This specific issue demonstrates a wider one – that the data centre market is continually in flux and subject to emergent trends. With this in mind, site managers must seek out specialist assistance from organisations that can adapt their testing methods to suit new construction demands. Aggreko’s use of electric boilers, combined with the organisation’s expertise to ensure the highly controlled data hall environment remains uncompromised during the testing process, is an excellent example of this approach in action.”

For more information on loadbank testing for your data centre site, visitwww.aggreko.com.

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