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Planning & Optimising the Green IT Datacentre: Design, Operation & Management Best Practices, Technologies & Challenges Pierre Ketteridge, IP Performance Ltd. Green IT Business Transformation Seminar. Introduction. Yes! Of course… …but only with careful planning, design and management!.

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Planning & Optimising the Green IT Datacentre: Design, Operation & Management Best Practices, Technologies & ChallengesPierre Ketteridge, IP Performance Ltd

Green IT Business Transformation Seminar


Yes! Of course…

…but only with careful planning, design

and management!


  • The direct carbon impact (ie Carbon Footprint) of Data Centres on the environment is almost exclusively related to power consumption

  • Data Centres do not (when properly designed and managed) vent hot air or polluting gases into the atmosphere – cooling should be a ‘closed system’

  • There may be indirect carbon impacts through staffing levels, travel to and from site, operational maintenace and housekeeping


15% of business power consumption is

accounted for by Data Centres & ICT…









…Lighting accounts for 1-3%,

dependent on whether LO operation

is implemented or not


Cooling falls into two categories:

Air Cooling

Liquid (water) Cooling

Cooling> Air Cooling

Air Cooling

The traditional way of cooling a Data Centre Computer Room:

CRAC (Computer Room Air Conditioner)

Water Chiller

Cold Aisle/Hot Aisle Configuration

Cooling> Air Cooling

Inherent limitations of CRAC-based Air Cooling Systems:

CRAC capacity needs to be 30% greater than the actual demand

Limitations in cooling (5kW – 7kW per rack)

N+1 active equipment resilience/redundancy drives efficiency of cooling system down further

Cooling> Air Cooling

Some Easy-to-Implement Air Cooling Optimisation Suggestions:

Hot Aisle/Cold Aisle Arrangement

Cold Aisle Containment

Blanking Panels

Raised Floor Brush Strips

Underfloor, Inter- and Intra-rack Cable Management

Free Air Cooling

Cooling> Air Cooling> Hot Aisle/Cold Aisle

  • With no hot aisle/cold aisle

  • arrangement, returning heated

  • air mixes with the CRAC-cooled

  • air and cooling to the DC CR

  • equipment is impaired. There is

  • also the issue of bypass cold

  • airflow, which can impact chiller

  • operation.

  • With a hot aisle/cold aisle arrangement, chilled air is forced out into the front-of-cabinet facing cold aisles, across the equipment surface, and warm air is channeled out into the rear-of-cabinet facing hot aisle for return to the chiller/CRAC.

Cooling> Air Cooling> Hot Aisle/Cold Aisle

  • Ineffective positioning of CRACs impair the

  • airflow around the DC CR.

  • CRACs along the side walls are too close to the

  • equipment racks, and will cause the airflow to

  • bypass the floor vents in those cold aisles.

  • Place cooling units at the end of the equipment

  • rows, not mid-row.

  • CRACs should be aligned with the hot aisles to prevent hot/cold aisle airflow crossover, which apart from increasing the temperature of air supply to the rack fronts but also can trigger the cooling unit to throttle back, reducing cooling overall.

  • Limit maximum cooling unit throw distance to 50'

Cooling> Air Cooling> Hot Aisle/Cold Aisle

Separation of High-density Racks

  • Air cooling systems become ineffective

  • when high-density racks are co-located

  • “Borrowing” of adjacent rack cooling

  • capacity is not possible in this

  • configuration

  • An alternative (other than self-contained

  • cooling) is to spread out high-density

  • racks to maintain the cooling averages

  • Obviously this is not always practical –

  • witness the prevalance of blade server and

  • virtualisation technologies – two to five

  • times the per rack power draw of

  • traditional servers

Cooling> Air Cooling> Cold Aisle Containment

ColdAisle Containment

  • Very simple to deploy / Retrofit

  • Hot and cold aisles physically separated

  • Greater watts per rack approx 10kW

  • Over sizing of the CRAC is reduced

  • CRAC efficiency is increased due to a higher delta T

  • CRAC fan speed can be reduced which provides:

    • - Reduced running costs

    • - Increased MTBF

Cooling> Air Cooling> Blanking Panels

  • Reduction and stabilization of equipment air-intake temperatures

  • • Elimination or reduction of the number and severity of hotspots

  • • Increased availability, performance, and reliability of IT equipment, especially in the top one-third of the equipment cabinet

• Elimination of exhaust air recirculation within the cabinet, optimising cooling and reducing energy consumption and OpEx

• Deferral of CapEx (additional cooling capacity)

• The potential of greening the data center by reducing its carbon footprint

Cooling> Air Cooling> Raised Floor Brush Strips

Raised Floor Brush Grommets

  • Cable openings allow approx. 60%

  • of conditioned air to escape

  • Use brush grommets to seal every

  • cabling entry point

  • Increases static pressure in the

  • under-floor plenum - ensures that

  • the DC airflow remains at a

  • pressure above atmospheric

  • Extend reach of Hot Aisle/Cold Aisle

  • system

  • Self-sealing and interwoven closure system

  • Brush grommets can be installed as DC is commissioned, or retro-fitted

  • No changes to existing wiring configuration

  • Fits into the raised floor tiles prior to cabinet installation

  • Simple

  • Inexpensive

Cooling> Air Cooling> Cable Management

Cable Management – Intra-rack, Inter-rack and underfloor

  • Airflow within racks is also affected by unstructured cabling arrangements

  • Deployment of high-density servers creates new problems in cable management

  • Cut data cables and power cords to the correct length – use patch panels where appropriate

  • Equipment power should be fed from rack-mounted PDUs

  • Raised floor/subfloor plenum ducting carries other services apart from airflow:

    • Data cabling, power cabling, water pipes/fire detection & extinguishing systems

  • Remove unnecessary or unused cabling - old cabling is often abandoned beneath the floor – particularly in high churn/turnover Co-Lo facilities

  • Spread power cables out on the subfloor - under the cold aisle to minimize airflow restrictions

  • Run subfloor data cabling trays at the stringer level in the hot aisle - or at an “upper level” in the cold aisle, to keep the lower space free to act as the cooling plenum

Cooling> Air Cooling> Free Air Cooling

What is Free Cooling?

Cooling> Air Cooling> Free Air Cooling

Average UK Temperatures

Cooling> Air Cooling> Free Air Cooling

Budgetary Example – Projected Cost of Running the System for a Year

  • Not using the Free Cooler

  • Chiller Capacity 150 kW

  • Energy needed to run the chiller 62 kW

  • Numbers of Hours running per year 8784

  • Cost per kWh £0.0784

  • Total Cost of Running per Year £42,697.00

  • 100% free cooling 70% of the year

  • Chiller capacity150 kW

  • Energy needed to run the chiller 62 kW

  • Numbers of hours running per year 2580

  • Cost per kWh£0.0784

  • Cost of running the chiller £12,540.00

  • Cost of running Free Cooling (10.4kw) £ 5,058.00

  • Total Cost of Running per Year £17,599.00

Cooling> Liquid Cooling

High Density Data Centres and Liquid Cooling

  • When going above 10kW per rack a new, more targeted/directed cooling method is required

  • Most common methods is Water Cooling

Cooling> Liquid Cooling

So What is Liquid – or Water – Cooling?

  • Delivery of chilled water to multiple heat exchange points from a central unit

  • The central unit circulates water from the buildings existing chilled water loop

  • Heat exchange units in rear doors (one per cabinet, capacity 30kW) or side doors (2 x dual cabinet resilience, 2 x 15kW)

  • Heat is carried away in the water - air is ejected back out into the DC at the same temperature it entered the rack - zero thermal footprint

Cooling> Liquid Cooling

Why Use Water Cooling?

  • Water 3,500 times more thermally efficient than air

  • Air cooling only delivers 5-7kW of cooling per rack (10kW with hot aisle/cold aisle arrangement)

  • High Density DCs place increasing power and thermal control demands on the infrastructure

  • Blade servers - up to 80 servers in a standard 42u cabinet – and anything from 80 to 800 virtual machines!

  • Fully-loaded blade server rack can produce 25Kw of heat

  • Water Cooling can deliver 30kW of cooling to a fully-loaded 42u rack

Cooling> Liquid Cooling

Adding the benefits of Free Cooling, some CapEx/OpEx implications of Water Cooling:

  • Water cooling has a slightly higher install cost (more terminations/ pipe work)…but greater kW per sq ft gives us…

    • 35-45%reduction in required real estate

    • 15-30%reduction lower in overall construction costs

    • 10-20%reduction on total annual fan power consumption

    • 12-14%reduction in power delivered to mechanical chilled water plant

  • For an average efficiency data centre, annual savings of £22,000 and £80,000 for small and large data centres respectively

  • Significant when the design life of the data centre is 10 years

  • Reduction in energy is a reduction in costs and also a reduction in your carbon footprint

Network Components

Active Equipment (Networking)

  • Switches

  • Routers

  • Appliances

    • Load balancers

    • Caching/Proxying

    • Bandwidth Management

    • Application Acceleration & Optimisation

Network Components> Ethernet LAN Switches

Data Centre Switch Requirements

  • Port density

  • Performance

  • Functionality

  • Feature set

  • Resilience/Redundancy

  • Security

  • Price

  • Power consumption/Heat output

Feeds & Speeds


Network Components

Network Components> Ethernet LAN Switches

Data Centre Switch Requirements

  • High port density per chassis

  • Low power consumption

    • Availability

    • High performance

    • Low latency

Optimised for the environment

Optimised for the application

Network Components

Network Components> Ethernet LAN Switches

Network Components

Network Components> Ethernet LAN Switches

Ethernet Switch Power Consumption - A Comparative Example: 15,000 User Network

  • Across an installed network base of 15,000 ports, it was possible to save 102 kW/h, resulting in:

  • Lower Power Consumption

  • Less Cooling Equipment

  • Smaller Batteries

  • Smaller Data Centers

Network Components> WAN Routers


  • Look at power consumption figures/thermal output

  • Deploy shared WAN architecture – MPLS, VPLS, IP VPNs

  • Investigate leveraging and integrating bandwidth optimisation and application acceleration technologies

Network Components> Appliances> Load Balancing

LAN/WAN Optimisation Appliances

  • …an area where we can make a difference, in the way in which technologies are deployed to optimise LAN/WAN bandwidth usage and availability of back-end servers.

  • An excellent example would be application delivery, traffic management and web server load balancers:

  • High Performance through acceleration techniques

  • High Availability

Network Components> Appliances> DPI Bandwidth Management

More LAN/WAN Optimisation Options…

DPI Bandwidth Management solutions:

  • Inspection, Classification, Policy Enforcement and Reporting on all traffic:

    • Identification - application signature, TCP/UDP port, protocol, source/destination IP addresses, URL

    • Classification – CoS/ToS (IP Prec/Diffserv CodePoint/DSCP); user-defined QoS policy

    • Enforcement based on user-defined policy

    • Reporting – RT and long-term – extremely valuable for SLAs/SLGs in DC environments

Network Components> Appliances> WAN Optimisation

LAN/WAN Optimisation Options (cont’d)

WAN optimisation and application acceleration:

  • Usually deployed as a reverse proxy device

  • Provides some form of bandwidth management

  • Protocol optimisation – making LAN protocols more latency-tolerant

    • eg. TCP handshake spoofing

  • Object caching

    • Files, videos, web content, locally cached and served

  • Byte caching

    • Repetitive traffic streams, hierarchically indexed and tagged (inline only)

  • Compression

    • (inline only)

  • Proxy support for common protocols


Network Components> Appliances> WAN Optimisation

LAN/WAN Optimisation Options (cont’d)

WAN optimisation and application acceleration:

  • Reverse Proxy

  • Bandwidth Management

  • Protocol optimisation – for latency-intolerant LAN protocols

    • eg. TCP handshake spoofing

  • Object caching

  • Byte caching

  • Compression (inline only)

  • Proxy support for all/most common protocols

Infrastructure Management

Managing the Data Centre Infrastructure

  • “Lights Out” operation requires…

    • Little or no human intervention

    • Exceptions:

      • Planned maintenance

      • Fault rectification/management (emergency maintenance/repair)

      • Physical installs/removals

      • Housekeeping (cable management, MAC)

      • Cleaning

    • How are you going to control it? How are you going to manage it?

Infrastructure Management

Remote Control and Management

  • RDC, VNC – In Band Management

  • Console Servers – Out of Band Management

  • KVM switching (local/remote)

  • KVM/IP switching & USB2 VM Remote Drive Mapping

  • IPMI Service Processor OOB Management

  • Intelligent Power Management (iPDUs)

Infrastructure Management


Summary - Cooling

  • Data Centre “Greening” is mainly down to managing power consumption

  • Cooling is the biggest consumer of power (50%)

  • Optimise your air-cooled CRAC system:

    • Cold Aisle/Hot Aisle arrangement

    • Cold Aisle containment

    • Blanking Panels

    • Raised floor/underfloor brush strips/grommets

    • Free air cooling system


Summary – Cooling (Cont’d)

  • If deploying high-density bladeservers/virtualisation, consider water-cooling (max kW/hr cooling rises from 5-10kW/hr to 30kW/hr)

  • Targeted control

  • Even distribution of cooling

  • Full (42u) rack utilisation

  • Zero thermal footprint – design flexibility

  • Remember free air cooling reduces costs further

  • Real Estate savings


Summary - Active Equipment (Networking)


  • high port density, low power consumption, PSU disconnect/fanless operation

  • Extrapolate power consumption over entire port count


  • Modular architecture, high density, low power consumption

  • Make full use of available bandwidth

    • Shared services: IP VPN, point-to-multipoint or meshed MPLS

    • Use/honour QoS marking

    • Deploy Bandwidth optimisation techniques


Summary - Active Equipment (Networking) – Cont’d


  • Load Balancing – Maximise performance, utilisation and availability of server resources

  • DPI Bandwidth Management

  • WAN Optimisation

Maximise performance,

utilisation and availability

of WAN resources


Summary – Infrastructure Management

  • Remote Infrastructure Control and Management enables “lights-out” operation

  • Remote console management gives CLI access to network infrastructure – routers, switches, firewalls, other network optimisation appliances

  • KVM-over-IP allows remote, distributed control of server and workstation systems

  • Service Processor Management allows remote control and management of system processor and environmental monitors/controls

  • Intelligent Power Management enables remote monitoring, control and management of PDUs, UPS and battery backup resources



Pierre Ketteridge, IP Performance Ltd

[email protected]

[email protected]

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