• # Solving the data centre density dilemma: A 3-step approach

Schneider Electric helps data centre planners to ‘right-size’ their physical infrastructure using a proven 3-step approach. Let’s take a look at how Jim, a typical data centre manager, decides to address the issue of calculating power density.

Jim is in the thick of planning out his data centre. Business has been pretty good at his growing mid-size company. ‘How much compute power do I need’? he asks himself as he considers the space he's been allocated for his new computer room. One thing is certain, he has to find the right balance between space and compute power — too dense and data centre equipment can overheat; not dense enough and poor efficiency will result as well as wasted rack space.

He is not convinced that the historic approach of calculating watts per square foot/metre is the right way to go. So he reads up on the topic and during his web search, and comes across a free white paper on the Schneider Electric website. He decides to share what he’s discovered with his colleagues at his next planning meeting.

‘I propose’, says Jim, ‘that we tackle this data centre project by implementing these three steps:

Step 1: Pick the right metric to calculate. The historic method of specifying data centre power density using a single number of watts per square foot/metre is confusing. And it oftentimes results in wasted time and energy. What’s more, it typically leads to oversized data centres. Let’s use kW per rack instead.

Step 2: We should test out our specifications. Schneider Electric has some free-to-use Trade-Off Calculators on their website. These tools calculate power sizing and data centre CAPEX, making it easier to determine how many servers and racks we’ll need.

Step 3: Propose an initial density and create a “pay as you grow” roadmap. This is essential for building in extra capacity when we need it and to balance increased compute power with increased cooling’.

At the end of the meeting, everyone is impressed that Jim did his homework and that a plan to move forward is in place.

Schneider Electric can assist data centre managers with expert insights, easy-to-use calculator tools, and flexible solutions such as prefabricated data centre modules to help data centres support their core businesses.
For more information, watch Schneider Electric Vice President of Global Data Centre Strategy and Technology Kevin Brown’s presentation, “ Stop Predicting the Future of the Data Center — Plan for It! ” on YouTube.