Comparing IEC 61850 vs. Traditional Monitoring, Protection and Control Solutions in Large Data Centers
Electrical distribution architectures for large data centers (>10 MW) are evolving in an on-going effort to reduce cost, speed-up deployment, simplify operations, and improve efficiency, all while maintaining high availability. In this spirit, the IEC 61850 communication standard is being adopted by some large data center operators to manage and control more complex and critical Medium Voltage (MV) electrical systems. IEC 61850 has been successfully deployed and used to control both utilities and large industrial electrical distribution networks at both High Voltage (HV) and Medium Voltage (MV) levels for two decades. However, it has only been applied in recent years to mission critical facilities like large data centers with more advanced electrical architectures and operation requirements. This paper presents a technical study performed by MV electrical distribution network engineers at Schneider Electric. It compares two automation & control solutions – traditional vs. IEC61850 - for the same electrical design with the same performance and sequence of operation requirements (for an apples-to-apples comparison) and shows in which cases using IEC61850 is advantageous.