Data center facilities all-in-one-guide: Final exam answers

Here are the answers to the's all-in-one-guide on data center facilities.

  Data center facilities - 1:  

1.According to a research study by the Princeton, N.J.-based site selection specialists, The Boyd Company Inc., there are three major factors affecting the decision of where to build a data center. Based on these factors, which region in the U.S. seems to be the most logical place to build a data center?

b) The northen midwestern states-Power is cheaper and natural disasters are fewer.

It's statistically more probable to find data center staff in a shorter period of time on the coasts, but these are some of the most expensive areas in the U.S. in terms of salaries and the price of power. The south does better on labor and real-estate. In fact, areas in Florida ranked high in the study. But natural disasters means more money on disaster recovery and business resilience plans. Putting a data center in the northern midwest makes the most sense for a number of reasons.

  • Study ranks cheapest places to build a data center
    In a new study focusing on the healthcare industry, the Midwest once again came on top as one of the most affordable places to build a data center.
  • Data center locations ranked by operating cost
    Princeton, N.J., location consultants, The Boyd Company Inc., recently published its list of the top data center cities in the U.S. The study compares the cost of operating a data center in 35 U.S. cities.

  •   Data center facilities - 2:  

    2. Sun's Rob Snevely talks about rack location units (RLU) in data center design. Why are these important?

    c) RLUs are a way to describe any particular location on the floor -- including requirements for power, cooling, bandwidth, weight -- so you can do capacity planning.

    Watts per square foot just doesn't cut it anymore. Snevely says that getting accurate measurements and accurately describing data centers is an important step in data center planning.

  • Q&A: Data center design with Sun's Rob Snevely
    Building or retrofitting a data center takes more than planning what hardware and software to buy. In addition to a lot of hard work, it requires a usable planning methodology and a sound philosophy.

      Data center facilities - 3:  

    3. HP is planning to consolidate 85 worldwide data center facilities down to six, taking HP's data center real estate down from 500,000 square feet to 300,000. What is cited as a major, but often unsung, component to their consolidation strategy?

    a )Application consolidation -- it's a huge cost saver in licensing, management resources and hardware support.

    In order to keep up with user demands, IT departments sometimes let their application portfolio get out of hand. Enter: application consolidation. Though it doesn't get the same attention as more physical aspects of data center consolidation, it is still an important aspect.

  • HP's data center consolidation provides management insights
    HP plans to reign in apps and hardware configurations for its in-house data center consolidation project. Execs offer more specifics and strategies on the company's move from 85 facilities down to six.
  • Mainframe server consolidation should be on your hit list
    Server consolidation is a long-term, strategic, and effective strategy; and the mainframe is an excellent tool for server consolidation.

  •   Data center facilities - 4:  

    4. According to founder and executive director of The Uptime Institute Ken Brill, sealing the cable openings at the back of racks and taking perforated tiles in the hot aisle and putting them in the cold aisle are two strategies that in a typical data center do what?

    d)Doing this reduces bypass airflow, which results in getting the air to where it needs to go.

    Bypass airflow is one of the data centers worst enemies. But some simple data center design strategies can help reduce their effects.

  • Ken Brill: Tune your data center engine
    Ken Brill, founder and executive director of The Uptime Institute, talks about why the group will focus on data center efficiency rather than uptime, as well as how more cooling can lead to more hot spots and how a new server efficiency standard might be published.

  •   Data center facilities - 5:  

    5.Though backup power from flywheel technology is not a new concept, UPS providers are increasingly becoming interested using flywheels either as an alternative to or in tandem with the traditional battery UPS. Why?

    a)Batteries' shortcomings are due to their limited lifetime -- using a flywheel to reduce battery cycles can extend the overall life of the backup system.

    Flywheels are an old concept of getting power from kinetic energy, while it is true that people are interested in them because of they're not hazardous like batteries, the bottom line is that they're drawing interest mainly because of their ability to handle the short bursts of power failure that batteries would normally absorb. This extends the overall life of the backup system.

  • Data center power backup isn't just about batteries anymore
    Batteries have been the dominant backup power supply in the data center, but alternatives such as flywheels and thermal energy are giving companies more options.
  •   Data center facilities - 6:  

    6.Energy efficiency is not only socially more responsible, it's ecnomomically mandatory. According to APC's Neil Rasmussen, what areas of the data center have the biggest margin for improvement?

    b)Data center design -- IT departments tend to over-size and count on their companies expanding to capacity; in the meantime, they're inefficient.

    IT departments just don't have the luxury of oversizing their data centers anymore. The waste caused by inefficiency in the data center due to oversizing is one of the most compelling arguments for re-examining the way data centers are designed.

  • Right-sizing is the key to energy efficient data centers
    American Power Conversion Corp. Chief Technical Officer Neil Rasmussen offered his thoughts on vendors' responsibility to develop energy efficient data center products.

  •   Data center facilities - 7:  

    7.True or False -- The following statement accurately describes the basic procedure for measuring server energy consumption of 1 and 2U machines as currently put forth by server industry participants:

    Server frequency, voltage, power factor and total harmonic distortion are measured and compared to CPU utilization. A curve with power output on the y-axis and percentage of workload on the x-axis is created. Measurements for workload are in 10% increments from 0% to 100%, allowing data center managers to examine the curve depending on how busy they expect their servers to be.


    Deciding on a metric for determining standards in energy efficiency has been one of the biggest obstacles for the initiative to make servers more efficienct. Rather than imposing their own standard, the EPA left this up to manufacturers to decide.

  • Server energy efficiency metrics
    As energy costs go up, IT equipment manufacturers are trying to streamline their products' energy consumption. Read about what steps are being taken toward efficiency metrics in the data center.

  •   Data center facilities - 8:  

    8. In the search for more efficient ways to use available power, some companies are exploring, and even implementing, direct current (DC) as opposed to alternating current (AC) systems. However, there are pros and cons to both approaches. Which of the following statements are true concerning this debate?

    d)Neither a or b is true.

    More people are turning to DC power because it requires less conversion from the grid to the equipment, resulting in higher efficiency. However, the ability to move current over longer distances is better achieved by AC.

  • DC power in the data center
    Is traditional AC power on the way out? DC can be cheaper to run, but are data centers ready to adopt it? These articles discuss the AC/DC debate and what might be the future of data center power.

      Data center facilities - 9:  

    9. Hydrogen fuel cells can provide clean and reliable energy without some of the limitations of more traditional power supplies. But there are concerns about certain aspects of hydrogen fuel cell technology. Which of the following statements is true about hydrogen fuel cells?

    d)All of the above are true.

    Many believe that hydrogen power in the form of fuel cells will be the answer to many of our energy problems, including fueling our vehicles. But there are many things to consider when looking to implement it in the data center.

  • Data center fuel cells promise seven-nines uptime
    Major data centers are tapping hydrogen fuel cells to boost power reliability over the traditional grid. Meanwhile, the economics of fuel cell-based backup is improving.
  • Standby: Fuel cells as secondary power sources
    Part 2 of's examination of hydrogen fuel cell technology in the data center.
  • Pulling power from thin air
    Hydrogen fuel cells are being integrated into mainstream UPS systems. But do the rewards outweigh the risks? More importantly, are you even interested?
  •   Data center facilities - 10:  

    10.According to data center power and cooling expert Robert Macfarlane, what is the biggest problem in determing what size of UPS to go with?

    a)Most manufacturers do not provide adequate power information on their equipment, making it difficult to determine actual load.

    The nameplate on UPS systems only provide ratings based on legal safety, meaning that they don't necessarily reflect how they'll be used in your data center. This makes it a poor gauge when deciding on a UPS.

  • How to figure size requirements for new UPS unit
    We need a new UPS, but we're confused by how to figure the size.
  • Uninterruptible power supply management
    One of the most deceptive designations of all time is "uninterruptible power supply." Why? Just two reasons: poor design configuration by the engineer or sales rep and lack of understanding on your part.

  •   Data center facilities - 11:  

    11.Air side economizers, which bring in cooler outside air to lower data centers' temperatures, have the potential to save companies a lot of money on cooling. But there is also a lot of skepticism about the viability of air side economizers from people like cooling expert Steve Madara and ASHRAE member Don Beaty. Which of these concerns have been cited?

    d)All of the above.

    Despite recent research suggesting which suggets, if not declares, air-side economizers to be safe for cooling, many experts are still apprehensive about recommending them. However, their concerns are not unfounded and stem from a genuine concern for the resilience of data center equipment.

  • Data center cooling strategies audiocast
    This audio cast series tackles the latest data center cooling issues with Liebert Corporation's data center cooling expert Steve Madara.
  • Fears of cooling with outside air may be unfounded
    The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will finish a study by the end of the year looking at the potential benefits and drawbacks of using outside air to cool a data center.
  • Cooling data centers with outside air gets the go-ahead
    Using outside air to cool your data center can save you money. But what about those nasty contaminants that might come in?

  •   Data center facilities - 12:  

    12.Raised floor cooling has been the standard for many years. But during the late 1990s, many companies started experimenting with overhead cooling, claiming that handling IT equipment was easier if the cabling was overhead, and the influx of smaller servers made water piping unnecessary. In an IBM study, researchers compared the methods. What were the findings?

    c)With chillers operating at 100% and 80% levels, raised-floor cooling resulted in cooler rack intake temperatures.

    Just having a raised floor instead of an overhead cooling system doesn't guarantee better coolng performance. Besides the specific conditions cited in the study, good practices, i.e. blanking empty spaces, proper cable management, etc., must still be followed in order for any kind of cooling to work.

  • Raised floor bests overhead cooling, IBM finds
    According to a recent study by IBM researchers, raised-floor cooling in high-density data centers ensures lower air intake temperatures for servers than overhead cooling systems.

  • Raised floors and efficiency: Controlling cooling matters
    Cooling IT equipment is the No. 1 energy hog in the data center. One of the biggest pain points for IT pros is managing air flow from raised flooring. Will getting rid of the raised floor help?

      Data center facilities - 13:  

    13.Additional cooling units aren't always the answer to mitigating hot spots. Air delivery has everything to do with the ability of ACs to bring down the temperature in a data center. According to Bob Macfarlane, there are three primary causes of poor air delivery: Bypass air, air leakage, and ______. According to Syska Hennessy researchers Christopher Johnson and Vali Sorell, ___ modeling may assist data center designers in locating these air delivery failures.

    b)under-floor blockage, CFD

    The data center is a system, and mitigating hot spots hinges the details. It could mean the difference between wasting resources and streamlining your system. Computational fluid dynamic modeling is considered by many experts to be a useful in helping to tighten up data centers.

  • Additional air conditioners still not cooling hot areas
    We have installed additional air conditioners in our data center, but it hasn't made much of a difference in the hot areas. Our cabinets are installed face-to-face and back-to-back as we see recommended for hot aisle/cool aisle setups. What could be wrong?

  • Data center cooling strategies: Overheating server prevention
    Five strategies from Syska Hennessy data center cooling experts, Christopher Johnston and Vali Sorell, for preventing servers from overheating.

      Data center facilities - 14:  

    14.Using Bob Macfarlanes formula for determining cubic feet per minute (CFM), how many CFMs will be required to cool the following configuration (do not include correction factor):

  • 10 blades at 300 Watts each
  • Entering air is 50 degrees
  • Exiting air is 80 degrees

    b)265 CFM

    A number of conditions must be met before taking the results of these calculations to heart. However, it provides a ballpark for determing cooling requirements and what kind of systems your data center should use.

  • Cooling blade servers and high density servers
    Expert Robert McFarlane explains what's needed to cool blade servers.

      Data center facilities - 15:  

    15.There are many facets to the debate concerning liquid versus air cooling. On one hand, ASHRAE TC 9.9's Don Beaty says that because water is 3,500 times more efficient than air, we'll have to make the move to water to maximize cooling efficiency. On the other, APC's Neil Rasmussen says that the dynamic nature of enterprise data centers makes it impractical to use build a liquid cooling infrastructure. But even within the liquid cooling camps, there are different approaches as evidenced by the variation in hardware offerings. Which of the following statments describes IBM's Cool Blue option?

    d)Removes up to 55,000 BTUS of heat from fully populated server racks and potentially lowers energy costs as much as 15 percent.

    Liquid cooling products are beginning to emerge. Now is a good time to start researching options to see if liquid cooling is right for your data center.

  • HP, IBM square off on liquid cooling
    HP and IBM are rushing to pour water on hot servers. Big Blue is tackling the problem from a energy efficiency angle while HP wants to help data centers cram more computers into less space.

  • Liquid cooling book promotes standardization
    The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers publishes a book on data center liquid cooling technologies that could help standardization.

  • Data center liquid cooling vs. forced air cooling
    During a recent visit to American Power Conversion (APC) Corp.'s Research and Development facility in Billerica, MA, Chief Technical Officer Neil Rasmussen offere his thoughts on data center liquid cooling.
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