3 Thoughts on Data Centers In 3 Minutes

Tom Earp, Page Principal and Senior Electrical Engineer, is a veteran of mission critical and data center design projects. An Uptime Accredited Tier Designer, Tom has been a key player in innovating solutions for clients with various challenges and helping them to save money, optimize their schedules and enhance their satisfaction with their projects.

He shared his expertise on three key topics that are of interest to clients interested in expanding or constructing data centers:

  1. What’s important in data centers right now?
    There is a general attitude in many organizations that IT should “just work”. However, the reality is that decision-makers outside the data center could help lower the cost of IT if they better understood how technology supports their efforts, and the data center could help drive business growth or new business if the IT personnel better understood the overall organization’s strategies. As a design firm, I feel that we often find success when we ask why the client’s size, density, or reliability criteria are what they are rather than taking them at face value.  Often, the client cannot articulate the reasons for their needs in terms that directly relate to their organization’s primary mission, but projects are most successful when they tackle those difficult questions and overcome the divide between IT and the profit centers of the business.
  2. What aspects of UPS (uninterruptable power supply) technology do you think will be generating more interest as people learn about them?
    Lead acid batteries have always been standbys in data centers for energy storage, but I’ve been seeing flywheels in traditional double-conversion UPSs, as well as diesel rotary UPS forms. There’s also been interest in other alternatives such as lithium ion and pure lead batteries, which have shorter discharge and longer use times.  
  3. What potential changes are you seeing in grid level power sources being migrated?
    Grid level installation costs are typically in the hundreds of kWh, and this needs to come down in order for them to be viable across the industry. I’ve seen them in designs, but they aren’t making it to the construction stage just yet. The cost needs to be viable enough to be able to sell at both grid and facility levels. This isn’t an industry driver right now but as data centers get closer to BTUs of one, it will make more sense to pursue this. 

Contributed By

Tom Earp