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Why Datacenter Commissioning



There has been an explosion of datacenter building worldwide as a result of capacity requirements and this has in turn resulted in a number of challenges for datacenter operators.

These challenges include delivering datacentre’s cost effectively and in a timely manner but also ensuring the datacenter is cost effective and sustainable going forward and that the electrical infrastructure capacity is adequate for future expansion.

While commissioning plays no role in the capacity of infrastructure, it does play a key role in the delivery of the datacenter in a cost-effective, timely manner and ensuring that it is sustainable going forward.

In many construction projects, commissioning has been regarded as a necessary inconvenience, something that is ‘nice to have’, a means to get a necessary sign off or a cost that could be avoided.

However, commissioning is a critical part of any construction project especially in a modern datacenter world where Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), Water Usage Effectiveness (WUE), Data Centre Infrastructure Efficiency (DCiE) and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) are key performance indicators (KPIs). Another key component of the construction and sustainability of a completed datacenter is the backup systems, 2N or N+1.

We examine here why PUE, WUE, DCiE, LEED and the backup systems are important to a datacenter operator and how an expert commissioning agent can help ensure these elements meet the Basis of Design.

Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE)
PUE  is the ratio of total amount of energy used by a computer datacenter facility to the energy delivered to computing equipment. PUE = Total energy used / IT energy usage.

The breakdown of total energy usage can be categorised as follows:

  • IT equipment
  • Electrical equipment losses
  • Air handling units
  • Cooling
  • General power and lighting

The above calculation gives us a measure of the power losses within equipment and the efficiencies of equipment. The more efficient the equipment and the lower the losses, the closer we can get to a 1 to 1 PUE ratio.

Having an expert Commissioning team will ensure all power metering equipment is operating correctly and analyse the results to ensure the Basis of Design (BOD) criteria are being met.

Water Usage Effectiveness (WUE)
WUE is the annual site water usage in litres / IT equipment energy usage in kilowatt hours(Kwh).

The breakdown of total water usage can be categorised as follows:

  • Cooling water usage
  • Domestic water usage

Efficiencies in IT equipment design and properly commissioned air handling and cooling equipment will reduce the cooling needs and thus reduce the overall WUE. The accurate setting of control instruments by the commissioning agent, followed by robust testing will maximise the WUE.

Data Center Infrastructure Efficiency (DCiE)

DCiE is a metric used to determine the energy efficiency of a datacenter. DCiE = IT energy usage / Total energy used X 100.
Robust commissioning of a DC to the clients’ needs and the BOD, will ensure that the expected DCiE is attained.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
LEED is a voluntary rating system to certify sustainable buildings and neighbourhoods. LEED in essence is a combination of the results of PUE, WUE and DCiE. The better the results the better LEED rating a building will achieve.

2N or N+1
2N or N+1 is the type of backup system used by a datacenter to ensure zero loss of power to critical equipment due to utility outage/failure or for equipment maintenance.

An expert Commissioning team will understand the interdependencies in electrical to electrical equipment and electrical to mechanical equipment. The team will test all the possibilities for equipment and utility failure, ensuring in such events the backup systems operate as per the BOD.
All the above are pillars on which the delivery of efficiencies, sustainability and zero downtime are built, an expert commissioning team will understand the client needs and the aim of the BOD as well as the importance of PUE, WUE, DCiE and LEED.

A fully commissioned datacenter by an expert commissioning agent have operating costs that “range from 8% to 20% below that of a non-commissioned building” according to the U.S. General Services Administration.

The benefits of commissioning also include reduced energy use, lower operating costs, reduced contractor call-backs, better building documentation, improved occupant productivity, and verification that the systems perform in accordance with the owner’s project requirements.

The graphic below displays the involvement of the LotusWorks commissioning team within Datacenter projects.

Visit our Datacenter page to find out more information about how LotusWorks support datacenter builds with knowledgeable, experienced Commissioning and O&M teams or contact us today with your query by clicking here.

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