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Friday, 14 October 2011 14:32

Fujitsu debuts data centre simulator to predict power requirements

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Fujitsu says that its laboratories in Japan an Europe have, between them, developed the world's first data centre simulator able to predict the power that will be needed to cool a data centre under varying work loads and environmental conditions.

Fujitsu claims that its technology "can determine thermal flows inside a building at calculation speeds over 1,000 times faster than was previously possible'¦[and] completely models the ICT hardware, air conditioning and other equipment of a running data centre."

This, it says, enables accurate calculations of a data centre's power consumption. "The new technology will make it possible to test the effectiveness of energy-saving measures prior to execution in a running data centre. This has the potential to significantly reduce the overall power consumption of data centres."

With the emergence of cloud computing and the need for business continuity during natural disasters, companies continue to increase their reliance on data centres. Fujitsu says these trends are leading to the deployment of more and higher performance servers, pushing the power requirements of data centres ever higher.

However server processing loads tend to fluctuate depending on the time of day and season of the year. At times of low demand, energy can be saved by concentrating processing on fewer servers. But with cooling accounting for about 30 percent of a data centre's total power consumption, maximum energy savings can only be achieved if the cooling can be reduced in line with the lower number of servers operating. Fujitsu claims that linking the control of servers and air conditioning equipment could reduce overall data centre power consumption by as much as 40 percent."

However, according to Fujitsu, while it is impracticable to meddle with the air conditioning in response to server utilisation in a real data centre, "A promising alternative is to employ computer simulations to check the impact of control measures."

But it contends that existing simulation technologies are far too slow, making real-time testing impossible. Its newly developed technology, on the other hand "can instantly simulate the ways that power consumption is changed in accordance with server load concentration and air-conditioning controls."

CONTINUED


Fujitsu claims to be able to create a simulation of an entire data and predict is power requirements with a margin of error of less than five percent.

"[This technology] makes it possible to test a number of strategies, such as concentrating processing loads on servers in a fixed area when demand is low, while at the same time cutting off power to other servers and reducing air conditioner output," Fujitsu says.

"The new technology also makes it possible to take into consideration the climate conditions (temperature and humidity) at a data centre's site and examine the cooling methods most suited to the location. In colder climates, it may be effective to employ a method that draws outside air directly into the building. So long as the temperature and humidity stay within a range that ensures reliable server operations, cooling with outside air uses less power than air conditioning."

Fujitsu says the simulator will undergo field testing and application at its own data centres, but has given no indication of plans to make it commercially available.

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