With the world becoming increasingly dependent on the Internet, the need for additional bandwidth is steadily escalating. This additional bandwidth requires more and larger facilities and infrastructure, which demand more power and a dependable electricity supply.

To address these challenges in the most efficient way, it is important that decision-makers take advantage of the most advanced technology available, rather than facing the needs of the future, with solutions of the past.

Data centres need to be able to accommodate more servers and facilities managers need to quickly address the constant need for additional capacity. In order to support the extra elements required, worldwide IT spending on servers, power and cooling and management has increased significantly over the last decade.

In addition to the increase in costs at data centres, the need for a higher voltage of power poses additional challenges. To accommodate this need, the installation of overhead power distribution systems in data centres has proved an effective way to provide increasing amperages of power.

Past power: “The way it always was”

Power and cooling are two critical requirements of a data centre. Previously, raised floors or concrete tiles installed onto a steel grid above a slab floor, were deployed for cooling purposes. The perforated tiles that make up the floor allowed cool air to flow out of the passage below and onto the server racks. However, this underfloor area also houses cables that supply power to the racks. As the facility expands, more server racks are installed, which require more power, in turn creating more cables under the raised floor; ultimately restricting the flow of cool air.

Disadvantages of the outdated underfloor method also include the fact that raised floors are costly and maintenance is required to remove unused cables, which tend to be abandoned and pose a risk while working with circuit breakers and cables that are not designed to cope with a given load.

Higher, sustainable busway power

Overhead power distribution – commonly known as busway systems – directly combat the traditional power solution of cables installed beneath a raised floor. Overhead systems have been proven to be both scalable and sustainable solutions to providing power.

Select busway systems also provide continuous access to power, enabling the data centre facility to always be prepared for future reconfigurations or expansion. Power is accessible at any location with various plug-in units, eliminating the need for panel boards, long runs of conduit and wire and expensive installation costs for dedicated power outlets.

With an overhead bus system, there is no need to work on live panels or schedule outages to add, move or change outlets. Busway systems eliminate the need to remove and scrap short or undersized cable whips and run new longer or larger ones. Therefore, the risk of unintended potential power outages is avoided and racks can be installed or moved without disrupting operations.

Busways are highly sustainable systems and can be used for many years, which means there is less material waste than the traditional cables method. In addition, to cope with today’s increasing server densities, an increase in kW power density is needed, which equates to a related increase in cooling requirements. Previously, this would mean the need for additional power cables under the floor that obstruct air flow and make cooling more difficult. With the safe and energy efficient overhead busway system for distributing power, this threat is eliminated.

Flexible and scalable

It is sometimes difficult to know the exact electrical design needed at the beginning of a project and the need to reconfigure electrical outlets and locations, increases costs and causes schedule delays.

With a scalable overhead busway system, components and power circuits can be added as needed, without unnecessary capital investment and wasted resources. This system also reduces maintenance requirements, as there is no need to reconfigure electrical outlet locations and types.

Increased usable space

Overhead busway systems also allow for efficient use of valuable space in data centres, resulting in more usable space in the facility for IT equipment and server racks. In addition, few metres of power cables are required, when power outlets or drops can be located exactly where they are needed.

Monitored power usage

Uptime is critical at data centres and unplanned power outages must be avoided. It is also important for the facilities manager to accurately monitor the amount of power being used.

Premium overhead power distribution systems can incorporate metering units at both the feed and circuit breaker level. These devices capture real-time power and energy measurements, providing the data necessary to make informed decisions, like enabling phase balancing as needed.

Other metering functions include optional display and daisy-chain Ethernet to reduce the number of network switch ports, alarm functions and remote communication via an integrated webpage. By incorporating these capabilities into the power distribution system, data centres managers are able to intelligently track power usage and plan for future requirements.

Installation and future cost savings

Legrand specialists work closely with data centre teams around the world to design customised overhead power distribution systems that meet current and future requirements at the facility. Compared to installing a raised floor with thousands of cables, overhead busway installation is simple, efficient and flexible and is not time or labour intensive.

Legrand solutions extend from pre-sales support at the project design stage, through to supervision of installation, testing, commissioning and site acceptance tests.

By Admin