Operational Excellence in Data Centres

(Ping! Zine) – Minkels, a major European manufacturer of cooling, monitoring and housing solutions for data centres, which has a UK branch in High Wycombe, has released a whitepaper on the ‘Volume Dimension’, an approach devised by Minkels which applies the number of cubic metres available (rather than square metres) as one of the basic principles for the design and layout of ‘operationally excellent’ data centres and server rooms.

‘Designing and constructing a data centre on the basis of our Volume method enables one to make better choices more quickly, and particularly when it concerns the implementation of a cooling solution,’ Minkels’ Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Jeroen Hol, insists. ‘The Volume approach is applicable to existing data centres or accommodation in existing premises, which amounts to around 90 percent of all data centre construction. The ability to make swifter and more appropriate decisions in the initial stage of data centre design makes for optimised cost and energy efficiency.’

Data Centre Cooling
Hol: ‘The traditional approach, based on the number of square metres available, often leads to inappropriate choices during the initial phase, which unfortunately implies protracted implementation projects and an increased continuity risk during the life span of a data centre.’

The whitepaper contains all manner of tips and solid guidelines for data centre design and layout based on the number of cubic metres, or volume, available. Data centre builders and designers can also glean knowledge from the whitepaper, such as the following: an ideal process approach to data centre construction; establishing technological and business objectives; establishing the relevant parameters. This also includes a Bernoulli-based formula, which renders the ‘Volume dimension’ tangible, thus enabling users to apply it in a manner that yields a relevant strategic design that is also in keeping with their own wishes.

The whitepaper’s author is Patrick Timmer, Business Development Engineer at Aegide Group, Minkels’ parent company. In anticipation of the publication of the whitepaper, Mr Timmer presented a lecture on the topic during the Data Center Dynamics 2010 Conference & Expo, held in London in November.

Operationally Excellent Data Centre
Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) is a crucial aspect of data centre operation nowadays. It has to be kept as low as possible to enable optimum energy-efficient performance. Making the appropriate choice of potential cooling solutions therefore also plays a prominent role in this respect.

Patrick Timmer: ‘The choices of cooling medium include air, water and various combinations of the two, which may or may not involve outside air input. The volume of the premises is a crucial aspect in reaching the appropriate choice of cooling solution, with a view to reducing the PUE. If one makes design choices on the basis of square metres, then one runs the risk of inadvertently choosing water cooling, for example, while the computer room may offer sufficient volume to opt for an air cooling system that is both much more energy efficient and cost effective. After all, amending such choices at a later stage often proves highly costly and fraught with risk.’

‘In adopting the volume of a room as the basis for calculations, one can therefore lay solid foundations on which to create operational excellence in the data centre environment,’ Mr Timmer insists. ‘Operational excellence is becoming increasingly significant, as both IT and energy taxes make ever greater demands on computer rooms. Furthermore, it is essential in the field of data centre design & implementation that one applies processes comparable to those of product development, which involve all the various stakeholders in the design. An overall monitoring and management solution can then be used to supply the knowledge required to continually assess, adapt and fine tune the design.’

The whitepaper ‘New dimensions in Data Centre Design – Professionalising the data centre by striving for Operational Excellence’ is available in English from: