If you felt the heat this summer, spare a thought for the data centre managers who were obliged to spray their roof-mounted air conditioning units with water to keep them cool so that they could keep the all-important servers up and running*.
Data centres are an enormous business in themselves. Still, more significantly, they support just about every other business and organisation on the planet – from multi-national corporates to SMEs, from government departments to hospitals.
Data is at the heart of everything we do today.
Cooling is, therefore, a mission-critical service for data centres. According to the IEA, data centres consume around 2% world’s final electricity demand (though some sources say it’s double that). Approximately half of that power is used for cooling.
Cooling systems in data centres can vary depending on the size or type of building, but currently, they are either water-cooled or air-cooled. Water plays a vital role in both classes, so water treatment is equally important to robust and effective cooling delivery.
One of the most important factors for data centre maintenance is that the managers can rarely afford downtime, if at all. Re-cleaning and flushing a closed system could cost tens of thousands of pounds – a bill that would make the preventative strategy seem pretty good value. And as a system deteriorates over time, data centre owners could face spiralling and un-budgeted costs for maintenance call-outs and replacement parts.
What’s more, poor water quality won’t just damage the pipework. A lack of effective water treatment will almost inevitably reduce the working life of critical components, including chillers, CRAC units and heat exchangers. Prevention is undoubtedly better than cure.
At Enwa, we know that water quality in a cooling system will also impact energy efficiency. This issue is a growing concern at data centres, where energy costs are rising as in every other business. A system such as our EnwaMatic® Sidestream Filtration and Water Treatment will prevent a build-up of suspended solids, corrosion and biological fouling that can hamper the performance of cooling systems.
Side stream filtration picks up debris to less than 10 microns, while pH regulations assists with corrosion inhibition and bacterial growth restriction. It provides a dynamic, self-regulating process that ensures correct treatment is always in place, providing practical, cost-effective protection for vital cooling systems.
The EnwaMatic® will also work as part of a building management system (BMS), so monitoring can be automated – alerting engineers if there is a fault but requiring minimal intervention while it does its job.
In critical systems such as data centre cooling, malfunction due to poor water quality is a high-risk problem. At the same time, the data centre sector globally is aiming to drive down its energy use despite sector growth. Taking a preventative approach to water quality that is also automated and provides continuous protection is a decision that will provide data centre managers with peace of mind and more energy-efficient cooling systems.
If you would like to find out more about how EnwaMatic® and our range of water treatment services can keep your data centre up and running, check out our website www.enwa.co.uk. We will also be at the DATACENTRE.ME event on Tuesday 11th October if you’d like to chat with one of our technical experts.