Last week's Data Center World provided a wealth of excellent educational presentations. There were three that I attended that held my interest more than others. One was on a topic that I know something about, and two were about topics that I know little about and were all new content for me. For me, the value of such an event is not just getting an update on topics I cover but to be exposed to new technologies that will impact my areas of interest.
One presentation provided by Doug Coleman, Manager of Technology and Standards at Corning company provided new and useful information about the merits of optical fiber just from Green IT perspective. Doug explained that using optical fiber had many benefits over copper wire for data center use today and for future expansion. Optical connectivity has a lower carbon emission and its equivalency can be described using this example: a 288 port 10G copper connection uses the equivalent of 99 vehicles whereas optical connectivity uses just 14 vehicles. This is because a OM3 10G network would have total CO2 emissions of 32 tons of carbon in contrast to 155 tons for a CAT 6A UTP 10 G network. (Assume these are equal comparisons because I cannot defend that myself, since I am not an expert on connectivity.)
In other charts, Doug showed that because copper creates more heat, it requires more cooling. Low power requirements result in lower generated heat, contributing to lower cooling needs. Copper is heavier and more massive, requiring more space in a data center and more energy to transport it to the data center. Optical fibers allow for more switch port density. Overall this also results in a lower structural weight load which can significantly lower costs for building out a new data center.
Another presentation by Jason Cohen, CEO of Allied Fiber, explained the value of siting a data center near locations that have competing unused fiber available. Network, power and cooling are the three infrastructure elements that every new data center requires. The trick is to get all the information you need about unused available fiber before siting your data center - and there are many reasons that it is difficult to get all the data you need before you have to make a decision. Existing installed systems may not be upgraded to meet growing tenant needs leaving your data center with fewer options.
Finally, in the presentation by Steve Carlini, Sr. Director, Data Center Global Solutions, and Victor Avelar, Senior Research Analyst of the Data Center Science Center both from APC Schneider, a chart that listed all the items that are frequently omitted from claims of low PUE values was very valuable. This included cooling tower basin heaters, pipe freeze protection, water treatment, air compressors, condensate pumps, unit heaters, well pumps, and make-up air, fresh air system power.
This was my first annual AFCOM event and I was impressed with the quality of these presentations as well as the final conference round-up where members were asked to provide raw feedback on what needed to be improved. Have a green day!