DC Power…in your D.C.

22 Dec

Due to rising costs of energy and the need to keep operating expenses as low as possible, data center managers are always looking for opportunities to increase energy efficiency in the data center.  Much can be accomplished through server virtualization and consolidation, storage consolidation, and through implementing best practices in cool air distribution / hot air reclamation in the data center.

Within the electric power ecosystem, opportunities aren’t as easily identified or implemented.  Newer UPS systems are highly efficient, and the latest generations of servers are significantly more efficient than the generations available just two years ago.  Because of transformation of power in a data center from Alternating Current (AC) to Direct Current (DC) (or vice versa) there is a tremendous amount of energy loss resulting in heat.  What if these conversions could be eliminated, saving an additional 15% on the power demand and energy usage through establishment of a standard for DC power in the datacenter?  A new study has demonstrated actual savings of that magnitude:

“Symanski presented results of a DC implementation in a Duke Energy data center which balanced the load across AC and DC distribution systems in the same environment. “We were trying to get as close as we could to an apples-to-apples comparison,” said Symanski, who said the DC system showed energy savings ranging between 14.9 and 15.6 percent versus AC distribution systems in multiple tests with different IT workloads. The test used HP and IBM servers and EMC storage arrays on the IT side, with a distribution system featuring Delta rectifiers, Starline busway and Dranetz-BMI metering.”

An industry group, Emerge Alliance, has been formed to help develop and drive adoption of 380V DC power for commercial buildings, including the data center.

These innovative standards integrate interior infrastructures, power, controls and devices in a common microgrid platform to facilitate the hybrid use of AC and DC power throughout buildings for unprecedented design and space flexibility, greater energy efficiency and improved sustainability.

The Alliance will simplify and accelerate market adoption of EMerge Alliance standards. The Alliance will ensure that its standards deliver:

  • Required solutions based on market requirements and ecosystem approval
  • Buyer assurance with products base-lined to the standards
  • Increased supply choices in the value chain that span the needs of different commercial interiors

Establishment of an integrated standard that manufacturers like HP, IBM and EMC can design products to is an important step towards implementing more DC-based systems and lowering corporate OpEx spend.



26 Sep


I look forward to using this blog as a forum to engage in dialogue about innovative applied concepts, strategies, and technologies that are changing data center operations.

IT is on the cusp of significant transformational change–it’s an exciting time to be an IT professional!

Stay tuned for more…