Addressing Power and Thermal Challenges in the Datacenter

Introduction


Rising utility rates and escalating compute requirements are creating new power and thermal challenges for datacenter managers. Today's high-density rack and blade servers bring these issues into especially sharp focus. Since these architectures are inherently more scalable, adaptable, and manageable than traditional platforms, they deliver much needed relief in complex, crowded datacenters. Yet they also introduce power and thermal loads that are substantially higher than those of most currently deployed systems. In some cases, they may even push the cooling infrastructures of older facilities beyond their design limits.

For the most part, these are not insurmountable challenges. As will be described in this paper, the implementation of current datacenter best practices for power and cooling management can improve overall efficiency, and may enable much higher densities without disruptive change. Of course, power-related challenges will increase in the future, as total datacenter compute power continues to climb, and IT organizations take advantage of more powerful and higher density architectures.

The answer is not to reverse this trend, which offers incredible benefits in performance and total cost of ownership (TCO); but rather to develop new and better ways to contain and manage power and thermal requirements This white paper discusses these and other developments in power and thermal control and management. It also offers practical recommendations that can be implemented now to optimize power and cooling strategies in the datacenter, and to accommodate higher density server solutions without major infrastructure overhauls.


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