Keeping servers cool and data safe at NTT
The Frankfurt 1 data center campus has around 50,000 square meters of IT space, making it one of the largest data center locations in Europe. Customers benefit from a variety of services, including the opportunity to rent server cabinets, specially partitioned high-security areas (“cages”) and office space here or have their servers hosted. The services offered include monitoring and maintenance of the systems, because nothing here matters more than security: NTT offers customers 99.999 percent availability meaning that servers will continue to run even in the event of a disaster.
If you want to perform around the clock, 365 days a year, you have to stay cool. In data centers, precision air-conditioning units take care of that. They draw in exhaust air at a temperature of around 36 to 39 degrees Celsius, filter, cool and humidify it, then direct the air, which has been cooled to 23 to 24 degrees, through a raised floor and outlets directly to the server racks. At the explicit request of NTT’s data center (DC) experts, three EC centrifugal fans from ebm-papst’s RadiPac series are responsible for continuously moving the air in each of the air conditioners.
Data center security is the business of DC Experts
The DC experts are part of Central Engineering within NTT. Together with the design department, they take care of the entire data center infrastructure. Their tasks include the conceptual design, development of specifications and commissioning of the precision air-conditioning units. The main focus is on ensuring that customers’ requirements regarding security and efficiency are met. This applies not only to protecting the server rooms, but also to the cooling system. RadiPac centrifugal fan meets the necessary requirements for this, the DC experts explain: “For example, the excellent service life, energy efficiency, and its control and monitoring properties.”
“We adapt everything to customer requirements”
When it comes to data security, special requests are the rule. For example, one customer requested a particularly close-meshed intake and exhaust air grille on the raised floor. To ensure that the servers continue to get enough cold air, the fans have to deliver more power while remaining efficient. The DC experts were particularly impressed here by the infinitely variable, economical EC motor: “We operate the RadiPac in partial load at low speed. In this range, EC fans are simply unsurpassed in efficiency.”
Save 30 % energy with RadiPac
This also increases the service life, as impressively demonstrated in Frankfurt 1, where around 1,500 RadiPac fans have been in operation for more than eight years. “We run the standby precision air-conditioning units in parallel at low speed instead of setting them up just for emergencies. This allows us to increase the service life of the fans and boost efficiency. Thanks to precise differential pressure control in the range of four to six pascals, the fan speed of all air conditioners automatically adjusts when a precision air-conditioning unit fails or if the server performance changes dynamically.”
Because the standby air conditioners run continuously, all fans consume an impressive 30 percent less electricity. This is also good news for customers who are increasingly demanding information about energy consumption. They usually ask for the EER value, which indicates how high the cooling capacity of a precision air-conditioning unit is compared to its power consumption. “The economical RadiPac are crucial for achieving a good EER value.”
Service and performance convince NTT
In addition to efficiency, personal interaction is particularly important to the DC experts. Depending on what customers want, different air conditioner manufacturers are approached and the units are inspected on site: “For us, technical data is not enough, because it is measured in the suppliers’ test rooms. But that doesn’t correspond to the final installation situation in our company.”
There must be no surprises in this respect, which is why the DC experts also monitor companies supplying their suppliers on site for example, at ebm-papst. “What matters to us first and foremost is the quality of the products and that they have been tested to perfection. The reliability and efficiency of the RadiPac fans play a big part in the resilience of the data center. ”