The utilization of virtualization technologies through blade server deployment continues to increase at a rapid rate as organizations attempt to maximize server density per rack.
Although these technologies optimize rack space, they also significantly increase the power and cooling requirements of the data center. Organizations are faced with a continuous struggle to provide ample power and cooling to support these high-density server deployments on legacy data center infrastructures.
This case study discusses the challenges Tele Atlas faced in meeting the power and cooling requirements of their blade server deployment. Tele Atlas was able to facilitate rapid growth by leveraging blade server technologies but quickly realized that their existing data center CRAC units were incapable of providing sufficient cooling to support their operations.
Tele Atlas is a leading global provider of digital maps and dynamic content for navigation and location-based solutions. To support their significant requirements for storage, online customer data, and more, they chose to leverage server virtualization technologies utilizing VMWare. This implementation allowed the IT team to consolidate servers at a ratio as high as 15 to 1, helping them maximize rack space while reducing their overall carbon footprint. However, these high-density applications presented substantial infrastructure challenges due to the tremendous amount of heat they generate. Quickly after implementation, data center temperatures were continually exceeding 90°, providing a high-risk operating environment for the existing IT equipment. In an effort to rectify these dangerous conditions, Tele Atlas added an additional 52.5 kW of cooling capacity to their existing 175 kW CRAC unit infrastructure. Unfortunately, the issues were not resolved and Tele Atlas was forced to resort to fans and other drastic measures to prevent equipment failure.
Tele Atlas was running all CRAC units in their data center 24 hours a day at 100% capacity, but was still unsuccessful in controlling temperatures and effectively cooling their IT equipment. They soon realized that a new strategy was imperative. Tele Atlas chose Leading Edge Design Group to design a data center solution that would not only solve their immediate problems but would also provide an infrastructure to support their rapid growth and planned the deployment of additional blade servers.
Leading Edge Design Group immediately saw the shortcomings of the existing data center infrastructure, and also noted the excess electrical costs Tele Atlas was incurring to support an inadequate cooling system. Leading Edge Design Group quantified these wasted electrical costs as follows:
- Existing Load on UPS = 100kW
- Total CRAC Unit Cooling Output Operating 24/7 = 227kW
- Excess Cooling Consumption = 127 kW
- Average Cost of Electricity per kWh = $0.10
- Total Wasted Electric Cost per Year = $111,252
Leading Edge Design Group recognized the need for an immediate solution but placed equal emphasis on understanding Tele Atlas’ future growth plans. Through this requirements collection process, it was evident that Tele Atlas’ rapid growth projections and increasing utilization of blade server technologies demanded an integrated solution with energy-efficient power and cooling infrastructures.