“The data centers of the future will be even greener”

Andrei Pawlaczyk, Data Center Manager at Deerns Spain

We talked about energy efficiency and sustainability with Andrei Pawlaczyk, Data Center Area Manager at Deerns Spain, a company specializing in the design and development of this type of facility. According to him, “Data centers consume a lot of energy and resources, and are a place that many organizations are looking to reduce, with the goal of eventually achieving net zero carbon emissions.” Indeed, data centers are one of the sectors where energy efficiency is one of the fundamental variables of their competitiveness. “Demand for data storage won’t decrease, but data centers will grow and improve their use of data compression, replication and other efficiency-enhancing methods,” says Andrei, who is clear that the renewable energies are already an alternative for these facilities. The implementation of fuel cells for the production of electricity or the transition to clean energy sources, such as solar and wind, are already a reality, says the head of Deerns Spain in this interview with Energética .

Data centers require intensive power consumption due to the high concentration of servers, which require stable and constant power under specific environmental conditions. In your opinion, what are the key equipment to control and improve energy efficiency in data centers?

An important factor in improving energy efficiency in data centers is the energy system and its management. By modifying, for example, the traditional 2N power supply architecture for distributed redundancy, the power system can improve by 1-2%. In 2N systems, the UPS load is always less than 50%, however, the best efficiency is obtained with higher loads. A more radical form will be renunciar a la fuente de alimentación del SAI y utilizar otros methods de s’eministro de energía como, por ejemplo, usando el sistema OCP (Over Current Protection), que porporcionar a 4% de aumento en la eficiencia del suministro de energy.

We also cannot forget to improve the cooling system. Air cooling, which has been used so far, consumes a lot of resources. Using systems based on high water temperature and efficient equipment to maximize free cooling hours is the current trend. Evaporative cooling systems are also used in many places, helping to reduce swap times. Liquid cooling, on the other hand, allows for a rapid reduction in temperature and power consumption. In my opinion, passive cooling systems with the latest technology in terms of components – consuming much less power and tolerating higher temperatures – will become more widespread in the future.

The demand for digital services has increased very significantly over the past decade. How have data centers adapted to this increase?

As more and more people use smart solutions, not only in businesses but also at home, the demand will continue to grow. This, in turn, will change data centers, as the decentralization of computing power will have a direct impact on the type of data center we will see in the future. There will be a growing need for data to be processed closer to the source and for latency to be reduced.

Has this increase in digital services led to an increase in energy consumption in data centers or has it been possible to limit this increase through energy efficiency measures?

In 2010, data centers accounted for 1% of global energy consumption. However, the workload of data centers between 2010 and 2020 has increased by 6 times, while the level of energy consumption has not increased proportionally to these figures. This points to technological advancements in the data center, whether in cooling or more efficient storage solutions. Undoubtedly, the data centers of the future will be even greener. The demand for data storage will not decrease, but data centers will grow and improve their use of data compression, replication, and other efficiency-enhancing methods.

Do you think sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint are a priority for data centers and their suppliers today?

Following the United Nations Climate Change Conference in late 2021, it is more important than ever for organizations to address sustainability and reduce their carbon footprint. Data centers consume a lot of energy and resources, and are a place that many organizations are looking to reduce, with the goal of eventually achieving net zero carbon emissions.

What role do renewable energies play in relation to the energy needs of data centers?

Many companies aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, which requires designing their data centers around energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy sources. Companies that design their data centers for environmental sustainability should consider certain design factors that can lead them to net zero data center emissions. Some of them are undoubtedly the implementation of fuel cells for the production of electricity or the transition to clean and renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind energy.

What kind of projects does Deerns do in the data center industry?

In the data center sector, Deerns carries out medium to large scale hyperscale projects. We carry out all kinds of services, starting with the feasibility study of a plot, the conceptual design, the basic project for licenses, as well as the detailed executive project. All designs are made in 3D technology to minimize construction times and errors during the design process. We carry out new construction projects, but also renovations and extensions of existing and operating data centers.

What is the profile of the customers who use your services?

Most of our clients are large international cloud or colocation data center providers, although we also work on public sector projects. As a multinational company operating in several countries, we can provide the same type of service with the same quality guarantee for the same customer, whether in Europe, the Middle East or Latin America. We are committed to nurturing lasting relationships with our customers, which allows us to better understand their needs and become their trusted partner.

What goals does the company set when it comes to achieving the lowest possible PUE when designing a data center?

As we know, the closer the number is to 1.0, the higher the efficiency of the data center. Mainly, through CFD simulations and using the best technologies, we try to reduce energy consumption by finding the right balance between the amount of heat generated by IT equipment and the cooling capacity. We particularly focus on partial load PUE, because often they are the ones who decide whether a center is efficient or not.

Updating and replacing existing equipment in data centers with more modern equipment is essential if you want to improve the energy efficiency of cooling and ventilation systems, etc. What strategy does Deerns follow in this direction in its projects?

All of our projects focus on energy saving. To this end, we follow strategies such as the use of air containment or liquid cooling with very high efficiency systems and the maximum use of ‘free-cooling’. We also track the energy consumption of our customers and forecast future electricity consumption. We advise customers to properly size servers to avoid underutilization and wasted energy.

What new services or applications has Deerns been able to implement through the development and improvement of the data centers?

One of the services that we have promoted in data centers is digital computer simulation related to the management of intelligent installations and using monitoring tools. This connection allows us to control the temperature in order to reduce the load on the HVAC systems and to rearrange the design according to energy consumption and temperature. It also allows us to swap legacy assets for newer, more energy-efficient assets.

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