2BM HELP THEIR CLIENT TO REPATRIATE 20 EXISTING COMMS ROOMS, INTO A SINGLE, DEDICATED DATA CENTRE THAT WOULD BE HOUSED AT THEIR UK HEADQUARTERS

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CATEGORY
2bm have been shortlisted for two awards;

  • Data Centre Cooling Innovation of the Year
  • Data Centre Energy Efficiency Innovation of the year

2BM’S ENTRY DESCRIPTION 
As well as meeting our client’s key objectives for a resilient, reliable and high-quality facility for critical equipment, 2bm also considered ways in which to contribute to the sustainable development of the local environment, economy and community in which a facility is located.
This included addressing any environmental and energy concerns as part of our decision-making process, designing and building a data centre that was both future-proofed and sustainable.
In addition, 2bm acted in a socially responsible manner when it came to our supply chain and the management of our internal operations and logistics. 2bm is ISO 14001 approved and accredited with the Green iiE award, the highest accolade for business efficiency.

We are also CEEDA certified designers, members of the Green Grid, the Data Centre Alliance and endorsers of the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres – which means each and every one of our designs will be beyond compliant when it comes to the latest data centre standards and practices.

What was the driving force behind the project – what business or technology challenge needed to be addressed?
Due to business demands, our client, who had multiple locations within their organisation, needed to find more office space around the UK. It was therefore decided to repatriate 20 existing comms rooms, into a single, dedicated data centre that would be housed at their UK headquarters.

There were three main challenges in providing a solution for this project:
First – the lack of cooling fans within the board farm architecture, meant that we needed to create sufficient air movement within the room in order to cool the board farm.
Second – there was no outdoor space to house the cooling plant and equipment.
Third – the client required an energy-efficient data centre with ultra-low operating costs.

How did the solution address the challenges and were there any particularly innovative aspects that made it stand out?
The challenge of having a lack of cooling fans within the board farm architecture couldn’t be addressed simply by installing an off-the-shelf, traditional rear door cooler minus the coil. 2bm’s design and build team set about finding a more cost-effective solution. Several approaches were considered, including modifying an existing cabinet rear door so that it could house four separate four-way fan trays.
Following a series of tests and further modifications, the bespoke rear doors were able to generate sufficient air movement within each rack to cool the board farm equipment to meet ASHRAE guidelines.

What major challenges were faced during the project and how were they overcome?
With no outdoor space to house the cooling plant, 2bm had to come up with a solution that was not only energy-efficient but also incorporated a DX backup solution without the use of outdoor space.
The 2bm solution proposed a very high-efficiency fresh air free colling solution utilising Stulz Tel-Air 3 inverter package air handling units with 100% mechanical cooling DX back up. The cooling units were installed within the room in a traditional downflow cooling front discharged unit, with the rear of the units ducted externally via the existing window openings with new weather louvres.
As these units utilised direct fresh air and not evaporative cooling, there was no requirement for a water supply to the data centre, thereby removing the risk of water in the data centre, Legionella and any trace of heating requirements.
Due to the low loads within the board farm architecture, outsourcing what would be 68 racks at 2.5kW per rack, would not have been a cost-effective solution.
2bm took the decision to take a modular, cleanroom approach to rehouse the board farm computing. In order to control the cold air across the open board frames and back to the cooling units, racks were arranged in hot and cold aisles.

What tangible benefits has the organisation seen as a result of the project’s implementation?
The entire project was designed around 2bm’s business ethos as both a member of the EU Code of Conduct on data centres and a CEEDA design approved partner.
The client also required an energy-efficient data centre with ultra-low operating costs, 2bm’s solution provided a PUE of <1.2. Through innovative design, the data centre designed by 2bm will be cooled the entire year via this solution with no requirement to fall back to compressor-based, mechanical cooling. Thus, furthering the energy efficiency, green credentials and reliability of the facility – The client received an energy-efficient data centre with ultra-low operating costs.

The scalable and modular approach by 2bm offered varying resilience levels and can also be expanded via additional cooling units in the future, should higher loads be required, The data centre’s overall efficiency can also be increased through contained hot or cold aisle deployment.

As the cooling fans are infinitely variable once 30% cooling load has been achieved, they save energy and deliver low operating costs. We took the decision to take a modular, cleanroom approach to rehouse the board farm computing. In order to control the cold air across the open board frames and back to the cooling units, racks were arranged in hot and cold aisles.
Mechanical and electrical systems were provided with a minimum N+1 redundancy to provide resilience and an increased element of fault tolerance. New LED lighting and emergency lighting was installed within the data centre, controlled by PIRs to provide a lights-out room.
Fire detection within the room, ceiling and floor void help to provide total fire detection coverage, with a dedicated room fire control panel with relays linked back to the house system, together with VESDA early warning smoke detection.

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