Earlier, data center managers were under the impression that floor space was the main aspect you had to take into consideration when setting up a new facility.
They have revised their opinion, as they have realized that power density is the crucial factor that needs to be looked at in new data centers.
In the late 80s, data centers would be designed anywhere between 100 watts per square foot to 40 watts per square foot. In the last decade, however, density has increased to 100-150 watts per square foot.
The shift towards higher density ecosystems has been necessitated by increasing adoption of cloud computing and virtualization. These new generation technologies need cabinet densities with higher kilowatts.
Now, data center owners or operators look at designing new centers with high-density environments and lesser spaces, unlike large spaces and low-density setups in the past.
If operators build or rent out higher-density environments, it allows them to save money and also maintain the latest IT devices.
Cooling and power densities have replaced the area available as the main priorities in the latest data centers.
Latest IT designs have made the operators view data centers differently. Those designing facilities that can hold up to 10 kilowatts per cabinet are able to realize savings in capital as well as operational expenses. In addition, the size of the high-density data centers is half of that, or even lesser, when compared to low-density data centers. What’s more, the computing power has not fallen with the size.
That is not the only advantage of having a large density data center. Others include having a facility with fewer IT cabinets; fire detection and suppression systems that are smaller in size; fewer number of rack power distribution units (PDUs); smaller electrical power feeders, among others.
Although mechanical and electrical system devices are slightly more expensive in these environments, they do not amount to a lot.
Certain colocation service providers, who rent out data centers, provide customers a set quantity of power that can be used. It is about 3-5 kilowatts per cabinet, which allows customers to have more floor area to have more power capacity. But there many other colocation operators who provide larger power densities. Power density always plays a decisive role when clients choose colocation service providers.
Data center locations use a measure known as power usage effectiveness (PUE) to assess their efficiency. High-density data centers typically have lower PUE as cooling efficiency is optimized.
Most importantly, it costs less to plan and build a smaller, high-density data center compared with its larger and low-density counterpart.