HPC and Future Networks: Architectures, Technologies, and Innovations

High-Performance Computing (HPC) has become a crucial tool for solving complex problems and pushing the boundaries of scientific research, and various other applications. However, efficient operation of HPC systems requires specialized infrastructure and support. HPC has emerged as an indispensable tool across various domains, capable of addressing complex challenges and driving innovation in fields such as science, meteorology, finance, and healthcare.

Understanding the importance of data centers in supporting HPC is essential, as knowing the three fundamental components—compute, storage, and networking—that constitute high-performance computing systems is crucial.

Facilities in High-Performance Computing

Intensive computations in HPC environments generate substantial heat, necessitating advanced cooling solutions. Efficient cooling prevents overheating, ensuring system stability and prolonging hardware lifespan. Supporting HPC, data centers employ cutting-edge cooling facilities, including liquid cooling systems and precision air conditioning. Moreover, data center architects explore innovative cooling technologies like immersion cooling, submerging servers in special liquids for effective heat dissipation.

Success in HPC data centers relies on a range of specialized equipment tailored to meet the unique demands of high-performance computing. Key components include data center switches, server network cards, high-speed optical modules, DAC and AOC cables, and power supplies.

The Growing Demand for Network Infrastructure in High-Performance Computing

With revolutionary technologies like 5G, big data, and the Internet of Things (IoT) permeating various aspects of society, the trajectory towards an intelligent, digitized society over the next two to three decades is inevitable. Data center computing power has become a powerful driving force, shifting focus from resource scale to computational scale.

To meet the ever-growing demand for computing power, high-performance computing (HPC) has become a top priority, especially as computational cluster scales expand from the petascale to the exascale. This shift imposes increasingly higher demands on interconnect network performance, marking a clear trend of deep integration between computation and networking. HPC introduces different network performance requirements in three typical scenarios: loosely coupled computing scenarios, tightly coupled scenarios, and data-intensive computing scenarios.

In summary, high-performance computing (HPC) imposes stringent requirements on network throughput and latency. To meet these demands, the industry widely adopts Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) as an alternative to the TCP protocol to reduce latency and maximize CPU utilization on servers. Despite its advantages, the sensitivity of RDMA to network packet loss highlights the importance of lossless networks.

The Evolution of High-Performance Computing Networks

Traditional data center networks have historically adopted a multi-hop symmetric architecture based on Ethernet technology, relying on the TCP/IP protocol stack for transmission. However, despite over 30 years of development, Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) technology has gradually replaced TCP/IP, becoming the preferred protocol for HPC networks. Additionally, the choice of RDMA network layer protocols has evolved from expensive lossless networks based on the InfiniBand (IB) protocol to intelligent lossless networks based on Ethernet.

From TCP to RDMA

In traditional data centers, Ethernet technology and the TCP/IP protocol stack have been the norm for building multi-hop symmetric network architectures. However, due to two main limitations—latency issues and CPU utilization—the TCP/IP network is no longer sufficient to meet the demands of high-performance computing. To address these challenges, RDMA functionality has been introduced at the server side. RDMA is a direct memory access technology that enables data transfer directly between computer memories without involving the operating system, thus bypassing time-consuming processor operations. This approach achieves high bandwidth, low latency, and low resource utilization.

From IB to RoCE

RDMA enables direct data read and write between applications and network cards. RDMA’s zero-copy mechanism allows the receiving end to read data directly from the sending end’s memory, significantly reducing CPU burden and improving CPU efficiency. Currently, there are three choices for RDMA network layer protocols: InfiniBand, iWARP (Internet Wide Area RDMA Protocol), and RoCE (RDMA over Converged Ethernet). Although RoCE offers many advantages, its sensitivity to packet loss requires support from lossless Ethernet. This evolution of HPC networks reflects a continuous pursuit of enhanced performance, efficiency, and interoperability.

Enterprise Innovative Solution: Designing High-Performance Data Center Networks

The architecture of data center networks has evolved from the traditional core-aggregation-access model to the modern Spine-Leaf design. This approach fully utilizes network interconnection bandwidth, reduces multi-layer convergence rates, and is easy to scale. When traffic bottlenecks occur, horizontal expansion can be achieved by increasing uplink links and reducing convergence ratios, minimizing the impact on bandwidth expansion. Overlay networks utilize EVPN-VXLAN technology to achieve flexible network deployment and resource allocation.

This solution draws on the design experience of internet data center networks, adopting the Spine-Leaf architecture and EVPN-VXLAN technology to provide a versatile and scalable network infrastructure for upper-layer services. Production and office networks are isolated by domain firewalls and connected to office buildings, labs, and regional center exits. The core switches of the production network provide up to 1.6Tb/s of inter-POD communication bandwidth and 160G of high-speed network egress capacity, with each POD’s internal horizontal network capacity reaching 24Tb, ensuring minimal packet loss. The building wiring is planned based on the Spine-Leaf architecture, with each POD’s switches interconnected using 100G links and deployed in TOR mode. The overall network structure is more streamlined, improving cable deployment and management efficiency.

Future-Oriented Equipment Selection

When envisioning and building data center networks, careful consideration of technological advancements, industry trends, and operational costs over the next five years is crucial. The choice of network switches plays a vital role in the overall design of data center networks. Traditional large-scale network designs often opt for chassis-based equipment to enhance the overall capacity of the network system, but scalability is limited.

Therefore, for the network equipment selection of this project, NVIDIA strongly advocates for adopting a modular switch network architecture. This strategic approach facilitates rapid familiarization by maintenance teams. Additionally, it provides operational flexibility for future network architecture adjustments, equipment reuse, and maintenance replacements.

In response to the ongoing trend of business transformation and the surge in demand for big data, most data center network designs adopt the mature Spine-Leaf architecture, coupled with EVPN-VXLAN technology to achieve efficient network virtualization. This architectural approach ensures convenient high-bandwidth, low-latency network traffic, laying the foundation for scalability and flexibility.

How FS Can Help

FS is a professional provider of communication and high-speed network system solutions for network, data center, and telecommunications customers. Leveraging NVIDIA® InfiniBand switches, 100G/200G/400G/800G InfiniBand transceivers, and NVIDIA® InfiniBand adapters, FS offers customers a comprehensive set of solutions based on InfiniBand and lossless Ethernet (RoCE). These solutions meet diverse application requirements, enabling users to accelerate their businesses and enhance performance. For more information, please visit FS.COM.

Empowering Your 800G Networks with MTP/MPO Fiber Cables

In the era of ultra-high-speed data transmission, MTP/MPO cables have become a key player, especially in the context of 800G networks. In essence, MTP/MPO cables emerge as catalysts for the evolution toward 800G networks, offering a harmonious blend of high-density connectivity, reliability, and scalability. This article will delve into the advantages of MTP/MPO cables in 800G networks and provide specific solutions for constructing an 800G network, offering valuable insights for upgrading your existing data center.

Challenges Faced in 800G Data Transmission

As a critical hub for storing and processing vast amounts of data, data centers require high-speed and stable networks to support data transmission and processing. The 800G network achieves a data transfer rate of 800 Gigabits per second (Gbps) and can meet the demands of large-scale data transmission and processing in data centers, enhancing overall efficiency.

Therefore, many major internet companies are either constructing new 800G data centers or upgrading existing data centers from 100G, 400G to 800G speeds. However, the pursuit of 800G data transmission faces numerous complex challenges that necessitate innovative solutions. Here, we analyze the intricate obstacles associated with achieving ultra-fast data transmission.

Insufficient Bandwidth & High Latency

The 800G network demands extensive data transmission, placing higher requirements on bandwidth. It necessitates network equipment capable of supporting greater data throughput, particularly in terms of connection cables. Ordinary optical fibers typically consist of a single fiber within a cable, and their optical and physical characteristics are inadequate for handling massive data, failing to meet the high-bandwidth requirements of 800G.

While emphasizing high bandwidth, data center networks also require low latency to meet end-user experience standards. In high-speed networks, ordinary optical fibers undergo more refraction and scattering, resulting in additional time delays during signal transmission.

Limited Spatial Layout

The high bandwidth requirements of 800G networks typically come with more connection ports and optical fibers. However, the limited space in data centers or server rooms poses a challenge. Achieving high-density connections requires accommodating more connection devices in the constrained space, leading to crowded layouts and increased challenges in space management and design.

Complex Network Architecture

The transition to an 800G network necessitates a reassessment of network architecture. Upgrading to higher data rates requires consideration of network design, scalability, and compatibility with existing infrastructure. Therefore, the cabling system must meet both current usage requirements and align with future development trends. Given the long usage lifecycle of cabling systems, addressing how to match the cabling installation with multiple IT equipment update cycles becomes a challenging problem.

High Construction Cost

Implementing 800G data transmission involves investments in infrastructure and equipment. Achieving higher data rates requires upgrading and replacing existing network equipment and cabling management patterns, incurring significant costs. Cables, in particular, carry various network devices, and their required lifecycle is longer than that of network equipment. Frequent replacements can result in resource wastage.

Effectively addressing these challenges is crucial to unlocking the full potential of a super-fast, efficient data network.

Unlocking 800G Power: MTP/MPO Cables’ Key Advantages

The significance of MTP/MPO cables in high-speed networks, especially in 800G networks, lies in their ability to manage the escalating data traffic efficiently. The following are key advantages of MTP/MPO cables:

High Density, High Bandwidth

MTP/MPO cables adopt a high-density multi-fiber design, enabling the transmission of multiple fibers within a relatively small connector. This design not only provides ample bandwidth support for data centers, meeting the high bandwidth requirements of an 800G network, but also helps save space and supports the high-density connection needs for large-scale data transfers.

Additionally, MTP/MPO cables exhibit excellent optical and mechanical performance, resulting in low insertion loss in high-speed network environments. By utilizing a low-loss cabling solution, they effectively contribute to reducing latency in the network.

Flexibility and Scalability

MTP/MPO connectors come in various configurations, accommodating different fiber counts (8-core, 12-core, 16-core, 24-core, etc.), supporting both multimode and single-mode fibers. With trunk and breakout designs, support for different polarities, and male/female connector options, these features allow seamless integration into various network architectures. The flexibility and scalability of MTP/MPO connectors enable them to adapt to evolving network requirements and facilitate future expansions, particularly in the context of 800G networks.

Efficient Maintenance

The high-density and compact design of MTP/MPO cables contribute to saving rack and data room space, enabling data centers to utilize limited space resources more efficiently. This, in turn, facilitates the straightforward deployment and reliable operation of 800G networks, reducing the risks associated with infrastructure changes or additions in terms of cost and performance. Additionally, MTP/MPO cables featuring a Plenum (OFNP) outer sheath exhibit fire resistance and low smoke characteristics, minimizing potential damage and saving on cabling costs.

Scaling the 800G Networks With MTP/MPO Cables

In the implementation of 800G data transmission, the wiring solution is crucial. MTP/MPO cables, as a key component, provide reliable support for high-speed data transmission. FS provides professional solutions for large-scale data center users who require a comprehensive upgrade to 800G speeds. Aim to rapidly increase data center network bandwidth to meet the growing demands of business.

Newly Built 800G Data Center

Given the rapid expansion of business, many large-scale internet companies choose to build new 800G data centers to enhance their network bandwidth. In these data centers, all network equipment utilizes 800G switches, combined with MTP/MPO cables to achieve a direct-connected 800G network. To ensure high-speed data transmission, advanced 800G 2xFR4/2xLR4 modules are employed between the core switches and backbone switches, and 800G DR8 modules seamlessly interconnect leaf switches with TOR switches.

To simplify connections, a strategic deployment of the 16-core MTP/MPO OS2 trunk cables directly connects to 800G optical modules. This strategic approach maximally conserves fiber resources, optimizes wiring space, and facilitates cable management, providing a more efficient and cost-effective cabling solution for the infrastructure of 800G networks.

Upgrade from 100G to 800G

Certainly, many businesses choose to renovate and upgrade their existing data center networks. In the scenario below, engineers replaced the original 8-core MTP/MPO-LC breakout cable with the 16-core version, connecting it to the existing MTP cassettes. The modules on both ends, previously 100G QSFP28 FR, were upgraded to 800G OSFP XDR8. This seamless deployment migrated the existing structured cabling to an 800G rate. It is primarily due to the 16-core MTP/MPO-LC breakout cable, proven as the optimal choice for direct connections from 800G OSFP XDR8 to 100G QSFP28 FR or from 800G QSFP-DD/OSFP DR8 to 100G QSFP28 DR.

In short, this solution aims to increase the density of fiber optic connections in the data center and optimize cabling space. Not only improves current network performance but also takes into account future network expansion.

Elevating from 400G to the 800G Network

How to upgrade an existing 400G network to 800G in data centres? Let’s explore the best practices through MTP/MPO cables to achieve this goal.

Based on the original 400G network, the core, backbone, and leaf switches have all been upgraded to an 800G rate, while the TOR (Top of Rack) remains at a 400G rate. The core and backbone switches utilise 800G 2xFR4/2xLR4 modules, the leaf switches use 800G DR8 modules, and the TOR adopts 400G DR4 modules. Deploying two 12-core MTP/MPO OS2 trunk cables in a breakout configuration between the 400G and 800G optical modules facilitates interconnection.

Furthermore, there is a second connectivity option where the 800G port optical module utilises OSFP SR8, the 400G port uses OSFP SR4 optical module, and the intermediate cables are connected using 12-core MTP® OM4 trunk cables.

These two cabling solutions enhance scalability, prevent network bottlenecks, reduce latency, and are conducive to expanding bandwidth when transitioning from lower-speed to higher-speed networks in the future. Additionally, this deployment retains the existing network equipment, significantly lowering cost expenditures.

ItemProductDescription
1OSFP-DR8-800GNVIDIA InfiniBand MMS4X00-NM compatible OSFP 800G DR8 PAM4 2x DR4 1310nm 500m DOM dual MPO-12/APC NDR SMF optical transceiver, finned top.
2OSFP800-XDR8-B1Generic compatible 800GBASE-XDR8 OSFP PAM4 1310nm 2km DOM MTP/MPO-16 SMF optical transceiver module.
3OSFP-2FR4-800GNVIDIA InfiniBand MMS4X50-NM compatible OSFP 800G 2FR4 PAM4 1310nm 2km DOM dual LC duplex/UPC NDR SMF optical transceiver, finned top.
4OSFP-SR8-800GNVIDIA InfiniBand MMA4Z00-NS compatible OSFP 800G SR8 PAM4 2 x SR4 850nm 50m DOM dual MPO-12/APC MMF NDR finned top optical transceiver module for QM9790/9700 switches.
5OSFP-SR4-400G-FLNVIDIA InfiniBand MMA4Z00-NS400 compatible OSFP 400G SR4 PAM4 850nm 50m DOM MPO-12/APC MMF NDR flat top optical transceiver module for ConnectX-7 HCA.
616FMTPSMFMTP®-16 APC (Female) to MTP®-16 APC (Female) OS2 single mode standard IL trunk cable, 16 fibers, plenum (OFNP), yellow, for 800G network connection.
716FMTPLCSMFMTP®-16 APC (Female) to 8 LC UPC duplex OS2 single mode standard IL breakout cable, 16 Fibers, plenum (OFNP), yellow, for 800G network connection.
812FMTPSMFMTP®-12 (Female) to MTP®-12 (Female) OS2 single mode elite trunk cable, 12 fibers, type B, plenum (OFNP), yellow.
912FMTPOM4MTP®-12 APC (Female) to MTP®-12 APC (Female) OM4 multimode elite trunk cable, 12 fibers, type B, plenum (OFNP), magenta.

For more specific 800G connectivity solutions, please refer to 800G MTP/MPO Cabling Guide.

Conclusion

Ultimately, the diverse range of MTP/MPO cable types provides tailored solutions for different connectivity scenarios in 800G networks. As organizations navigate the complexities of high-speed data transmission, MTP/MPO cables stand as indispensable enablers, paving the way for a new era of efficient and robust network infrastructures.

How FS Can Help

The comprehensive networking solutions and product offerings not only save costs but also reduce power consumption, delivering higher value. Considering an upgrade to 800G for your data center network? FS tailors customized solutions for you. Don’t wait any longer—Register as an FS website member now and enjoy free technical support.

10GBASE-T vs SFP+: Which one is suitable for 10G Data Center Cabling?

When designing a new network architecture based on 10GB Ethernet, we face the challenge of choosing the right equipment to achieve maximum performance and support the future demands of complex network applications.

There are two options for 10Gb Ethernet interconnection: 10GBASE-T and SFP+ solutions (SFP+ and DAC/AOC). 10GBASE-T copper cable modules can span network links of up to 100 meters using cat 6a/cat 7 cables. SFP+ optical devices will support distances of up to 300 meters on multimode fiber and up to 80 kilometers on single-mode fiber.

What are the differences?

SFP+ fiber offers lower latency and cost, and the power consumption of SFP+ solutions is also significantly lower, with the power consumption of 10GBASE-T being approximately three to four times that of the SFP+ solution. Moreover, 1Gb SFP transceivers can be inserted into SFP+ ports, functioning at a speed of 1Gb and linking through optical cables to conventional ports. They can also be plugged into SFP modules that are compatible with 1GBase-T, establishing connections at lower speeds with traditional ports.

However, 10GBASE-T copper cabling provides effective backward compatibility with standard copper network equipment, making optimal use of existing copper infrastructure wiring. Additionally, 10GBASE-T is backward compatible with 1G ports, and many low-bandwidth devices still use 1G ports. Compared to SFP+ solutions for small enterprises, 10GBASE-T is generally more cost-effective and easier to deploy.

Conclusion

In comparison, if scalability and flexibility are crucial for small enterprise applications, then 10GBASE-T cabling is the better choice. However, if power efficiency and lower latency are paramount, then 10G SFP+ cabling is clearly the winner.

Click to explore a more detailed purchasing guide: 10GBASE-T vs SFP+ Fiber vs SFP+ DAC: Which to Choose for 10GbE Data Center Cabling? | FS Community

How FS Can Help

Whether it’s a 10G copper cabling solution or a 10G fiber cabling solution, FS can customize it according to your needs. Click to register now and promptly enjoy your exclusive solution design.

SFP-10G-SR vs SFP-10G-LR: How to choose?

Optical fiber communication technology is crucial for efficient information transmission, significantly enhancing data transmission speeds. Optical modules, a vital component of this technology, play a key role. Among the parameters associated with optical modules, common ones include SFP-10G-SR and SFP-10G-LR. When making a purchase decision, it’s pivotal for you to understand the difference between SFP-10G-SR and SFP-10G-LR before choosing products.

What are the SFP-10G-SR and SFP-10G-LR

SFP refers to hot-pluggable small form factor modules. 10G represents its maximum transmission rate of 10.3 Gbps, which is suitable for 10 Gigabit Ethernet. SR and LR represent the transmission distance of the SFP 10g module.

SFP-10G-SR

SFP-10G-SR is designed for short-distance transmission, typically up to 300 meters over multimode fiber. Using 850 nm wavelength laser and LC bidirectional connector, it is easy to plug and install. The module supports hot-swappable function, which can be safely replaced while the device is running, with stable performance and reliability. In data center networks, SFP-10G-SR is often used for connections between servers to support high-speed data transmission. It is also suitable for enterprise network environments, especially in scenarios with high network performance requirements.

SFP-10G-LR

The SFP-10G-LR is specifically engineered for medium to long-distance transmissions, typically spanning 10 to 40 kilometers over single-mode fiber. Boasting a 1310nm wavelength laser and an LC bidirectional connector, it facilitates effortless and smooth installation. The compatibility of SFP-10G-LR with single-mode optical fiber makes it an ideal solution for fulfilling communication needs in medium to long-distance scenarios, including establishing connections between remote offices. Furthermore, it proves well-suited for constructing network backbones, enabling high-speed data transmission among diverse network devices.

Differences Between SFP-10G-SR and SFP-10G-LR

Transmission Distance: The primary distinction lies in their coverage range, with SFP-10G-SR for short distances and SFP-10G-LR for longer ones.

Fiber Compatibility: SFP-10G-SR works with multimode fiber, while SFP-10G-LR requires single-mode fiber.

Use Cases: SFP-10G-SR is optimal for intra-building connections, while SFP-10G-LR is suitable for inter-building or even metropolitan-area connections.

Wavelength: The SFP-10G-SR uses a laser with a wavelength of 850 nanometers, while the SFP-10G-LR uses a laser with a wavelength of 1310 nanometers.

How to Choose the Right Module

After understanding the difference between SFP-10G-SR and SFP-10G-LR, we will start from typical application scenarios, combining them with your network requirements, to provide guidance on selecting the appropriate SFP 10G optical module for you.

Data Center

When linking servers, storage devices, or network components within the data center, opt for SFP-10G-SR for short-distance connections like in-rack setups. For cross-rack connectivity, SFP-10G-LR is the best choice.

Intra-Enterprise Network

Establishing high-speed connections within the enterprise, such as inter-floor or inter-department links, demands tailored choices. For shorter intra-floor connections, select SFP-10G-SR. Opt for SFP-10G-LR when spanning different floors.

Remote Office/Branch Office

For network connections linking remote or branch offices with the headquarters, SFP-10G-LR is the preferred module due to its suitability for longer distances, ensuring coverage for remote locations.

Inter-City Data Transmission

When establishing high-speed data connections between cities, the preferred choice is SFP-10G-LR, thanks to its compatibility with longer fiber distances, addressing the needs of inter-city connections.

Budget Constraints

If facing budget limitations and the connection distance permits, SFP-10G-SR is generally the more economical option.

Unlocking the Potential of the SFP 10g module with FS Products

The burgeoning era of digitization has spurred a growing demand for optical modules across various sectors, including enterprise networks, data centers, campus networks, and metropolitan area networks. Building on the diverse applications of optical modules, as a premier network solutions provider, FS.COM offers a diverse range of hot-swappable SFP 10G modules designed to maximize uptime and streamline serviceability. Equipped with Digital Optical Monitoring (DDM) capabilities, each unit is meticulously customized and coded for full-function compatibility. FS products undergo rigorous testing and verification to ensure the seamless and reliable operation of your network.

The following table sorts out the products of these two models (SFP-10G-SR and SFP-10G-LR) on the FS. You can choose the most suitable one according to your needs.

ModelSFP-10G-SRSFP-10G-LR
Data Rate (Max)10.3125Gbps10.3125Gbps
Wavelength850nm1310nm
Cable Distance (Max)300m@OM3400m@OM410km
ConnectorDuplex LCDuplex LC
Transmitter TypeVCSELDFB
Cable TypeMMFSMF
TX Power-7.3~-1dBm-8.2~0.5dBm
Receiver Sensitivity< -11.1dBm<-14.4dBm
Power Consumption<1W≤1W
Operating Temperature0 to 70°C (32 to 158°F)0 to 70°C (32 to 158°F)
Application RangeOnly used for short distance connectionsOnly used for long distance connections

Conclusion

In short, which product to choose ultimately depends on your network layout and connectivity needs. The above considerations can help you quickly select the right product to achieve the best performance in your specific network environment. If you would like to learn about other types of SFP 10g modules, you can visit the following resources for more information.

Related resource: Other models of SFP 10g modules

Data Center Layout

Data center layout design is a challenging task requiring expertise, time, and effort. However, the data center can accommodate in-house servers and many other IT equipment for years if done properly. When designing such a modest facility for your company or cloud-service providers, doing everything correctly is crucial.

As such, data center designers should develop a thorough data center layout. A data center layout comes in handy during construction as it outlines the best possible placement of physical hardware and other resources in the center.

What Is Included in a Data Center Floor Plan?

The floor plan is an important part of the data center layout. Well-designed floor plan boosts the data centers’ cooling performance, simplifies installation, and reduces energy needs. Unfortunately, most data center floor plans are designed through incremental deployment that doesn’t follow a central plan. A data center floor plan influences the following:

  • The power density of the data center
  • The complexity of power and cooling distribution networks
  • Achievable power density
  • Electrical power usage of the data center

Below are a few tips to consider when designing a data center floor plan:

Balance Density with Capacity

“The more, the better” isn’t an applicable phrase when designing a data center. You should remember the tradeoff between space and power in data centers and consider your options keenly. If you are thinking of a dense server, ensure that you have enough budget. Note that a dense server requires more power and advanced cooling infrastructure. Designing a good floor plan allows you to figure this out beforehand.

Consider Unique Layouts

There is no specific rule that you should use old floor layouts. Your floor design should be based on specific organizational needs. If your company is growing exponentially, your data center needs will keep changing too. As such, old layouts may not be applicable. Browse through multiple layouts and find one that perfectly suits your facility.

Think About the Future

A data center design should be based on specific organizational needs. Therefore, while you may not need to install or replace some equipment yet, you might have to do so after a few years due to changing facility needs. Simply put, your data center should accommodate company needs several years in the future. This will ease expansion.

Floor Planning Sequence

A floor or system planning sequence outlines the flow of activity that transforms the initial idea into an installation plan. The floor planning sequence involves the following five tasks:

Determining IT Parameters

The floor plan begins with a general idea that prompts the company to change or increase its IT capabilities. From the idea, the data center’s capacity, growth plan, and criticality are then determined. Note that these three factors are characteristics of the IT function component of the data center and not the physical infrastructure supporting it. Since the infrastructure is the ultimate outcome of the planning sequence, these parameters guide the development and dictate the data centers’ physical infrastructure requirements.

Developing System Concept

This step uses the IT parameters as a foundation to formulate the general concept of data center physical infrastructure. The main goal is to develop a reference design that embodies the desired capacity, criticality, and scalability that supports future growth plans. However, with the diverse nature of these parameters, more than a thousand physical infrastructure systems can be drawn. Designers should pick a few “good” designs from this library.

Determining User Requirements

User requirements should include organizational needs that are specific to the project. This phase should collect and evaluate organizational needs to determine if they are valid or need some adjustments to avoid problems and reduce costs. User requirements can include key features, prevailing IT constraints, logistical constraints, target capacity, etc.

Generating Specifications

This step takes user requirements and translates them into detailed data center design. Specifications provide a baseline for rules that should be followed in the last step, creating a detailed design. Specifications can be:

  • Standard specifications – these don’t vary from one project to another. They include regulatory compliance, workmanship, best practices, safety, etc.
  • User specifications – define user-specific details of the project.

Generating a Detailed Design

This is the last step of the floor planning sequence that highlights:

  • A detailed list of the components
  • Exact floor plan with racks, including power and cooling systems
  • Clear installation instructions
  • Project schedule

If the complete specifications are clear enough and robust, a detailed design can be automatically drawn. However, this requires input from professional engineers.

Principles of Equipment Layout

Datacenter infrastructure is the core of the entire IT architecture. Unfortunately, despite this importance, more than 70% of network downtime stems from physical layer problems, particularly cabling. Planning an effective data center infrastructure is crucial to the data center’s performance, scalability, and resiliency.

Nonetheless, keep the following principles in mind when designing equipment layout.

Control Airflow Using Hot-aisle/Cold-aisle Rack Layout

The principle of controlling airflow using a hot-aisle/cold-aisle rack layout is well defined in various documents, including the ASHRAE TC9.9 Mission Critical Facilities. This principle aims to maximize the separation of IT equipment exhaust air and fresh intake air by placing cold aisles where intakes are present and hot aisles where exhaust air is released. This reduces the amount of hot air drawn through the equipment’s air intake. Doing this allows data centers to achieve power densities of up to 100%.

Provide Safe and Convenient Access Ways

Besides being a legal requirement, providing safe and convenient access ways around data center equipment is common sense. The effectiveness of a data center depends on how row layouts can double up as aisles and access ways. Therefore, designers should factor in the impact of column locations. A column can take up three or more rack locations if it falls within the row of racks. This can obstruct the aisle and lead to the complete elimination of the row.

Align Equipment With Floor and Ceiling Tile Systems

Floor and ceiling tiling systems also play a role in air distribution systems. The floor grille should align with racks, especially in data centers with raised floor plans. Misaligning floor grids and racks can compromise airflow significantly.

You should also align the ceiling tile grid to the floor grid. As such, you shouldn’t design or install the floor until the equipment layout has been established.

data center

Plan the Layout in Advance

The first stages of deploying data center equipment heavily determine subsequent stages and final equipment installation. Therefore, it is better to plan the entire data center floor layout beforehand.

How to Plan a Server Rack Installation

Server racks should be designed to allow easy and secure access to IT servers and networking devices. Whether you are installing new server racks or thinking of expanding, consider the following:

Rack Location

When choosing a rack for your data center, you should consider its location in the room. It should also leave enough space in the sides, front, rear, and top for easy access and airflow. As a rule of thumb, a server rack should occupy at least six standard floor tiles. Don’t install server racks and cabinets below or close to air conditioners to protect them from water damage in case of leakage.

Rack Layout

Rack density should be considered when determining the rack layout. More free space within server racks allows for more airflow. As such, you can leave enough vertical space between servers and IT devices to boost cooling. Since hot air rises, place heat-sensitive devices, such as UPS batteries, at the bottom of server racks, heavy devices should also be placed at the bottom.

Cable Layout

Well-planned rack layout is more than a work of art. Similarly, an excellent cable layout should leverage cable labeling and management techniques to ease the identification of power and network cables. Cables should have markings at both ends for easy identification. Avoid marking them in the middle. Your cable management system should also have provisions for future additions or removal.

Conclusion

Designing a data center layout is challenging for both small and established IT facilities. Building or upgrading data centers is often perceived to be intimidating and difficult. However, developing a detailed data center layout can ease everything. Remember that small changes in the plan during installation lead to costly consequences downstream.

Article Source: Data Center Layout

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Data Center Containment: Types, Benefits & Challenges

Over the past decade, data center containment has experienced a high rate of implementation by many data centers. It can greatly improve the predictability and efficiency of traditional data center cooling systems. This article will elaborate on what data center containment is, common types of it, and their benefits and challenges.

What Is Data Center Containment?

Data center containment is the separation of cold supply air from the hot exhaust air from IT equipment so as to reduce operating cost, optimize power usage effectiveness, and increase cooling capacity. Containment systems enable uniform and stable supply air temperature to the intake of IT equipment and a warmer, drier return air to cooling infrastructure.

Types of Data Center Containment

There are mainly two types of data center containment, hot aisle containment and cold aisle containment.

Hot aisle containment encloses warm exhaust air from IT equipment in data center racks and returns it back to cooling infrastructure. The air from the enclosed hot aisle is returned to cooling equipment via a ceiling plenum or duct work, and then the conditioned air enters the data center via raised floor, computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units, or duct work.

Hot aisle containment

Cold aisle containment encloses cold aisles where cold supply air is delivered to cool IT equipment. So the rest of the data center becomes a hot-air return plenum where the temperature can be high. Physical barriers such as solid metal panels, plastic curtains, or glass are used to allow for proper airflow through cold aisles.

Cold aisle containment

Hot Aisle vs. Cold Aisle

There are mixed views on whether it’s better to contain the hot aisle or the cold aisle. Both containment strategies have their own benefits as well as challenges.

Hot aisle containment benefits

  • The open areas of the data center are cool, so that visitors to the room will not think the IT equipment is not being cooled sufficiently. In addition, it allows for some low density areas to be un-contained if desired.
  • It is generally considered to be more effective. Any leakages that come from raised floor openings in the larger part of the room go into the cold space.
  • With hot aisle containment, low-density network racks and stand-alone equipment like storage cabinets can be situated outside the containment system, and they will not get too hot, because they are able to stay in the lower temperature open areas of the data center.
  • Hot aisle containment typically adjoins the ceiling where fire suppression is installed. With a well-designed space, it will not affect normal operation of a standard grid fire suppression system.

Hot aisle containment challenges

  • It is generally more expensive. A contained path is needed for air to flow from the hot aisle all the way to cooling units. Often a drop ceiling is used as return air plenum.
  • High temperatures in the hot aisle can be undesirable for data center technicians. When they need to access IT equipment and infrastructure, a contained hot aisle can be a very uncomfortable place to work. But this problem can be mitigated using temporary local cooling.

Cold aisle containment benefits

  • It is easy to implement without the need for additional architecture to contain and return exhaust air such as a drop ceiling or air plenum.
  • Cold aisle containment is less expensive to install as it only requires doors at ends of aisles and baffles or roof over the aisle.
  • Cold aisle containment is typically easier to retrofit in an existing data center. This is particularly true for data centers that have overhead obstructions such as existing duct work, lighting and power, and network distribution.

Cold aisle containment challenges

  • When utilizing a cold aisle system, the rest of the data center becomes hot, resulting in high return air temperatures. It also may create operational issues if any non-contained equipment such as low-density storage is installed in the general data center space.
  • The conditioned air that leaks from the openings under equipment like PDUs and raised floor tend to enter air paths that return to cooling units. This reduces the efficiency of the system.
  • In many cases, cold aisles have intermediate ceilings over the aisle. This may affect the overall fire protection and lighting design, especially when added to an existing data center.

How to Choose the Best Containment Option?

Every data center is unique. To find the most suitable option, you have to take into account a number of aspects. The first thing is to evaluate your site and calculate the Cooling Capacity Factor (CCF) of the computer room. Then observe the unique layout and architecture of each computer room to discover conditions that make hot aisle or cold aisle containment preferable. With adequate information and careful consideration, you will be able to choose the best containment option for your data center.

Article Source: Data Center Containment: Types, Benefits & Challenges

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The Chip Shortage: Current Challenges, Predictions, and Potential Solutions

The COVID-19 pandemic caused several companies to shut down, and the implications were reduced production and altered supply chains. In the tech world, where silicon microchips are the heart of everything electronic, raw material shortage became a barrier to new product creation and development.

During the lockdown periods, some essential workers were required to stay home, which meant chip manufacturing was unavailable for several months. By the time lockdown was lifted and the world embraced the new normal, the rising demand for consumer and business electronics was enough to ripple up the supply chain.

Below, we’ve discussed the challenges associated with the current chip shortage, what to expect moving forward, and the possible interventions necessary to overcome the supply chain constraints.

Challenges Caused by the Current Chip Shortage

As technology and rapid innovation sweeps across industries, semiconductor chips have become an essential part of manufacturing – from devices like switches, wireless routers, computers, and automobiles to basic home appliances.

devices

To understand and quantify the impact this chip shortage has caused spanning the industry, we’ll need to look at some of the most affected sectors. Here’s a quick breakdown of how things have unfolded over the last eighteen months.

Automobile Industry

in North America and Europe had slowed or stopped production due to a lack of computer chips. Major automakers like Tesla, Ford, BMW, and General Motors have all been affected. The major implication is that the global automobile industry will manufacture 4 million fewer cars by the end of 2021 than earlier planned, and it will forfeit an average of $110 billion in revenue.

Consumer Electronics

Consumer electronics such as desktop PCs and smartphones rose in demand throughout the pandemic, thanks to the shift to virtual learning among students and the rise in remote working. At the start of the pandemic, several automakers slashed their vehicle production forecasts before abandoning open semiconductor chip orders. And while the consumer electronics industry stepped in and scooped most of those microchips, the supply couldn’t catch up with the demand.

Data Centers

Most chip fabrication companies like Samsung Foundries, Global Foundries, and TSMC prioritized high-margin orders from PC and data center customers during the pandemic. And while this has given data centers a competitive edge, it isn’t to say that data centers haven’t been affected by the global chip shortage.

data center

Some of the components data centers have struggled to source include those needed to put together their data center switching systems. These include BMC chips, capacitors, resistors, circuit boards, etc. Another challenge is the extended lead times due to wafer and substrate shortages, as well as reduced assembly capacity.

LED Lighting

LED backlights common in most display screens are powered by hard-to-find semiconductor chips. The prices of gadgets with LED lighting features are now highly-priced due to the shortage of raw materials and increased market demand. This is expected to continue up to the beginning of 2022.

Renewable Energy- Solar and Turbines

Renewable energy systems, particularly solar and turbines, rely on semiconductors and sensors to operate. The global supply chain constraints have hurt the industry and even forced some energy solutions manufacturers like Enphase Energy to

Semiconductor Trends: What to Expect Moving Forward

In response to the global chip shortage, several component manufacturers have ramped up production to help mitigate the shortages. However, top electronics and semiconductor manufacturers say the crunch will only worsen before it gets better. Most of these industry leaders speculate that the semiconductor shortage could persist into 2023.

Based on the ongoing disruption and supply chain volatility, various analysts in a recent CNBC article and Bloomberg interview echoed their views, and many are convinced that the coming year will be challenging. Here are some of the key takeaways:

Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel Corp., noted in April 2021 that the chip shortage would recover after a couple of years.

DigiTimes Report found that Intel and AMD server ICs and data centers have seen their lead times extend to 45 to 66 weeks.

The world’s third-largest EMS and OEM provider, Flex Ltd., expects the global semiconductor shortage to proceed into 2023.

In May 2021, Global Foundries, the fourth-largest contract semiconductor manufacturer, signed a $1.6 billion, 3-year silicon supply deal with AMD, and in late June, it launched its new $4 billion, 300mm-wafer facility in Singapore. Yet, the company says its production capacity will only increase component production earliest in 2023.

TMSC, one of the leading pure-play foundries in the industry, says it won’t meaningfully increase the component output until 2023. However, it’s optimistic that the company will ramp up the fabrication of automotive micro-controllers by 60% by the end of 2021.

From the industry insights above, it’s evident that despite the many efforts that major players put into resolving the global chip shortage, the bottlenecks will probably persist throughout 2022.

Additionally, some industry observers believe that the move by big tech companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google to design their own chips for cloud and data center business could worsen the chip shortage crisis and other problems facing the semiconductor industry.

article, the authors hint that the entry of Microsoft, Amazon, and Google into the chip design market will be a turning point in the industry. These tech giants have the resources to design superior and cost-effective chips of their own, something most chip designers like Intel have in limited proportions.

Since these tech giants will become independent, each will be looking to create component stockpiles to endure long waits and meet production demands between inventory refreshes. Again, this will further worsen the existing chip shortage.

Possible Solutions

To stay ahead of the game, major industry players such as chip designers and manufacturers and the many affected industries have taken several steps to mitigate the impacts of the chip shortage.

For many chip makers, expanding their production capacity has been an obvious response. Other suppliers in certain regions decided to stockpile and limit exports to better respond to market volatility and political pressures.

Similarly, improving the yields or increasing the number of chips manufactured from a silicon wafer is an area that many manufacturers have invested in to boost chip supply by some given margin.

chip manufacturing

Here are the other possible solutions that companies have had to adopt:

Embracing flexibility to accommodate older chip technologies that may not be “state of the art” but are still better than nothing.

Leveraging software solutions such as smart compression and compilation to build efficient AI models to help unlock hardware capabilities.

LED Lighting

The latest global chip shortage has led to severe shocks in the semiconductor supply chain, affecting several industries from automobile, consumer electronics, data centers, LED, and renewables.

Industry thought leaders believe that shortages will persist into 2023 despite the current build-up in mitigation measures. And while full recovery will not be witnessed any time soon, some chip makers are optimistic that they will ramp up fabrication to contain the demand among their automotive customers.

That said, staying ahead of the game is an all-time struggle considering this is an issue affecting every industry player, regardless of size or market position. Expanding production capacity, accommodating older chip technologies, and leveraging software solutions to unlock hardware capabilities are some of the promising solutions.

Added

This article is being updated continuously. If you want to share any comments on FS switches, or if you are inclined to test and review our switches, please email us via media@fs.com or inform us on social media platforms. We cannot wait to hear more about your ideas on FS switches.

Article Source: The Chip Shortage: Current Challenges, Predictions, and Potential Solutions

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The Most Common Data Center Design Missteps

Introduction

Data center design is to provide IT equipment with a high-quality, standard, safe, and reliable operating environment, fully meeting the environmental requirements for stable and reliable operation of IT devices and prolonging the service life of computer systems. Data center design is the most important part of data center construction directly relating to the success or failure of data center long term planning, so its design should be professional, advanced, integral, flexible, safe, reliable, and practical.

9 Missteps in Data Center Design

Data center design is one of the effective solutions to overcrowded or outdated data centers, while inappropriate design results in obstacles for growing enterprises. Poor planning can lead to a waste of valuable funds and more issues, increasing operating expenses. Here are 9 mistakes to be aware of when designing a data center.

Miscalculation of Total Cost

Data center operation expense is made up of two key components: maintenance costs and operating costs. Maintenance costs refer to the costs associated with maintaining all critical facility support infrastructure, such as OEM equipment maintenance contracts, data center cleaning fees, etc. Operating costs refer to costs associated with day-to-day operations and field personnel, such as the creation of site-specific operational documentation, capacity management, and QA/QC policies and procedures. If you plan to build or expand a business-critical data center, the best approach is to focus on three basic parameters: capital expenditures, operating and maintenance expenses, and energy costs. Taking any component out of the equation, you might face the case that the model does not properly align an organization’s risk profile and business spending profile.

Unspecified Planning and Infrastructure Assessment

Infrastructure assessment and clear planning are essential processes for data center construction. For example, every construction project needs to have a chain of command that clearly defines areas of responsibility and who is responsible for aspects of data center design. Those who are involved need to evaluate the potential applications of the data center infrastructure and what types of connectivity requirements they need. In general, planning involves a rack-by-rack blueprint, including network connectivity and mobile devices, power requirements, system topology, cooling facilities, virtual local and on-premises networks, third-party applications, and operational systems. For the importance of data center design, you should have a thorough understanding of the functionality before it begins. Otherwise, you’ll fall short and cost more money to maintain.

data center

Inappropriate Design Criteria

Two missteps can send enterprises into an overspending death spiral. First of all, everyone has different design ideas, but not everyone is right. Second, the actual business is mismatched with the desired vision and does not support the setting of kilowatts per square foot or rack. Over planning in design is a waste of capital. Higher-level facilities also result in higher operational and energy costs. A data center designer establishes the proper design criteria and performance characteristics and then builds capital expenditure and operating expenses around it.

Unsuitable Data Center Site

Enterprises often need to find a perfect building location when designing a data center. If you don’t get some site-critical information, it will lead to some cases. Large users are well aware of the data center and have concerns about power availability and cost, fiber optics, and irresistible factors. Baseline users often have business model shells in their core business areas that decide whether they need to build or refurbish. Hence, premature site selection or unreasonable geographic location will fail to meet the design requirements.

Pre-design Space Planning

It is also very important to plan the space capacity inside the data center. The raised floor to support ratio can be as high as 1 to 1, while the mechanical and electrical equipment needs enough space to accommodate. In addition, the planning of office and IT equipment storage areas also needed to be considered. Therefore, it is very critical to estimate and plan the space capacity during data center design. Estimation errors can make the design of a data center unsuitable for the site space, which means suspending project re-evaluation and possibly repurchasing components.

Mismatched Business Goals

Enterprises need to clearly understand their business goals when debugging a data center so that they can complete the data center design. After meeting the business goals, something should be considered, such as which specific applications the data center supports, additional computing power, and later business expansion. Additionally, enterprises need to communicate these goals to data center architects, engineers, and builders to ensure that the overall design meets business needs.

Design Limitations

The importance of modular design is well-publicized in the data center industry. Although the modular approach refers to adding extra infrastructure in an immediate mode to preserve capital, it doesn’t guarantee complete success. Modular and flexible design is the key to long-term stable operation, also meets your data center plans. On the power system, you have to take note of adding UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) capacity to existing modules without system disruption. Input and output distribution system design shouldn’t be overlooked, it can allow the data center to adapt to any future changes in the underlying construction standards.

Improper Data Center Power Equipment

To design a data center to maximize equipment uptime and reduce power consumption, you must choose the right power equipment based on the projected capacity. Typically, you might use redundant computing to predict triple server usage to ensure adequate power, which is a waste. Long-term power consumption trends are what you need to consider. Install automatic power-on generators and backup power sources, and choose equipment that can provide enough power to support the data center without waste.

Over-complicated Design

In many cases, redundant targets introduce some complexity. If you add multiple ways to build a modular system, things can quickly get complicated. The over-complexity of data center design means more equipment and components, and these components are the source of failure, which can cause problems such as:

  • Human error. Data statistics errors lead to system data vulnerability and increase operational risks.
  • Expensive. In addition to equipment and components, the maintenance of components failure also incurs more charges.
  • Design concept. If maintainability wasn’t considered by the data center design when the IT team has the requirements of operating or servicing, system operational normality even human security get impacts.

Conclusion

Avoid the nine missteps above to find design solutions for data center IT infrastructure and build a data center that suits your business. Data center design missteps have some impacts on enterprises, such as business expansion, infrastructure maintenance, and security risks. Hence, all infrastructure facilities and data center standards must be rigorously estimated during data center design to ensure long-term stable operation within a reasonable budget.

Article Source: The Most Common Data Center Design Missteps

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Impact of Chip Shortage on Datacenter Industry

As the global chip shortage let rip, many chip manufacturers have to slow or even halt semiconductor production. Makers of all kinds of electronics such as switches, PCs, servers are all scrambling to get enough chips in the pipeline to match the surging demand for their products. Every manufacturer, supplier and solution provider in datacenter industry is feeling the impact of the ongoing chip scarcity. However, relief is nowhere in sight yet.

What’s Happening?

Due to the rise of AI and cloud computing, datacenter chips have been a highly charged topic in recent times. As networking switches and modern servers, indispensable equipment in datacenter applications, use more advanced components than an average consumer’s PC, naturally when it comes to chip manufacturers and suppliers, data centers are given the top priority. However, with the demand for data center machines far outstripping supply, chip shortages may continue to be pervasive across the next few years. Coupled with economic uncertainties caused by the pandemic, it further puts stress on datacenter management.

According to a report from the Dell’Oro Group, robust datacenter switch sales over the past year could foretell a looming shortage. As the mismatch in supply and demand keeps growing, enterprises looking to buy datacenter switches face extended lead times and elevated costs over the course of the next year.

“So supply is decreasing and demand is increasing,” said Sameh Boujelbene, leader of the analyst firm’s campus and data-center research team. “There’s a belief that things will get worse in the second half of the year, but no consensus on when it’ll start getting better.”

Back in March, Broadcom said that more than 90% of its total chip output for 2021 had already been ordered by customers, who are pressuring it for chips to meet booming demand for servers used in cloud data centers and consumer electronics such as 5G phones.

“We intend to meet such demand, and in doing so, we will maintain our disciplined process of carefully reviewing our backlog, identifying real end-user demand, and delivering products accordingly,” CEO Hock Tan said on a conference call with investors and analysts.

Major Implications

Extended Lead Times

Arista Networks, one of the largest data center networking switch vendors and a supplier of switches to cloud providers, foretells that switch-silicon lead times will be extended to as long as 52 weeks.

“The supply chain has never been so constrained in Arista history,” the company’s CEO, Jayshree Ullal, said on an earnings call. “To put this in perspective, we now have to plan for many components with 52-week lead time. COVID has resulted in substrate and wafer shortages and reduced assembly capacity. Our contract manufacturers have experienced significant volatility due to country specific COVID orders. Naturally, we’re working more closely with our strategic suppliers to improve planning and delivery.”

Hock Tan, CEO of Broadcom, also acknowledged on an earnings call that the company had “started extending lead times.” He said, “part of the problem was that customers were now ordering more chips and demanding them faster than usual, hoping to buffer against the supply chain issues.”

Elevated Cost

Vertiv, one of the biggest sellers of datacenter power and cooling equipment, mentioned it had to delay previously planned “footprint optimization programs” due to strained supply. The company’s CEO, Robert Johnson, said on an earnings call, “We have decided to delay some of those programs.”

Supply chain constraints combined with inflation would cause “some incremental unexpected costs over the short term,” he said, “To share the cost with our customers where possible may be part of the solution.”

“Prices are definitely going to be higher for a lot of devices that require a semiconductor,” says David Yoffie, a Harvard Business School professor who spent almost three decades serving on the board of Intel.

Conclusion

There is no telling that how the situation will continue playing out and, most importantly, when supply and demand might get back to normal. Opinions vary on when the shortage will end. The CEO of chipmaker STMicro estimated that the shortage will end by early 2023. Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger said it could last two more years.

As a high-tech network solutions and services provider, FS has been actively working with our customers to help them plan for, adapt to, and overcome the supply chain challenges, hoping that we can both ride out this chip shortage crisis. At least, we cannot lose hope, as advised by Bill Wyckoff, vice president at technology equipment provider SHI International, “This is not an ‘all is lost’ situation. There are ways and means to keep your equipment procurement and refresh plans on track if you work with the right partners.”

Article Source: Impact of Chip Shortage on Datacenter Industry

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Data Center White Space and Gray Space

Nowadays, with the advent of the 5G era and the advancement of technology, more and more enterprises rely on IT for almost any choice. Therefore, their demand for better data center services has increased dramatically.

However, due to the higher capital and operating costs caused by the cluttered distribution of equipment in data centers, the space has become one of the biggest factors restricting data centers. In order to solve that problem, it’s necessary to optimize the utilization of existing space, for example, to consolidate white space and gray space in data centers.

What is data center white space?

Data center white space refers to the space where IT equipment and infrastructure are located. It includes servers, storage, network gear, racks, air conditioning units, power distribution systems.

White space is usually measured in square feet, ranging anywhere from a few hundred to a hundred thousand square feet. It can be either raised floor or hard floor (solid floor). Raised floors are developed to provide locations for power cabling, tracks for data cabling, cold air distribution systems for IT equipment cooling, etc. It can have access to all elements easily. Different from raised floors, cooling and cabling systems for hard floors are installed overhead. Today, there is a trend from raised floors to hard floors.

Typically, the white space area is the only productive area where an enterprise can utilize the data center space. Moreover, online activities like working from home have increased rapidly in recent years, especially due to the impact of COVID-19, which has increased business demand for data center white space. Therefore, the enterprise has to design data center white space with care.data center white space

What is data center gray space?

Different from data center white space, data center gray space refers to the space where back-end equipment is located. This includes switchgear, UPS, transformers, chillers, and generators.

The existence of gray space is to support the white space, therefore the amount of gray space in equipment is determined by the space assigned for data center white space. The more white space is needed, the more backend infrastructure is required to support it.data center gray space

How to improve the efficiency of space?

Building more data centers and consuming more energy is not a good option for IT organizations to make use of data center space. To increase data center sustainability and reduce energy costs, it’s necessary to use some strategies to combine data center white space and gray space, thus optimizing the efficiency of data center space.

White Space Efficiency Strategies

  • Virtualized technology: The technology of virtualization can integrate many virtual machines into physical machines, reducing physical hardware and saving lots of data center space. Virtualization management systems such as VMware and Hyper V can create a virtualized environment.
  • Cloud computing resources: With the help of the public cloud, enterprises can transfer data through the public internet, thus reducing their needs for physical servers and other IT infrastructure.
  • Data center planning: DCIM software, a kind of data center infrastructure management tool, can help estimate current and future power and server needs. It can also help data centers track and manage resources and optimize their size to save more space.
  • Monitor power and cooling capacity: In addition to the capacity planning about space, monitoring power, and cooling capacity is also necessary to properly configure equipment.

Gray Space Efficiency Strategies

  • State-of-art technologies: Technologies like flywheels can increase the power of the machine, reducing the number of batteries required for the power supply. Besides, the use of solar panels can reduce data center electricity bills. And water cooling can also help reduce the costs of cooling solutions.

Compared with white space efficiency techniques, grace space efficiency strategies are pretty less. However, the most efficient plan is to combine data center white space with gray space. By doing so, enterprises can realize the optimal utilization of data center space.

Article Source: Data Center White Space and Gray Space

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