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Case Studies

Future-tech wins University of Bath data centre design and build contract

Contract awarded to design and build a new high density data centre at the University of Bath. The purpose of the new data centre was to maintain Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity, along with centralising the departmental servers to gain higher energy efficiency.

THE BRIEF

Due to the relatively high IT load of 20kW per rack, the University initially envisaged an in-row cooling solution; however the tender they released left the design specification open. Innovation was key for them, along with having the most cutting edge solution available.

The area chosen for the new data centre had several constraints that affected the layout and final design solution.  These ranged from structural pillars throughout the room itself, research laboratories above the room, and a relatively small area for the external plant.

 

CHALLENGES AND CONSTRAINTS

The constraints which influenced the final design were, firstly the structural pillars within the room which seriously hampered the use of an in-row cooling system as this solution limited the design possibilities. The aisle containment required for this solution would have to be totally bespoke and detrimentally affecting both its manufacturing, time and price. Also another challenge faced was the limited number of cabinets that could be provided with an in-row solution.

The in-row solution could only populate a total of 24 cabinet’s final day, however, Future-tech used their initiative and produced a resulting solution that was energy efficient and above all innovative.

THE FUTURE-TECH SOLUTION

Part of the Future-tech design process is to look at each potential design solution and make a comparison between them, comparing their benefits and disadvantages. On this occasion Future-tech suggested that a rear door cooling solution would offer greater benefits, and better address the requirements of the tender. This also made it possible to populate a total of 35 cabinet’s final day and provide a better vision for expansion.

The project was carried out in two phases, this was to facilitate scalability and flexibility. At day one the IT load accommodated 300kVA however, on completion they reached a capacity of 510kVA.

To add greater resilience to Future-tech’s solution a negative pressure leak prevention system was added to the chilled water circuit. This system uses a venturi effect to suck water around the system rather than pump it, therefore, if a leak was to occur air would be sucked into the system rather than water coming out. Future-tech also proposed a sealed modular ceiling for the total area so the data centre would be safe from potential water leaks from the laboratory above.

The project was completed and with population well under way the University of Bath are very pleased with their new innovative facility.

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DAVID STUTCHFIELD, ENERGY OFFICER ST ANDREW’S

“Future-tech incorporated a plate heat exchanger in to the system that will enable us to heat some adjacent buildings with waste heat from the data centre“