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Virtual models point way to datacentre efficiencies

Arif Mohamed

Datacentre provider Liebert is using 3D imaging software to help its clients, which include several large financial institutions, improve the efficiency of their datacentres.

The 6SigmaDC software from Future Facilities creates a 3D virtual model of a datacentre and uses thermal imaging to show where heat is dissipating within the server room.  This information can then be used to calculate the most energy efficient way to cool the datacentre.

Liebert’s users, which include the International Banking and Financial Services Organisation and US Internet, can manipulate the models to discover how altering elements such as room dimensions, floor void depth, rack layout, air handling and cooling units will affect how much energy is consumed.

Liebert piloted the 6SigmaDC software in November 2006 and began offering the 3D thermal imaging service to its customers from March this year. It has agreed to collaborate with Future Facilities to fine-tune the software over time.

Fred Stack, vice-president of marketing at Liebert, said the software would help the company’s users plan their datacentre designs better and monitor their facilities while they were operational.

“Proper planning for power and cooling needs is the number one issue facing today’s datacentre managers,” he said. “Most people are not aware of how far their datacentre has drifted from the best practice they had when they implemented it.

"In general, under-the-floor cabling becomes confusing, and datacentre managers can be surprised at the impact of heat leaks in the datacentre caused by how they have managed their cable cut-outs.”

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