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Zurich East datacentre switches on direct current power

Cliff Saran

A European datacentre is using direct current (DC) to power HP servers, improving energy efficiency by 10% compared to alternating current (AC).

Datacentre operator Green's Zurich-West datacentre (pictured) uses high voltage DC (HVDC) HP servers. Green claims it is the most powerful application of DC in a datacentre

Performance tests showed the Zurich-West datacentre's power distribution system is 10% more efficient than for comparable AC technology. 

Investment costs for the system were 15% lower than for an AC system, Green said.

Power and automation specialist ABB – which installed the one megawatt DC power distribution system – said DC systems are simpler than AC systems. DC systems use fewer power conversions, which means the power units take up 25% less space, equipment, installation and maintenance costs, the company said.

Tarak Mehta, head of ABB's Low Voltage Products division, said: "Zurich West will serve as a global showcase to demonstrate DC as a complementary technology in datacentres, as it enhances reliability while minimising footprint, installation and maintenance costs."

When fully operational, the 380V DC power system will result in a 20% saving in power consumption and cooling, ABB said.

The datacentre uses HVDC-enabled IT provided by HP. The DC-powered equipment includes HP DL385 servers, HP X1800 G2 Network Storage System and HP BladeSystem c3000. 

These systems represent the beginning of HP's strategy to support high-voltage DC enterprise IT.

Ron Noblett, vice-president of infrastructure and storage at HP, said: "At the heart of HP's converged infrastructure strategy is our commitment to develop energy-saving technologies that can lower datacentre capital costs, as well as ongoing operations' costs and complexity."


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