Although semiconductor manufacturers have provided temporary relief with lower-power multi-core microprocessors, OEMs and data center operators continue to push the limits for individual rack power densities. It is not uncommon today for data center operators to deploy multiple 20 kW racks in a facility. Such rack densities are exacerbating the major issues of power and cooling in data centers. Data center operators are now forced to take a hard look at the efficiencies of their data centers. Malone and Belady (2006) have proposed three metrics, i.e., Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), Data Center Efficiency (DCE), and the Energy-to-Acquisition Cost ratio (EAC), to help data center operators quickly quantify the efficiency of their data centers. In their paper, Malone and Belady present nominal values of PUE across a broad cross-section of data centers. PUE values are presented for data centers at four levels of optimization. One of these optimizations involves the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). In the current paper, CFD is used to conduct an in-depth investigation of a liquid-cooled data center that would potentially be housed at the Pacific Northwest National Labs (PNNL). The boundary conditions used in the CFD model are based upon actual measurements on a rack of liquid-cooled servers housed at PNNL. The analysis shows that the liquid-cooled facility could achieve a PUE of 1.57 as compared to a PUE of 3.0 for a typical data center (the lower the PUE, the better, with values below 1.6 approaching ideal). The increase in data center efficiency is also translated into an increase in the amount of IT equipment that can be deployed. At a PUE of 1.57, the analysis shows that 91% more IT equipment can be deployed as compared to the typical data center. The paper will discuss the analysis of the PUE, and will also explore the impact of the raising data center efficiency via the use of multiple cooling technologies and CFD analysis. Complete results of the analyses will be presented in the paper.

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