As the energy footprint of data centers continues to increase, models that allow for “what-if” simulations of different data center design and management paradigms will be important. Prior work by the authors has described a multi-scale energy efficiency model that allows for evaluating the coefficient of performance of the data center ensemble (COPGrand), and demonstrated the utility of such a model for purposes of choosing operational set-points and evaluating design trade-offs. However, experimental validation of these models poses a challenge because of the complexity involved with tailoring such a model for implementation to legacy data centers, with shared infrastructure and limited control over IT workload. Further, test facilities with dummy heat loads or artificial racks in lieu of IT equipment generally have limited utility in validating end-to-end models owing to the inability of such loads to mimic phenomena such as fan scalability, etc. In this work, we describe the experimental analysis conducted in a special test chamber and data center facility. The chamber, focusing on system level effects, is loaded with an actual IT rack, and a compressor delivers chilled air to the chamber at a preset temperature. By varying the load in the IT rack as well as the air delivery parameters — such as flow rate, supply temperature, etc. — a setup which simulates the system level of a data center is created. Experimental tests within a live data center facility are also conducted where the operating conditions of the cooling infrastructure are monitored — such as fluid temperatures, flow rates, etc. — and can be analyzed to determine effects such as air flow recirculation, heat exchanger performance, etc. Using the experimental data a multi-scale model configuration emulating the data center can be defined. We compare the results from such experimental analysis to a multi-scale energy efficiency model of the data center, and discuss the accuracies as well as inaccuracies within such a model. Difficulties encountered in the experimental work are discussed. The paper concludes by discussing areas for improvement in such modeling and experimental evaluation. Further validation of the complete multi-scale data center energy model is planned.

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