The direct current approach helps eliminate costly power conversion
American power distribution specialist EDCS Power has helped create a data center installation that removes the need for large Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) banks, relying on DC power throughout.
The installation is located in a data center owned by Vaultas, a data center operator headquartered in Milwaukee. Instead of dedicated UPSs, the power is backed up using batteries at the server.
Direct current is used to power Facebook’s data centers, and a similar idea has been discussed at length by Microsoft as part of the Open Compute Project, but the Vaultas data center is one of the first small-scale facilities to adopt this technology.
“The importance of EDCS Power’s new power solution is that we enable anyone to have the same streamlined power path as the large hyperscale companies. Additionally we enable the use of low cost commodity compute so specialized hardware is not required,” explained John Meinecke, CEO of EDCS Power.
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The traditional power path takes AC from the utility provider, converts it to DC to charge the batteries, goes back to AC, and then back to DC down at the server.
Each power conversion is a cost, but an alternative exists: by making some changes to its infrastructure, a data center could use direct current across the entire system, and avoid having to go back to AC after the battery stack.
This approach requires an initial investment, since battery back-up systems needs to be placed next to or inside the server racks, but it simplifies the power path and eliminates electrical losses.
Milwaukee-based EDCS Power has been a vocal proponent of the alternative model. Mitch Nelson, vice president of Sales and Marketing at EDCS Power, previously told DCD that DC-only power distribution is currently in early adoption stages, but could become the new standard when the idea catches on.
To prove the benefits of this approach, EDCS helped refit a data center owned by Vaultas, an American disaster recovery specialist with facilities across the Upper Midwest.
“Of course energy saving technology is very welcome, but what EDCS Power has verified, allows some compelling new business flexibilities,” said John Unger, president of Vaultas.
“For example, this will positively impact PUE and enable offerings we’ve not been able to bring to market. We’re looking forward to presenting these energy savings benefits to cloud operators and continuing to expand on the successes of our cloud businesses”.