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Powering the cloud data centre

Powering the cloud data centre

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At the heart of a data centre is its power supply. The importance of this function cannot be underestimated as it helps to ensure the facility – and its associated work – runs smoothly and efficiently. Here, Huawei’s regional team outline three trends currently impacting the power supply and distribution systems of data centres in the cloud era.

As the power heart of a data centre, the power supply and distribution system is critical. With the development of data centres, especially given the increase in the scale of data centre servers and power density in the cloud era, new requirements are posted on the power supply and distribution system. The system has shown new trends such as better design and intelligent management. The power supply and distribution system of the data centre in the cloud era has the following three trends:

Trend 1: Integrated design for power supply and distribution system and full link monitoring

The power density of a large data centre is high. As a result, the power supply and distribution capacity tends to be larger. A 3000 m2 data centre requires 1.5 MW power supply and distribution. Uninterruptible power systems (UPSs) need to be connected in parallel to meet the requirement. However, it’s complex for the power supply and distribution of the parallel system, which occupies too large of a footprint and increases the difficulty of construction because of too many cabinets and cables.

For example, a parallel system of three UPS’ requires 14 groups of cables to be connected and the installation takes about 120 manual hours. In addition, the power distribution system, UPS and battery monitoring are separated. When a fault occurs on the power supply link, multiple alarms are generated. As a result, an alarm storm occurs and fault locating is difficult. Some major risks cannot be proactively isolated, incurring potential risks.

The integrated design solution for power supply and distribution system:

• Integrates the UPS input and output cabinets with the UPS
• Simplifies power configuration, reducing footprint and installation time
• Monitors the full power supply and distribution link, enabling quickly fault locating for higher reliability

Trend 2: Modular design for higher O&M efficiency

The maximum efficiency of both the high-frequency tower UPS and the modular UPS can reach 96% at above 50% load. However, the UPS load rate is about 20%-40% in common working conditions. The efficiency of high-frequency tower UPS can be only 94%-95% under common working conditions. However, the efficiency of modular UPS can be up to 96%, because the mainstream modular UPS provides the module hibernation feature, which enables a certain number of modules to be hibernated (manual or automatic) with certain system redundancy retained. This allows the UPS to work with high efficiency (around the highest efficiency point of 96%).

In addition, for the high-frequency tower UPS, capacity expansion is difficult, O&M is complex and maintenance skill requirements are high. The risk of misoperations by technical personnel of the data centre increases greatly. When a fault occurs, the fault cannot be rectified quickly even if spare parts are available and the system must be maintained by the after-sales personnel of the original manufacturer. As a result, the system recovery period is long, which increases the risk of service interruption.

The modular UPS supports online hot swap which adapts to dynamic service development. The maintenance time is shortened to five minutes, which greatly reduces the risk of service interruption caused by power supply problems. The higher reliability of modular UPS can meet the simple O&M requirements of a data centre. A traditional UPS is also incomparable to a modular UPS in terms of efficiency, maintainability and scalability.

Trend 3: UPS with lithium batteries becomes a new choice for data centres

The battery is a key component of the power supply and distribution system. As the final guarantee of power supply, the status of the battery directly affects the normal operation of the power supply and distribution system. In the UPS field, the proportion of lead-acid batteries is high. However, lead-acid batteries have a short service life, poor reliability, low energy density and a large footprint. Therefore, the reliability, availability and flexibility of the UPS solution are greatly reduced.

Compared with lead-acid batteries, lithium batteries have the following advantages:

• Less or even no battery replacement is required in the battery service life. This eliminates the risk of system breakdown caused by battery replacement.
• Under the same energy, the weight of a lithium battery is one-fourth that of a lead-acid battery
• The number of discharge times is more than five-times that of lead-acid batteries
• In multiple major power outage scenarios, the charging speed is increased by more than four times

The UPS solution that uses lithium batteries is becoming a new choice for customers due to the advantages of lithium batteries, the decrease in lithium battery prices and the increasing cost of lead-acid batteries.

Huawei launches the FusionPower integrated power supply and distribution solution to lead the new trends of UPS

Huawei FusionPower series UPS integrates the input and output cabinets and UPS. This simplifies power configuration and saves 40% footprint and 60% installation hours. The full-module redundancy design that eliminates single point of failure, together with a warning for the failure of key components, proactive tripping when the system is abnormal, and iPower intelligent management, ensures reliable system running and simplifies O&M.

The iPower visualises monitoring of the full power supply and distribution link accurately locates faults and provides fault waveform recording and analysis functions. It also checks the health status of vulnerable components such as fans, capacitors and batteries to identify potential faults in advance. The iPower intelligently detects the fan speed, predicts the capacitor lifespan, detects the internal resistance, temperature and voltage of batteries and analyses the state of capacity (SOC) and state of health (SOH) of batteries.

The iPower also provides the temperature monitoring function for nodes in the power distribution system to detect the copper bar temperature in real time and provides early warning to reduce fire risks.

In addition, Huawei FusionPower is used together with the Huawei SmartLi solution to increase data centre reliability. Compared with traditional lead-acid batteries, Huawei SmartLi batteries boast high reliability, long service life, small footprint and simple O&M.

Huawei SmartLi has the industry-unique active current equalisation technology and allows old and new battery cabinets to be used together. The circulating current of cabinets connected in parallel can be controlled to be less than 2%, significantly reducing CAPEX.

The SmartLi uses the safest cells, that is, lithium iron phosphate (LiFeP04) cells, modular design, and three-level battery management system (from cell to battery cabinet and then to parallel battery cabinet system) to ensure the reliability of the lithium battery.

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