Switch Datacenters develops data center cooling system with pPUE of 1.04

by Brianna Crandall — January 20, 2017 — Switch Datacenters, a European data center operator providing build-to-suit corporate data centers and colocation services, announced last week the deployment of an in-house developed data center cooling system at its Amsterdam colocation facility, Switch AMS1, that will soon be available as part of its offerings. The new cooling solution is calculated for an ultra-low pPUE (partial power usage effectiveness metric) of 1.04 — designed to meet dynamic and demanding requirements from applications including online gaming, cloud computing and Internet of Things (IoT).

The patented data center cooling system deployed is an indirect adiabatic cooling technology featuring an innovative synthetic heat exchange component. With this technology implemented, each aisle has its own air socks connected to air handling units on the facility’s rooftop — 32 units in total — with a plenum in between. The deployment is part of a planned expansion of the Switch AMS1 facility in Amsterdam, offering an extended capacity of about 400 data center racks on the second floor of the building.

For its build-to-suit and hyperscale data center offerings, Switch Datacenters has also developed a highly modular thus easy scalable version of its newly developed indirect adiabatic cooling technology. Switch Datacenters expects this second product version to be ready for deployment in the first quarter (Q1) of 2017.

Indirect adiabatic cooling

Adiabatic cooling is the process of reducing heat through a change in air pressure caused by volume expansion. The way it is done varies, notes the company. Switch Datacenters’ rows of racks do not have the traditional cold-aisle setup. Instead, the data hall as a whole gets chilled while the air from the hot aisle is being circulated. The new data center cooling system is said to enhance the reliability of the company’s data centers in line with its current Tier 4 setup and make them even more efficient in terms of energy efficiency and operational costs.

Switch Datacenters’ new technology makes sure that warm, primary air from the equipment inside the racks is being circulated through air ducts in the synthetic heat exchanger. As the hygroscopic layer on the surface of the primary airside is kept moist, a second airflow (process air) going in the opposite direction evaporates the moisture from the hygroscopic layer. This evaporation process allows for a highly energy-efficient cooling of the equipment. While the cooled primary air is then guided to the cold aisles of the racks again, the process air gets emitted to the atmosphere.

pPUE = 1.04

According to Switch Datacenters’ research and development (R&D) engineering team, the newly developed cooling solution has a calculated pPUE (partial cooling Power Usage Effectiveness) of 1.04 – an extremely energy efficient figure.

Gregor Snip, CEO and founder of Switch Datacenters, commented:

To build a future-ready data center able to support high-demanding verticals including online gaming and market developments such as IoT and cloud computing, one has to think outside the box. If you want to be at the forefront of data center technology, like us, you have to be as innovative as the engineers of Facebook and Google alike. Just buying and implementing the vendor-developed cooling solutions available in the market won’t set you apart. Our indirect adiabatic cooling technology is comparable with Excool’s cooling innovation, implemented by companies like Digital Realty, Rackspace and VIRTUS, but ours is even more efficient, I can say.

Data center cooling specs

Switch Datacenters’ indirect adiabatic cooling technology would be able to accommodate diverging multi-tenancy requirements, says the company. Although the efficiency of the cooling solutions provides the best results when combined with hot/cold aisle containment, preferably in a hot-aisle setup as is the case with Switch Datacenters, it would also be possible to utilize it in combination with stand-alone racks.

Key features of Switch Datacenters’ newly developed and deployed data center cooling system:

  • Type: Indirect adiabatic cooling
  • Cooling capacity: 20-200 kilowatts (kW)
  • Redundancy: All cooling components are designed for N+1 setup
  • Efficiency: Reduction of complexity through the use of a tailor-made smart operating system
  • Reliability: Elimination of all single points of failure through the use of this smart operating system
  • Energy efficiency: New technology has a calculated pPUE of 1.04 — mainly due to the use of an in-house engineered synthetic heat exchanger with extremely low water consumption, in combination with smart separation of hot and cold airflows

From its two data centers in Amsterdam, Switch AMS1 and Switch AMS2, Switch Datacenters provides build-to-suit and hyperscale data center solutions and colocation services to a range of cloud and hosting services providers as well as corporate organizations including IBM, 3W Infra, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and PCextreme.