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Mains power quality monitoring in a data centre: with Camille Bauer, the HuiShang bank enhances 24/7 operational security

(Wohlen CH / Hefei PRC, September 2018) Data centres exist all over the world, not only as stand-alone operations but also in many other types of activity. These include banks, insurance companies, industrial companies, hospitals, airports, energy suppliers, administrations, etc. The enormous energy requirements of these data centres confront both operators and energy suppliers with major challenges. Additional factors which can randomly lead to problems and serious damage are becoming more and more the focus of attention. As shown in this use case the HuiShang bank in Hefei in the Anhui province in China decided to invest further in securing its 24/7 operations. To do this, they installed extra equipment to monitor the electrical power quality.

As with any data centre operation, 24/7 availability is a fundamental requirement. Contracts have been signed with energy suppliers and measures to introduce further redundancy have systematically been put in place in order to ensure an uninterrupted supply of energy. These include battery storage as well as generators and redundant supply lines into the data centre. However as well as ensuring the supply of energy in sufficient quantity, the quality aspect has to be considered as well. This includes, depending on whether IEC standardisation is specified or not (for example according to IEC 61000-4-30, part 5.1 - 5.12, Class A) harmonic voltages, flicker, voltage dips and swells, transient voltages, rapid voltage changes (RVC), etc. These phenomena can cause lasting damage to servers and the infrastructure (for example uncontrolled machine shutdowns, generation of system defects, etc.) and it is essential to detect them early.

To allow these phenomena to be detected in a timely manner, the power quality needs to be continuously analysed due to the fact that mains power supplies behave dynamically as a result of the constantly changing consumption and power feed-in situation caused by non-linear consumers (for example LED lighting, frequency-controlled air conditioning systems, the switching power supplies of the servers, etc.) and decentralised energy sources (for example if there are PV systems on the roof of the data centre, etc.).

The management of HuiShang Bank quickly realised that along with data security and energy availability, it is essential to take the power quality parameters into account as well. To do this, a network quality analyser was installed in the control cabinet of each of the 52 bases currently installed the medium and low voltage domains. The criteria for choosing to deploy SINEAX AM3000 were the price/performance ratio and the availability of the required measurement data. A further evident advantage was that setting the parameters of the power quality analysers was simple and user-friendly and could be integrated in the overall system via WebGUI. Furthermore, via Modbus TCP/IP, all data and information can be visualised in the WebGUI interface without using any additional software. This obviously means considerable savings in extra effort and costs.As with any data centre operation, 24/7 availability is a fundamental requirement. Contracts have been signed with energy suppliers and measures to introduce further redundancy have systematically been put in place in order to ensure an uninterrupted supply of energy. These include battery storage as well as generators and redundant supply lines into the data centre. However as well as ensuring the supply of energy in sufficient quantity, the quality aspect has to be considered as well. This includes, depending on whether IEC standardisation is specified or not (for example according to IEC 61000-4-30, part 5.1 - 5.12, Class A) harmonic voltages, flicker, voltage dips and swells, transient voltages, rapid voltage changes (RVC), etc. These phenomena can cause lasting damage to servers and the infrastructure (for example uncontrolled machine shutdowns, generation of system defects, etc.) and it is essential to detect them early.

To allow these phenomena to be detected in a timely manner, the power quality needs to be continuously analysed due to the fact that mains power supplies behave dynamically as a result of the constantly changing consumption and power feed-in situation caused by non-linear consumers (for example LED lighting, frequency-controlled air conditioning systems, the switching power supplies of the servers, etc.) and decentralised energy sources (for example if there are PV systems on the roof of the data centre, etc.).

"Thanks to continuous monitoring of the waveform and the power quality events, the engineers of HuiShang bank were able to directly increase system stability while explicitly lowering the risk of failure of the equipment used", stated the responsible project manager Ms. Hu, in a  clear summary of the objective.

Source: TMC

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