Today’s data centers do a lot. They manage mission-critical workloads, support virtualization, and enable public/private cloud computing – all on a 24-7-365 schedule. This all takes energy, and conservation is on everyone’s mind. There are regulatory requirements to be met, and utility companies may cap consumption.
Fortunately, there are several ways power engineers can help increase efficiency. The idea is to get higher performance per watt, so less energy is used overall. Here are some of the key things to consider:
Optimize any AC-DC Rectifiers
In servers that use AC-DC rectifiers, select the right combination of power discretes and design several switching power conversion stages. The latest power semiconductor technologies can help optimize each stage.
Improve DC-DC Power Density
In servers that use DC-DC motherboards, improve power density by reducing power dissipation in key components. The usual suspects are power MOSFETs, inductors, and MOSFET drivers, but look at other components, too, like the power-management IC. Also, see if you can simplify the layout or minimize the length of PCB traces – both steps can reduce heat loss.
Lower the Cooling Requirements
For many years, the thinking has been that data centers need to be chilly places, to protect sensitive IT equipment, but that’s changing. Newer recommendations are for 72 °F, and Google, for example, runs at a near-tropical 80 °F. Know the limits of your components, and understand how hot it can get before problems start. Also, consider upgrading to newer fans that use high-efficiency BLDC motors.
Every time you increase efficiency, even at the board and circuit levels, you generate less heat. Even small changes – saving 100 mW here or 2 W there – can add up to substantial improvements.
To get the details on how to ensure data-center fitness, download the full eight-page Tech Brief.
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