Future Facilities North America (Future Facilities NA) has announced the completion of a three-part video series with the Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems (ES2) based at Binghamton University, (BU) State University of New York. ES2, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, is a collaboration among government, industry, and academia to improve energy efficiency and reliability in data centers. The space is Binghamton University’s unique 4,500-sq-ft data center laboratory with raised floor construction, dedicated to ES2 research.

Through the examples of experiments run in this facility, the video series explores how data centers can use simulation engineering to test capacity and cooling scenarios as well as plan for future configurations with zero risk.

Over the last three years, Future Facilities has collaborated with ES2 researchers to conduct several experiments in the data center environment. Engineering simulation, performed with the use of Future Facilities’ 6SigmaDCX software, allowed researchers to test cooling solutions and hardware placement in the data center whitespace in a virtual environment before implementing physically. The third video, completed at the end of 2016, concludes the series.

The first video, “The Start of Something Great...” introduces the project and researchers. The second video, “Uncovering the Value of Calibrating Data Center CFD Models,” explores the use of models in understanding change in a data center environment. Several examples of standard data center equipment captured by Future Facilities’ software are offered, including a downflow cooling unit by Liebert, servers by Dell, and floor tiles by Tate. At this stage, Future Facilities also built a virtual model of the ES2facility at BU to its exact specifications.

The third video, “Operational Planning,” examines using data from these experiments to plan ideal operational layouts and cooling configuration for maximum capacity and optimized OpEx. The project allowed researchers to evaluate change before implementing a solution. This provides an advantage as applicable to research experiments as it is to everyday data center operations when working in a critical environment, as the ability to understand performance prior to change removes risk.

“Our collaboration with ES2 at Binghamton University explores new potential for data center operations outside of the research environment,” said Sherman Ikemoto, director of Future Facilities NA. “Predicting the impact of future change ensures certain success, now mandatory for today’s critical facility operations. Engineering simulation for the data center offers valuable insight for operators to make informed choices, thus avoiding downtime and increasing the financial value of the business.”