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Refrigeration technology for data centres: Always under power

17 June 2020

Many of us are working from home right now, children are learning via the internet, and Netflix, Amazon Prime & co. are on every evening. The corona pandemic is increasingly shifting our lives to the online world. Our digital lives and work depend on fast and stable internet connections, and thus on data centres that work. They in turn rely on refrigeration technology to function without interruption. Here, many operating companies rely on QUANTUM chillers from ENGIE Refrigeration.

Germany is becoming a digital nation: web traffic throughout the country has skyrocketed in recent weeks. April 2020 saw an average increase of 20 to 30 per cent when compared to the previous month, rising to 40 per cent at weekends. Internet connections everywhere are running hot. To enable people to work efficiently and reliably, the IT infrastructure and data centres must operate reliably. In this context, data centres belong to the critical infrastructure of our modern society – and not just during the corona pandemic. Just think of the communication infrastructure that has to run at all times; the traffic lights at crossroads that must never fail; and air traffic control, which cannot afford to make mistakes.

Data centres: cooling as a critical factor
In general, if cooling at data centres is interrupted or even fails, the recommended maximum temperatures of computer processors may be exceeded, which, in the worst case, can lead to data losses and IT failures. All systems would stop running, our communication infrastructure would break down, our traffic lights would no longer work and so on. In short, the consequences would be disastrous. The current corona situation has shown all of us how critical data centres are to our daily lives. However, many do not realise that reliable refrigeration technology is the basis for data centres to operate, as even the slightest deviation from the required room temperature affects the  IT devices reliability. This means that refrigeration technology is a systemically relevant factor in this corona situation.

Refrigeration technology at the highest level
Availability, safety and energy efficiency – these three characteristics are especially important for air conditioning and refrigeration systems in data centres. And not just with respect to the server systems themselves, but also in regard to the entire data centre´s  technological periphery. QUANTUM chillers from ENGIE are highly reliable and offer many other advantages to operating companies. Every QUANTUM series starts up exceedingly gently and operates quietly and with low vibrations. These chillers are oil-free and low maintenance. They are also absolutely reliable and demonstrate outstanding energy efficiency. And QUANTUM chillers can do much more: they contribute considerably towards the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for a data centre. As a rule, every IT infrastructure deployed at a data centre is secured with UPS devices that, in the event of a power outage, supply the systems continuously with power until the emergency power generators have been connected. However, many operating companies underestimate the fact that, in spite of the UPS, it often takes up to ten minutes for the refrigeration technology to start up again. QUANTUM chillers counteract this situation and ensure that server cooling can restart as quickly as possible after a blackout.

QUANTUM with fast restart: against blackouts
For this purpose, QUANTUM chillers from ENGIE are equipped with special fast restart (FRS) technology. This is a software function that reduces the time it takes to test starting conditions in the event of a blackout. It also activates the default load control of QUANTUM machines in response to demand. This is possible because the chiller´s controller can be connected directly to the UPS. As a result, all the turbo compressors start earlier and can ideally reach their full capacity in half the usual time. This means that full refrigeration capacity is available much sooner after a restart – an important advantage provided by ENGIE refrigeration technology, and one that many other models on the market lack.

Reliable cooling in the data centre
That is why numerous companies operating IT buildings and data centres rely on Engie´s expertise . Examples include the data centre belonging to Amadeus Data Processing GmbH, one of the world’s leading providers of Travel Industry IT systems, headquartered in Munich; the largest commercial data centre in Switzerland; and Domodedovo Airport in Moscow, Russia. These temperature-critical applications thus benefit from refrigeration technology that is highly efficient and guaranteed to be reliable – and from an uninterruptible supply even in the event of an emergency.

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