ABB enables smarter data centre solutions

Data centers are costly and complex to design and construct. Understanding power requirements is fundamental for any construction project, but especially for mission critical data centers. That is why colocation data center companies like GIGA Data Centers choose ABB for complete power solutions. Following its acquisition of GE Industrial Solutions (GE) in July 2018, ABB’s range now includes ‘Best of Both’ solutions, combining elements from ABB and GE to provide a more comprehensive offer that meets increasing demand for fast, decisive data center deployment.

Based in the US, GIGA Data Centers aims to make modular data center technology available to every company, not just hyper-scale data centers. They believe companies seeking data center colocation should have access to the same high levels of efficiency and flexibility at a competitive cost.

For the company’s new data center in Mooresville, North Carolina, GIGA worked closely with ABB from the outset to develop the critical power distribution design.

The objectives of the project were to maximize scalability while achieving an ultra-low Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) rating, which is the ratio of total power consumed by the data center versus the power delivered to its servers. The average PUE in 2019 is 1.67, with GIGA achieving a much lower PUE of 1.15 for up to 50kW per rack cabinet. Compared to the industry average, this means that customers can reduce their operating costs by 31 percent just by being in GIGA’s facility.

GIGA Data Centers’ CEO Jake Ring explained: “We chose ABB because we know how good their technical and commercial teams are and we needed a solid partner willing to work with us throughout the entire process to deliver as efficient an electrical system as possible. We knew ABB shared our commitment to innovation, had the right technologies and could handle the challenging timelines.”

Partnership and cutting-edge technology

ABB and GIGA jointly developed the system design specifications as well as the sequence of operations for input and output switchboards. The solution comprised of low-voltage switchboards, dry type transformers and Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS) to support the IT server and network equipment infrastructure.

GIGA chose the ‘Best of Both’ by leveraging the legacy GE TLE UPS for their customer’s IT server load and the ABB Decentralized Parallel Architecture (DPA) UPS for their site server load. Their IT server load is powered by power distribution and protection equipment housed on a mezzanine where footprint was a constraint. The 1 MW TLE solution was ideal for that space because of the compact size and its ability to integrate with Lithium Ion batteries which are significantly smaller, lighter, and can run at higher temperatures than VRLA batteries, eliminating the need for additional cooling systems. They chose the DPA UPS system for their network servers because it was more effective for lower power requirements and can easily be scaled as the facility expands.

“This project demonstrates the benefits of ABB’s acquisition of GE Industrial Solutions and our broader ‘Best of Both’ solutions. It is a great example of ABB working collaboratively with its customers to use technology to develop innovative results,” said Ciaran Flanagan, Head of Global Data Center Solutions, ABB. “The addition of lithium-ion battery systems instead of traditional lead acid batteries, directly addressed the two top concerns of critical power users: availability and total cost of ownership. The result is a more compact and more efficient data center that meets all of GIGA’s requirements and delivers outstanding power distribution and protection performance.”

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