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Case Study: Optimizing Data Center Energy Usage

Storing data “in the cloud” has been one of the hottest topics in recent years for individuals and businesses alike, and to keep up with demand, data centers are installing high-end servers at an ever increasing rate. With so many servers operating simultaneously in the same building, a top priority is installing sophisticated, automated cooling systems to maintain a steady airflow throughout the building. Without a proper cooling system, the temperature inside the data center could reach such a high level as to damage the servers. We’ve all felt the frustration of not being able to access “something” on the Internet, whatever that something may be, and with this in mind it’s no wonder that data centers are always on the lookout for an economical but high tech solution for providing a stable power supply and reliable cooling system.

Application Background: Customer Requirements

Starting in 2014, a leading software company in the United States has worked with a power management system vendor to upgrade data centers that have already been in operation for several years. Since the data centers were still using outdated power management systems, one of the challenges they faced was creating a newer, more modern power management system that could increase energy efficiency and maintain a stable power supply. These improvements were expected to reduce operating costs and help keep their data centers up and running normally around the clock.

The new system uses several power meters and sensors installed throughout the data center to provide real-time temperature and power quality readings, which are transmitted to the system over an Ethernet network.

  1. Since the meters have an RS-485 interface and support the Modbus RTU protocol, a Modbus RTU to Modbus TCP gateway is needed.
  2. Since the sensors are only equipped with a digital output interface, an Ethernet I/O device is needed to transmit sensor information to the central system over the Ethernet network.
  3. Because of space limitations, all of the devices must have a slim, DIN-rail design that can be mounted in a small cabinet.
  4. Because a large number of new devices will be installed, all of the devices must be easy to configure and deploy.

Moxa’s Solution

For this project, the power management system vendor decided to use Moxa’s MGate MB3270, ioLogik E1200, and NPort IA5150 to ensure that the end-user has ready access to real-time temperature and power status information. The data is transmitted over the network to the power management software, with historical information recorded in a database for future analysis. The system monitors the meter and sensor readings, and then adjusts the cooling system to keep the server room operating normally. This kind of automatic control system is expected to reduce power consumption and operational costs, as well as maintain a stable power supply. By receiving near real-time notifications of potential or actual equipment failures, the data center can keep prevent business loss by keeping their data center up and running. Moxa products are playing an important role in this company’s improvement plan.

Offer 2 Ethernet Ports to Install Multiple MGates Efficiently

The MGate MB3270 is a slim RTU-to-Modbus-TCP gateway with two 3-in-1 RS-232/422/485 serial ports, and two Ethernet ports for cascading multiple MGates that share the same IP address. Ports configured for RS-485 can connect up to 31 meters through the same serial port.

Efficient Data Acquisition with Active OPC Server

The ioLogik E1200 is an Ethernet-based remote I/O solution with 8 digital inputs and 8 configurable digital inputs/outputs, as well as 2 Ethernet switch ports for cascading multiple ioLogik units. With support for push-based active OPC server technology, the ioLogik E1200 only communicates with the Moxa OPC server when the I/O data changes, dramatically decreasing the Ethernet bandwidth requirement.

High EMC Level Protection for Harsh Environments

The power management system vendor used Moxa’s leading device server, the NPort IA series, to monitor the status of UPS and power conditioner equipment. The power conditioner improves power quality, but also has the potential to transmit a large amount of electronic noise into the NPort’s power circuit. With a high EMC level design for both the power and serial interface, Moxa’s NPort IA series is able to operate reliably in such conditions.

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