A New Approach to Data Center Design - Rahi

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Wesco Acquisition of Rahi has been finalized. Read More

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Wesco Acquisition of Rahi has been finalized.

Read More
DC Infrastructure

Increasing Power Densities Call for a New Approach to Data Center Design

By Bill Evanger

April 12, 2023 - 4 min

Increasing Power Densities Call for  a New Approach to Data Center Design

For years, data center power and cooling requirements remained relatively stable, enabling organizations to plan for the facility’s 10- to 15-year lifespan. Data centers were able to support IT growth and technology refreshes without the need for major upgrades.

However, the models traditionally used for data center planning are being outpaced by radically changing requirements. Organizations can no longer rely on rules of thumb when designing, retrofitting, or upgrading their facilities. They need to collect and analyze power and environmental data in order to make effective long-term decisions. Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools and the right partnerships can help organizations prepare for changing power and cooling demands.

Forecast: Hotter, More Powerful

Servers are increasingly powerful, with chips that require more electricity. The latest server processors from Intel consume up to 400W, compared to 150W a decade ago. Even with alternative chips (RISC vis CISC for example), which may consume equal power for higher core/thread counts, densification within the rack increases, which still leads to higher power consumption. Furthermore, product roadmaps call for increasing power consumption, with the potential for servers to have 1+kW power demands within a few short years.

At the same time, rack power densities are also increasing — and not only because organizations are packing more gear into racks, but also further stratifying the gear using modular chassis and blade servers. The adoption of artificial intelligence, big data analytics and other advanced applications is driving the implementation of more high-powered services. For years, average rack power densities have hovered in the 6kW to 8kW range, but the number of high-power racks has been steadily increasing. Many data centers now have racks of 20kW or more.

Of course, where there’s more power, there’s more heat. Data centers must either deliver the air flow needed to cool high-density racks, or look at emerging technologies such as Rear-Door Heat exchangers, or even liquid subversive cooling. Furthermore, high-performance servers require lower temperatures to prevent the loss of processor performance, which in turn means increased loads on data center infrastructure up the power and cooling chains.

Business Risk and Regulatory Challenges

Older data centers simply weren’t built to handle these kinds of power and cooling requirements. Many facilities will need costly electrical and cooling upgrades to support more powerful systems. Given the accelerating pace of change, however, it will be difficult to predict data center power and cooling requirements several years into the future, outside of the simple fact more will be required.

This creates significant business risk. If the data center cannot meet the demands of the IT infrastructure, organizations will have wasted their investments in advanced systems or have a data center that’s severely limited or even obsolete. If the data center is built to accommodate more power and cooling than needed, the organization risks overspending on capacity and losing the value of underutilized space.

In addition, organizations are finding it difficult to meet their efficiency and sustainability objectives. Increasingly stringent regulations and reporting requirements are also putting pressure on data center operators to improve energy efficiency.

The Right Data Is Critical

Some larger data centers are looking at things like liquid cooling to control heat while maximizing performance. However, liquid cooling systems can consume vast amounts of water, making them unsuitable for some facilities. Subversive-cooling alternatives can offset water utilization concerns but may introduce unintended concerns regarding the environmental impacts of the liquids used to immerse the data center equipment in and how to recycle/dispose of them when exhausted.

In short, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Organizations need to carefully analyze their power and cooling requirements at various points within the data center facility in order to anticipate future needs.

DCIM solutions monitor the data center environment and capture the energy consumption of the facility’s infrastructure and IT equipment as well as real-time environmental conditions. These tools can also provide a virtual 3-D view of the data center, making it possible to visualize the interrelationships between assets in order to better understand capacity-related data. IT teams can use these tools to assess the existing data center infrastructure and predict how changes or additions will impact efficiency and performance. In addition, modern DCIM tools provide a variety of robust instrumentation and dashboards which provide real-time environmental and power telemetry to data center operators with a few clicks or taps.

How Rahi Can Help

While DCIM tools are valuable, there’s no substitute for the expertise of an experienced partner. Rahi has designed and implemented infrastructure for large data centers worldwide. Through our ELEVATE Services for Data Centers, we can assess your business needs and technical requirements, develop a customized design, oversee the implementation process, and provide 24×7 monitoring and support. Let us help you prepare your data center for changing power and cooling requirements.


  • Bill has been in the IT industry for nearly 30 years. For the past 20 years, he has been specializing in data center operations, including presales and engineering. In particular, Bill has spent the last 12 years focusing on data center infrastructure management (DCIM) and other monitoring-related technologies.

, Solutions Architect

DC Infrastructure
Mar 09,2023
How Hyperscale Data Centers Address Changing Demands

Money, identities, books, art, movies, appliances, medical devices, automobiles… it seems as though there’s a...

DC Infrastructure
Feb 22,2023
Overcome These Top 5 Challenges as a Data Center Manager

Data centers are experiencing rapid growth to meet the burgeoning demand for processing power and storage capacity....

DC Infrastructure
Jan 25,2023
The DCIM Evolution

Once thought to be “nice to haves”, data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools have become essential to...

DC Infrastructure
Jan 05,2023
Exploring the Various Data Center Models

Although businesses continue to migrate more applications and services to the cloud, most also need to maintain a...

DC Infrastructure
Dec 28,2022
The Benefits of Combining Managed Services and Colocation

As the costs of building and maintaining an on-premises data center continue to escalate, more and more organizations...

DC Infrastructure
Dec 21,2022
Micro Data Centers Overcome the Complexity of Data Center Build-Outs

Traditionally, organizations build data centers from the ground up by installing cabinets and racks and then adding...

DC Infrastructure
Oct 27,2022
Enhancing Business Resilience with Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Unplanned network outages due to natural disasters, system failures, cyberthreats, or human error are on the rise,...

DC Infrastructure
Sep 28,2022
Rahi Systems and Daxten Enable Data Centre Staff To Easily Lift Heavy Loads

Fremont, Calif. — June 22, 2017 — Rahi Systems announced today a partner agreement with Daxten, a leading...

DC Infrastructure
Aug 24,2022
Weighing the Alternatives to an On-Premise Data Center Refresh

Despite predictions of its impending demise, the U.S. on-premise data center market remains healthy. More than half of...

DC Infrastructure
Aug 17,2022
The Significance of Physical Security within the Data Center

While most discussions of IT security focus on logical controls, protection of the physical data center infrastructure...

DC Infrastructure
Jul 29,2022
Does Your CI/CD Pipeline Support Modernization Efforts?

Outdated or obsolete applications make up nearly a third of the typical organization’s software portfolio,...

DC Infrastructure
Jun 15,2022
The Benefits of Remote Power Panels and Busways in Today’s Data Center

Traditionally, data centers have had power distribution systems purpose-built by electricians. However, custom...

DC Infrastructure
Jun 01,2022
7 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Colocation Providers

More and more organizations are choosing to get out of the data center business and partner with a colocation provider...

DC Infrastructure
Mar 30,2022
A Cost-Efficient, Time-Saving Method to Capture Power Monitoring Data

Power Usage in Data Centers Data Center power consumption has long been a concern of budget-conscious IT managers....

DC Infrastructure
Feb 23,2022
Taking Advantage of the Return-to-Office for IT Upgrades

Most organizations had to rush to shift to work-from-home models. Now, they’re taking a more strategic approach to...

DC Infrastructure
Oct 27,2021
Data Center Fire Suppression: is Your IT Infrastructure Protected?

OVHcloud Data Center Fire in France In March 2021, OVHcloud’s five-story, 5,400-square-foot SBG2 data center in...

DC Infrastructure
Oct 20,2021
How can a Workspace Utilization Analysis Enable a Safe Return to Work and Hybrid Work Model?

Why is Workspace Utilization Analysis more important now than ever before? Organizations need to understand how many...

Get in touch with our experts for a free 30-minute strategy

Let our experts design, develop, deploy and manage your requirements while you focus on what's important for your business

Book a Consultation
error: Content is protected !!