# Calculating Total Power Requirements for Data Centers

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1 Calculating Total Power Requirements for Data Centers By Richard Sawyer White Paper #3

2 Executive Summary Part of data center planning and design is to align the power and cooling requirements of the IT equipment with the capacity of infrastructure equipment to provide it. This paper presents methods for calculating power and cooling requirements and provides guidelines for determining the total electrical power capacity needed to support the data center, including IT equipment, cooling equipment, lighting, and power backup. 2

7 Sizing the electrical power system Two important numbers have been determined that will assist in estimating the size of the electrical system that will power the data center environment: the Total Critical Load and the Total Cooling Load. In general, the electrical supply must be large enough to support the sum of these two numbers, plus the related data center lighting loads. The steady-state power consumption of the loads within a data center establishes the power consumption for purposes of determining electrical costs. However, the Electrical Service and the Generator power sources that provide power to the data center cannot be sized to the steady state values. These sources must be sized to the peak power consumption of the loads, plus any derating or oversizing margins required by code or standard engineering practice. In practice, this causes the electrical service and generator sizing to be substantially larger than might be expected, as will be illustrated in the next section. Final Electrical Capacity Computation Once the total electrical capacity is estimated in Kilowatts from the process described above, two critical determinations can be made: the first is an estimate of the electrical service needed to supply the data center, and the second is the size of any standby power generator capacity that may be needed to achieve the desired availability. Sizing of the Electrical Service The electrical service can be calculated as follows: 1. Take the total electrical capacity required in Kilowatts and multiply by 125% to meet the requirements of the National Electrical Code and similar regulatory bodies. 2. Determine the three phase AC voltage of the service entrance to be supplied by the utility company. Typically this is 480 Volts AC in the United States and 230 Volts AC in most other parts of the world. 3. Use the following formula to determine the electrical service size to supply the data center, in Amps: Amps = (kw x1000) / (Volts x 1.73) This provides an estimate of the electrical service capacity required to support the critical load, cooling, and the building functions for a data center. Using the assumptions of Figure1, Figure 2 emphasizes the important distinction between rated (peak) power and steady state power by comparing the electrical service requirements for both. It must be noted that this is only an estimate, and that the final determination of the service size is highly dependent on accurate site specific information. It is strongly recommended that the services of a qualified professional consulting engineer be retained to verify the initial estimate and develop the final data center electrical supply design. Table 1, located at the end of the paper, can be used as a worksheet that assists in summarizing the discussion above. 7

12 Conclusions Assessing the electrical power required to support and cool the critical loads within the data center is essential in planning for the development of a facility that will meet the end user s availability expectations. By employing the process described above, a reasonable estimate of the power requirements can be made. This will help specify the size of the Network-Critical Physical Infrastructure components that will achieve the availability determined by the needs assessment. Once the sizing determination is made, conceptual and detailed planning can go forward with the assistance of a competent NCPI systems supplier or, in the case of larger scale data centers, a consulting engineer. Cost estimation can then be made based on the size and reliability configuration determined from the power needs assessment process described above. About the Author: Richard L. Sawyer is a Sr. Systems Application Engineer for APC. He has 25 years of experience in large scale data center construction and operations for Fortune 100 companies. He is on the Board of Directors, AFCOM. 12

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