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At the completion of this course, you will be able to: Identify basic electricity concepts Describe electrical power

and its generation Differentiate between various power usages in a data center Define power factor Recognize the importance of electrical safety measures in a data center, and Identify potential problem areas in the data center

Power is a primary resource within the data center. Many instances of equipment failure, downtime, software and data corruption, are the result of power problem s. Sensitive components within todays servers require power that is free of inter ruption or distortion. Fortunately, the consequences of large-scale power incide nts are well documented. Across all business sectors, an estimated $104 billion to $164 billion per year are lost due to power disruptions with another $15 bill ion to $24 billion per year in losses attributed to secondary power quality prob lems. It is imperative that servers are isolated from utility power failures, surges, and other potential electrical problems. The building in which a data center is located could have a mixture of power requirements: air conditioners, elevators, office equipment, desktop computers, and kitchen area microwaves and refrigerat ors. It is important to provide a separate, dedicated power source and power inf rastructure for the data center. This course will explore the topic of power, and how it is utilized within the d ata center. Lets begin by refreshing ourselves with definitions of some basic ele ctrical terms. Key terms: The Volt is a unit of measurement of potential difference or electrical pressure between two points. If the two points are connected together, they form a circu it and current will flow. An Ampere measures the amount of electrical current flowing through a circuit du ring a specific time interval. The Ohm is the unit of measurement which describes the amount of resistance elec tricity encounters as it flows through a circuit. Hertz is the unit of frequency measurement. One complete cycle of change in volt age direction per second is equal to one Hertz (Hz). Alternating Current, or AC, is constantly being reversed back and forth through an electrical circuit. Power supplied to a building by a nearby utility is an ex ample of AC power. Direct Current, or DC, is electrical current that only flows in one direction. T he power supplied by a battery is one example of a DC power source. To fully demonstrate how all of these terms relate to one another, lets compare t he flow of electricity through a power cable to the flow of water through a gard en hose. Lets use a typical garden hose as an illustration for how electricity can work. W ater will flow through the hose at a slow rate, or a fast rate, depending on how far the faucet is opened. Water pressure (equivalent to voltage) usually remain s constant whether the faucet is opened or closed. Current is controlled by the faucet position (resistance). The faucet is either more open or less open at any given time. The current can also be controlled by an increase or loss of water pressure (voltage). The amount of water that moves through a hose in gallons, or liters, per second can be compared to the quantity of electrons that flow per s econd through a conductor as measured in amperes. When discussing the concept of power, it is important to understand the term, el ectrical load. The load is the sum of the various pieces of equipment in a data center which consume and are supplied with electrical power. A typical data cen ter load would consist of computers, networking equipment, cooling equipment, po wer distribution equipment and all equipment supported by the electrical infrast ructure.

We will now address some of the differences between AC and DC power. As mentioned in our section on key terms, Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Cu rrent (DC) are two forms of power. Lets begin to explore the ways in which each i s utilized. When the direction of current flowing in a circuit constantly reverses direction , it is known as Alternating Current (AC). The electrical current coming into yo ur home is an example of alternating current. Alternating Current, which comes f rom the utility company is switched back and forth approximately 60 times each s econd, measured as 60 Hertz. This measurement is called the frequency. The utili ty determines the frequency for the AC power that reaches the data center. In th e US, frequency is set at 60 Hertz (Hz). In other countries, 50 Hz is more commo n. AC power is a combination of voltage and current. AC voltage at a generating sta tion is stepped up via high voltage transformers to voltage levels that enable p ower to be distributed over long distances with minimal loss of energy. Direct Current (DC) has several applications in the typical data center, most co mmonly in telecom equipment where banks of batteries supply power at 48 Volts DC or in battery systems supporting uninterruptible power supplies, which can be a t potentials over 500 Volts DC. However, whether the supply is available from ba nks of batteries, or from DC generators, DC systems are not practical in data ce nters because of heavy resistive losses and the large cable sizes required to po wer information technology equipment. Almost all data center equipment is design ed for the local nominal AC supply voltages. Now that we have discussed the forms of current, lets compare single-phase and 3phase power. Two common forms of AC power provided to data centers are single phase and 3-pha se power. Single-phase power has only one basic power waveform, while 3-phase po wer has three basic power waveforms that are offset from each other by 120. When AC power comes into a building as a single voltage source, it is referred t o as single phase. If the power comes into the building utilizing three voltage sources, or three phases, or three hot wires, with accompanying neutrals and gro unds, it is referred to as 3-phase power. Single phase electricity is usually distributed to residential and small commerc ial customers. The single phase implies that power comes in with only one hot wi re, along with accompanying neutral and ground. Generating and distributing 3-phase power is more economical than distributing s ingle phase power. Since the size of the wire affects the amount of current that can pass, it also determines the amount of power that can be delivered. If a la rge amount of power were distributed as a single phase, huge heavy transmission wires would be needed and it would be nearly impossible to suspend them from a p ole. It is much more economical to distribute AC power using 3-phase voltage sou rces. Next, lets talk about 120/240 and 208 volt configurations. 120 Volts and 240 Volts AC are the most common single phase voltages supplied to residential customers. Single phase 240 Volts tends to supply larger domestic a ppliances, such as clothes dryers, electric cooking stoves, and water heaters. S ingle phase 120 Volts is also available in some data centers. Many IT devices, i ncluding computer monitors and individual desktop computers accept 120 Volts. 3phase 208 Volts power usually supports commercial environments, including most d ata centers. (Please note: In many countries, such as in parts of Europe and Asia, voltages s uch as 220-240V and 400V are also common.) Next, we ll explore the concept of watts and volt-amps. The Watt measures the real power drawn by the load equipment, and is used as a m

easurement of both power and heat generated by the equipment. Wattage rating is typically stamped on the nameplate of the load equipment. However, the nameplat e rating is rarely the same as the measured wattage in IT equipment. Many data c enters have metering available on UPS or power distribution units (PDU), or even on rack mounted power strips all of which allow accurate recording of power at the site. The Volt-Amps (VA) rating, or apparent power, represents the maximum load that t he device in question can draw. It is the product of the applied AC voltage time s the current drawn by the device. VA is used in sizing and specifying wire siz es, circuit breakers, switchgear, transformers and general power distribution eq uipment. VA ratings represent the maximum power capable of being drawn by the eq uipment. VA ratings are always greater than or equal to the watt rating of the e quipment. The significance of the difference between Watts and Volt-Amps is that power sup plies, wiring, and circuit breakers may need to be rated to handle more current and more power than what may be expected. The terms Watts (W) and Volt-Amps (VA) are often used interchangeably when discu ssing load sizing for power infrastructure components, such as UPS devices. Thes e terms are however, not the same. The key to understanding the relationship bet ween Watts and VA is the Power Factor. Watts represent real power and Volt Amps represent apparent power. The power factor is the ratio of real power to apparent power. Power factor can be expressed as a number between 0 and 1 or as a %. If a given UPS has a watts r ating of 8 and a VA rating of 10, then its power factor is .8 (or 80%). A UPS wi th a power factor of .8 is more efficient than a UPS with a power factor of .7. Next, we will look at one type of electronic switching power supply: Power Facto r Corrected. Power Factor Corrected power supplies were introduced in the mid-1990s and have the characteristic that Watt and VA ratings are equal. That is they have a power factor of nearly 1. Power Factor Correction is simply a method of offsetting in efficiencies created by electrical loads. All large computing equipment such as servers, routers, switches, drive arrays m ade after 1996 use the Power Factor Corrected power supply. Personal computers, small hubs and personal computer accessories can have a power factor of less tha n 1. For a small UPS designed for computer loads which only have a VA rating, it is a ppropriate to assume that the Watt rating of the UPS is 60% of the published VA rating. For larger UPS systems, it is becoming common to focus on the Watt rating of the UPS. State-of-the-art larger UPS systems are rated for unity power factor. In other words they are designed so that their capacity in kVA is the same as in kW . Next, lets discuss plugs and receptacles. Many different types of power plugs are used throughout the world. Two of the mo re common plug standards in data centers are: the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard, which is based in Switzerland, but used globally; an d the National Electric Manufacturers Association (NEMA) standard, which is comm only used in North America. Most plugs in the data center have three prongs and the receptacles are designed to accept these three prong configurations. In the US, a typical 3-prong plug c onsists of two flat prongs and one rounded prong. The larger of the flat prongs is the neutral, the smaller of the two flat prongs is the hot, and the rounded p rong on the bottom is the ground. The most common plug/receptacle combination for IT equipment is of an IEC design . These receptacles are often designed in a recessed fashion for safety reasons. The design helps to prevent a person from touching the pins when they are live.

Also common are plugs and receptacles of the twist lock variety. The plug is twi sted to lock into the receptacle. This is particularly useful if you choose to d eploy overhead cabling rather than below the raised floor cabling. With twist lo ck, the receptacle is less likely to allow gravity and vibration to dislodge it from its plug. Lets discuss IEC and NEMA plugs in greater detail. Among the most common IEC plugs found in data centers are: the IEC-320-C13 and I EC-320-C14, which are rated over a range from 100 to 240 Volts AC, and a current of about 10 Amps; the IEC-320-C19 and IEC-320-C20, which are rated over a range from 100 to 240 Volts AC, and a current range of about 16 to 20 Amps. Also common are the IEC 309 series of 208 Volt single phase Russell Stoll connec tors. The IEC 309 2P3W 208V, 20A for example, is rated at 20 Amps, and the IEC 309 2P3W 208V, 30A is rated at 30 Amps. Clues to the makeup of the plug can be d etermined by analyzing the name of the plug. In the case of the IEC 309 2P3W 208 V, 30A , for example, the letter P identifies the number of poles, the letter W iden tifies the number of wires. V identifies volts and A designates the current in amper es. Receptacles are installed in rack-mounted power strips as well as on power whips , and those plugs are most commonly attached to power cords on IT equipment. (Please note: In many countries, such as in parts of Europe and Asia, voltages s uch as 220-240V and 400V are also common.) There many examples of NEMA standard plug types. Each NEMA plug and receptacle t ype follows a naming convention. For example, a common plug type may read L5-15P. If the code begins with the letter L, the plug or receptacle locks. If the code does not begin with a letter, the plug or receptacle does not lock. In this exam ple, the plug locks. The first number can be a digit between 1 and 24, where 3 a nd 4 are never used. That number represents a certain combination of voltage, num ber of poles, number of wires, and whether it is a grounding type plug or not.In this example, the plug is a Number 5 plug. The number after the hyphen indicates the amperage rating. In this example, the number after the hyphen is 15, which means the plug is rated to handle 15 Amps. The final letter, being a P, indicates that the device is, indeed, a plug. If the device was a receptacle, the final le tter would be an R. Now that we have learned what we need to know about plugs and receptacles, lets e xplore some common areas where power failures can occur. According to M Technology, Inc., an expert in the field of Probabilistic Risk As sessment, the most common areas of power system failure in data center electrica l infrastructure are: the power distribution unit (PDU) and its respective circu it breakers at 30%, all other circuit breakers at 40%, UPS failure at 20%, and b alance of system at 10%. We will now discuss the topic of circuit breakers and their importance in the da ta center. A circuit breaker is a piece of equipment, or a type of switch, that is designed to protect electrical equipment from damage caused by overload or short circuit . Circuit breakers are designed to trip at a given current level. Unlike fuses and switches, circuit breakers can be reset. Large circuit breakers have adjust able trip mechanisms, while smaller circuit breakers, designed for branch circui ts, have their trip levels internally preset according to their electrical curre nt rating. As mentioned earlier, in the data centers electrical infrastructure, most failure s can be traced back to the circuit breaker. Circuit breakers can fail in a numb er of ways: failure to close; failure to open under fault conditions; spurious t rip, where a breaker opens with no fault; and failure to operate with the time-c urrent specifications of the unit. Circuit breakers are designed to interrupt excessive current flow and come in a

wide range of sizes. The number of times they trip or switch should be monitored as most have a rated lifetime of 1-10 fault current interruptions. If you trace the path of power into your data center, from the utility through t he transformer and UPS down to the load, you will see that there are multiple br eaker types all along the way. Some are bigger breakers (600 amps or greater) an d some are the commodity type of breakers, such as branch circuit and PDU breake rs. Circuit breaker coordination is important. The breaker closest to the fault should open faster than the circuit breakers upstream. Since the bigger breakers are often located upstream, the fault could potentially affect most of the buil ding instead of just part of the building, if the breakers are not properly coor dinated. Coordination of breakers is complicated and must be done carefully. Both the rat ing and speed of breakers must be considered. It is recommended that data center staffs consult with electricians who are well versed in this area. Lets discuss two popular circuit breaker types that may be found in IT equipment: thermal circuit breakers and magnetic circuit breakers. Increasing current raises the temperature inside a thermal circuit breaker. If t he current is too high, the thermal circuit breaker gets hot enough to trip the circuit breaker. A common thermal circuit breaker uses a bimetallic strip to tri p the breaker. A bimetallic strip sandwiches two different metals together. Curr ent flows through the bimetallic strip, and causes it to heat. Because one metal expands faster than the other metal as the temperature rises, the strip bends. If the current is too high, the metal strip bends enough to break the contact in the electric circuit. A magnetic circuit breaker uses an electromagnetic coil to pull a switch when a circuit carries too much current. As current increases, the electromagnetic coil pulls with greater force against the spring that keeps the switch closed. When the current is too high for the circuit, the force from the electromagnetic coil overcomes the force of the spring, and forces the switch contact to break the c ircuit. These two breaker types can also combined into another type of breaker, called a thermal-magnetic circuit breaker. Circuit breakers are designed to be either fast acting or slow acting. A circuit breaker may need to switch short circuit currents as high as 15 times its rated current. A 30 Amp breaker, for example, may need to switch, in an emergency, 45 0 or more Amps of current. Circuit breakers are designed to trip at 110% of their rated threshold. This all ows for normal short term overloads such as the start up currents in electrical motors. For example, a 20 Amp circuit breaker is not guaranteed to trip until th e current exceeds 22 Amps. Circuit breaker tripping thresholds may vary accordin g to design specification or safety code requirements. To avoid downtime and unn ecessary circuit breaker tripping, a circuit breaker needs to be sized according to both its rated current and its tripping current. Trip settings are adjusted so that the circuit breaker in question will trip in a timely fashion on overload and before the upstream breaker trips. It is advisable to choose a breaker designed for the characteristics of the load . For example, some breakers have an HCAR rating, which is a rating for heating, c ooling and air conditioning applications. Breakers without this particular ratin g should not be used for the HVAC systems. Circuit breakers with delayed action may be needed for heavy electrical loads, s uch as motors, transformers, and air conditioners that draw temporarily high sur ge currents. The circuit breaker needs to be rated high enough to prevent an ele ctric arc from forming that could jump over the contacts of the switch. A convenience outlet is an outlet which is used for non-computer devices. It is

important to provide this additional resource outlet which can be used for elect ronic devices that may be necessary for the data center environment; data center personnel need a place to plug in office equipment or lighting without the worr y of tripping a circuit breaker or taxing the power supply. Installing convenien ce outlets is a way to ensure that enough power is provided to supply not only t he critical load, but also any additional power that may be required. Next, well discuss safety issues such as electrical grounding and ground loops. Grounding is principally a safety measure to protect against electric shock. The grounded wire is connected to the exterior of metal cases on appliances to prot ect against a hot-wire short inside the appliance. If a short occurs, the ground wire will limit the touch voltage to less than 30 volts and will also provide a return path for the excessive current to trip the branch circuit breaker. Some wires are considered hot, because they are not grounded. Ground loops occur when there is a varying quality of connections to the earth a t different points in an electrical installation. The result is that current may flow in unexpected loops between ground connections. Ground loops are a potenti ally hazardous situation. The solution to stopping ground loops is to confirm th e quality of ground connections at all points in an electrical installation. Now, lets discuss seven categories of common power problems and their solutions. Impulsive transients are sudden high peak events that raise the voltage and/or c urrent levels in either a positive or a negative direction. Electrostatic discha rge (ESD) and lightning strikes are both examples impulsive disturbances. Impuls ive transients can be very fast, happening as quickly as 5 nanoseconds and lasti ng less than 50 nanoseconds. For example, an ESD may have a peak of over 8000 volts, but last less than 4 bil lionths of a second. The transient, however, may still be strong enough to damag e sensitive electronic equipment. An approach to solve the problem of impulsive transients is the utilization of a Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor (TVSS). A TVSS is a device that either absor bs the transient energy, or short circuits the energy to ground, before it can r each sensitive equipment. Motors turning on or off commonly cause oscillatory transients for power systems . The voltage quickly rises above its normal level, and then gradually fades bac k to its normal level over several wave cycles. Interruptions occur when there is a temporary break in the power supplied. There are four types of interruptions: Instantaneous (0.5 cycles to 30 cycles), Momen tary (30 cycles to 2 seconds), Temporary (2 seconds to 2 minutes), and Sustained (longer than 2 minutes). An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) can provide shor t-term backup power during an interruption. A sag or dip is a reduction of AC voltage at a given frequency for a duration of 0.5 cycles to 1 minutes time. Sags are usually caused by system faults, and are also often the result of switching on loads with heavy startup currents. Common causes of sags include starting large loads, such as one might see when they fir st start up a large air conditioning unit, and remote fault clearing performed b y utility equipment. Power line conditioners and UPSs can compensate for sags or dips. According to the IEEE, Undervoltage is a Root Mean Square (RMS) decrease in the A C voltage, at the power frequency, for a period of time greater than one minute. An undervoltage is the result of long-term problems that create sags. The term br ownout has been in common usage in describing this problem, but has been supersed ed because the term is ambiguous in that it also refers to commercial power deli very strategy during periods of extended high demand. Undervoltages can create o verheating in motors, and can lead to the failure of non-linear loads such as co

mputer power supply failures. Undervoltages can overheat a motor or make a power supply fail. Power line conditioners and UPSs can compensate for undervoltages. A swell, or surge, is the reverse form of a sag, having an increase in AC voltag e for a duration of 0.5 cycles to 1 minutes time. For swells, high-impedance neu tral connections, sudden load reductions, and a single-phase fault on a 3-phase system are common sources. A swell is also prevalent when large loads are switch ed out of a system. Power line conditioners and UPSs can compensate for swells. According to the IEEE, overvoltage is an RMS increase in the AC voltage, at the p ower frequency, for durations greater than a few seconds. An Overvoltage is comm on in areas where supply transformer tap settings are incorrectly set, and where loads have been reduced and commercial power systems continue to compensate for load changes that are no longer necessary. This is common in seasonal regions w here communities diminish during off-season. Overvoltage conditions can create high current draw and unnecessary tripping of downstream circuit breakers, as we ll as overheating and stress on equipment. Power line conditioners and UPSs can compensate for overvoltage. Many different causes of waveform distortion exist. DC Offset happens when direc t current is added to an AC power source. DC Offset can damage electrical equipm ent, such as motors and transformers, by overheating them. Harmonic waveforms are another form of waveform distortion. Harmonics appear on the power distribution system as distorted current. Keep in mind that all equipm ent that does not have the advantage of modern harmonic-correction features shou ld be isolated on separate circuits. Voltage fluctuation is a systematic variation of the voltage waveform or a serie s of random voltage changes of small dimensions, namely 95 to 105% of nominal at a low frequency, and generally below 25 Hz. Power line conditioners and UPSs ca n compensate for voltage fluctuations. Frequency variation is extremely rare in stable, utility power systems, especial ly systems interconnected through a power grid. Where sites have dedicated stan dby generators or poor power infrastructure, frequency variation is more common especially if the generator is heavily loaded. IT equipment is frequency tolera nt, and generally not affected by minor shifts in local generator frequency. Next, we will follow the path of power distribution in the data center. Standby Power can be defined as any power source available to the data center th at takes over the function of supplying power when utility power is unavailable. Two common forms of standby power are mechanical generators that use electromagn etism to produce electricity, and electrochemical systems which use batteries a nd fuel cells to generate electrical current. Mechanical generator systems provi de power on large and small scales, for entire cities or for individual use. Ele ctrochemical generation is typically for smaller or temporary use. So, how is power distributed in the data center? Lets explore this concept next. Electricians often refer to one line diagrams. One line can be very simple to ve ry complex. At a minimum, it should illustrate the primary electrical components of the electrical system and illustrate how they link and interact with each ot her. This one line lets us see how electrical power is distributed in the data center from a server plug to outlet strips to Power Distribution Units (PDU) to UPS an d bypass to Automatic Transfer Switch to the primary power source (Utility) to t he emergency power source (Generator). Lets describe the function of each of these components. The utility provides the primary electrical power source for the data center. Id

eally, multiple utility feeds should be provided from separate sub-stations or p ower grids. While not essential, this action will provide back-up and redundancy . An emergency, back-up power source, in the form of a generator, can be positione d to bear the load of both data center components, as well as all essential supp ort equipment, such as air conditioners, in case of power disruption. A circuit is a path for electrical current to flow. A branch circuit is one, two , or more circuits whose main power is connected through the same main switch. E ach branch circuit should have its own grounding wire. All wires must be of the same gauge. An uninterruptible power supply, or UPS, is a device or system that maintains a continuous supply of electric power to certain essential equipment that must not be shut down unexpectedly. The UPS equipment is inserted between a primary powe r source, such as a commercial utility, and the primary power input of equipment to be protected, for the purpose of eliminating the effects of a temporary powe r outage and transient anomalies. An automatic transfer switch is a switch that will automatically switch the powe r supply from one power source to another, in case of power disruption or bypass mode. For example, if the utility fails, the automatic transfer switch would im mediately switch to UPS or generator power. A Power Distribution Unit (PDU) is a device that distributes electric power by u sually taking high voltage and amperage and reducing it to more common and usefu l rates, for example from 220V 30A single phase to multiple 110V 15A or 110V 20A plugs. It is used in computer data centers and sometimes has features like remo te monitoring, and control, down to plug level. (Please note: In many countries, such as in parts of Europe and Asia, voltages such as 220-240V and 400V are als o common.) An outlet strip is a strip of sockets which allows multiple devices to be plugge d in at one time, and usually includes a switch to turn all devices on and off. In a few cases, they may even have all outlets individually switched. Outlet str ips are often used when many electrical devices are in close proximity, especial ly with audio/video and computer systems. A server plug is the power plug or other type of electrical connector which mate s with a socket or jack, and in particular, is used with electrical or electroni c equipment in the data center. To summarize, lets review some of the information that we have covered throughout the course. Power infrastructure is critical to the uptime of any data center. Understanding basic power terms helps to better evaluate the interaction between the utility, standby power equipment and the load. Failures can occur at various points in the power infrastructure, but special ca re should be given to the condition and coordination of circuit breakers. Numerous power anomalies exist that can impact the uptime of data center equipme nt. Understanding the threats and applying practical power solutions such as uninter ruptible power supplies and generators can help to minimize the risk. Thank you for participating in this Data Center University course. To test your knowledge of the course material, click the Knowledge Checkpoint li nk on your Data Center University personal homepage. Important Point! The Knowledge Checkpoint link is located under BROWSE CATALOG o n the left side of the page.