The characteristics of data center generatorsEduarda Mota
Thanks to the technological advances of the last decades, we live in the age of digitalization. The growth and globalization of the Internet, computer structures and knowledge, and the development of new information and communication technologies have brought us to a time when most of the information is produced and stored informatically.
Companies, governments, institutions, and people all over the world generate great amounts of data every day, which they share, store, and depend on for their work, tasks, and daily activities via cell phones, computers, the Internet, and mobile networks.
For this reason, data centers have very demanding and stringent energy needs, as they require stable electricity to run and maintain businesses, communications, and infrastructures online 24 hours a day.
It is therefore necessary to ensure a continuous and reliable power supply, since a failure, however brief, can mean great loss of information and, ultimately, great harm to businesses and people.
The use of one or more generators to support the operation of a data center can really make a difference, since it guarantees the energy stability needed to ensure the operation of servers and other equipment in the facility, and thus protects data integrity.
These generator sets must be robust and have adequate power for demanding needs. In addition, they must be prepared to operate continuously, avoiding oscillations in power transmission, or to operate in case of a power failure, helping the system remain active and preventing major losses.
Furthermore, these facilities have the specificity of operating in a cooled environment and therefore with a controlled temperature, which means that adjacent structures such as air conditioning or refrigeration systems also depend on a stable power supply.
Data centers cannot, in fact, stop and their operation, as already mentioned, obeys some specific conditions, so the generators supporting these facilities also have some characteristics of their own:
- They can operate either on a continuous basis, being the main source of power, or on an emergency basis, operating in case of a mains failure
- They must be able to operate for long periods of time, and therefore must be equipped with fuel tanks of great autonomy
- For the same reason, the engines and systems used must be as efficient as possible to avoid unnecessary and excessive consumption
- The engine generally has electronical regulation, since it is essential to guarantee optimum voltage and frequency conditions in case of faults and breakdowns
- In the case of standby generator sets, they are often equipped with a redundant starting system to ensure 100% start-up of the generator at critical moments. These systems can be electric + hydraulic or electric + pneumatic
- It is also common to include a circuit breaker with differential protection, to protect against overloads, short circuits, and indirect contacts
- Their powers range quite a bit, depending on the consumption of the installation, and, in more demanding projects, it is possible to use more than one generator working in parallel
- Periodic maintenance is fundamental to guarantee a long life and the correct operation of the equipment
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