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Watt-Bit-Heat Synergy Helps Build Greener Data Centers

Mar 11, 2020

With the exponential growth of data traffic, data center equipment continues to consume an increasing amount of power, while more power is also required for heat dissipation. This means that the power usage effectiveness (PUE) of data centers needs to be reviewed. Energy conservation and emission reduction have both become global mandates, while environmental protection is key to achieving a global economy with sustainable development. In that regard, all countries are striving to achieve carbon neutrality. Against this backdrop, energy conservation has become an inevitable issue that needs to be discussed across the data center industry.

Recently, Paolo Gemma, Chairman of ITU-T SG5 WP2 "Environment, Energy Efficiency and the Circular Economy", and a senior expert of Huawei Network Energy in the data center domain, delivered a keynote speech, "Digital Technology Enables Green Data Center." During the speech, he noted how Huawei has been actively fulfilling its social responsibilities, which include reducing the impact of ICT products on the environment through innovative technologies, as well as using green and energy-saving products and solutions to protect our sky, forests, and oceans. Regarding data center facilities, Huawei controls watt, bit, and heat flows to dynamically match service development and promote data centers capable of saving energy.

Watt flow: improves conversion efficiency, reduces transmission paths and transmission loss, and improves energy efficiency per kW. This is achieved by utilizing high-efficiency conversion components (UPS), a power supply architecture with shorter power conversion and transmission paths, as well as solar energy to maximize clean energy efficiency.

Bit flow: promotes the continued evolution of product architecture to drive more bits with fewer watts, and reduces the per bit power consumption of computing, forwarding, and storage. At the network element (NE) level, SSDs with evolved architecture are replacing hard disks, and dedicated CPUs (such as GPU and NPU) are replacing general-purpose CPUs. These technologies improve the data transmission volume (48 x 400 GE/slot) of each board while also significantly reducing the power consumption per bit.

Heat flow: dissipates more heat with less power to reduce the power consumption of cooling per 1 kW of load. At the NE level, heat dissipation efficiency has further improved due to the advancement of material technologies. At the network level, Huawei iCooling@AI energy efficiency optimization technology, end-to-end collaboration, and system-level intelligent energy efficiency optimization reduce the PUE by approximately 8% to 15%. In addition, the indirect evaporative cooling solution, FusionCol, extends the duration of free cooling to maximize efficiency.

Huawei is not only a solutions provider, but also a practitioner that advocates "those who make parachutes should be the first to try them." The company uses its own cloud data centers for joint innovation and testing to verify innovative technologies and solutions, helping customers and partners achieve business success.

Huawei's enterprise data center (EDC) in Songshan Lake, Dongguan, utilizes solar power supply. In addition, Huawei's cloud data center in Ulanqab uses the indirect evaporative cooling solution, FusionCol and iCooling@AI energy efficiency optimization technology. The data center achieves an annual PUE that is as low as 1.15, setting an example of how green data centers should be built.

Recently, the iCooling@AI energy efficiency optimization technology has been successfully deployed at a China Mobile data center in Ningxia. According to the onsite test, the total energy consumption of the data center has reduced by 3.2% through free cooling during winter in phase 1, saving more than 400,000 kWh of electricity per year. As data center loads continue to increase, the cooling approach advances, and AI learning capability enhances, it is estimated that 6 million kWh of electricity will be saved in the data center every year, which is equivalent to a reduction of about 3 million kg of carbon dioxide emissions.

We believe in fully utilizing the benefits of technology to benefit people and keep spaces green. In the future, Huawei will continue to explore and innovate, as well as leverage more powerful yet friendly technologies to develop greener and more energy-saving products and solutions, providing significant technical support to cope with global climate change.