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Introduction

Founded in 1996, 21Vianet — a leading data center service provider with 39,000 cabinets and more than 50 data centers — has more than 5000 customers across diverse domains, including several Fortune Global 500 enterprises.

Challenges

Many enterprises are becoming increasingly dependent on cloud service data centers, but the functions and benefits that they offer simply aren’t supported by traditional data centers, where the basic construction model hasn’t changed for decades. For instance, a cloud service data center needs IT computing power that is flexible and can easily be expanded, to cope with business growth. But the traditional power systems found in data centers can’t manage this and only support one-time deployment.

That makes such systems costly, too. The initial investment required is necessarily inflated, since an enterprise needs to build in sufficient resource to cover future requirements, perhaps two or three times more than the initial need. And as costs spiral, significant vacancy is inevitable, as excess infrastructure lies dormant until some unspecified future date.

In addition, the lead-acid batteries that are typically used in traditional data center power systems have a large physical footprint and provide only low power efficiency, leading to high rents and electricity costs. This kind of battery poses a real safety risk, too, from leakage to distortion and even explosion. Compounding the problem, the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) systems typically used in traditional data centers are incapable of predicting such safety risks, and specialized personnel are required to conduct time-consuming O&M tasks.

As a Multi-Tenant Data Center (MTDC) service provider, 21Vianet suffered from all of these drawbacks, and it decided it wanted to construct a new data center that could support flexible service deployment and improve revenues by increasing the out-of-counter rate and decreasing power consumption.

Huawei’s Solution

To meet 21Vianet’s needs, Huawei designed an end-to-end data center solution supported by the Huawei SmartLi Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), including 28 sets of modular UPS 5000-E-500K and 40 sets of SmartLi 2.0 cabinets. This data center solution supports flexible service deployment, lowers Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), and ensures a higher out-of-counter rate.

21Vianet’s new data center benefits from a fully modular UPS design. The power module, monitoring module, and bypass module are all hot-swappable — meaning they can be replaced within minutes, greatly improving O&M efficiency.

In addition, the lead-acid batteries used in the previous data center solution have been replaced with Li-ion batteries. With eco-friendly and safe Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) cells, the deployment of SmartLi UPS has led to a 50% reduction in the amount of space needed —representing a significant reduction in rent — with a service lifespan that’s twice as long as traditional lead-acid batteries.

SmartLi UPS also allows for the simultaneous use of both old and new modules, enabling phased capacity expansion.

Crucially, SmartLi UPS is also intelligent. With Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered O&M, SmartLi UPS accurately predicts both capacitance and the lifespan of fans, the temperature of key nodes, and battery capacity, achieving smart, predictive — rather than passive — O&M.

Customer Benefits

Since Huawei deployed this data center solution, 21Vianet has enjoyed tangible benefits. For example, with a 50% reduction in the solution’s physical footprint — freeing up additional space for more IT cabinets — 21Vianet has improved its out-of-counter rate by 10%, helping it serve more customers and increase revenue.

With 97% power efficiency, SmartLi UPS is also helping 21Vianet to make huge savings in the electricity fees it pays. And since SmartLi UPS can function for up to ten years without needing to be replaced — twice the lifecycle of traditional lead-acid batteries — replacement costs have been eliminated for the foreseeable future. As a net result, the TCO of the solution has been significantly lowered.

Simplified O&M also brings big benefits: the AI-powered system monitors the ‘health’ of the system in real-time, with hot-swappable parts easily replaced within five minutes. Simpler and more efficient, there is no longer any need to wait for a specialized engineer to arrive, either: O&M can be easily performed by onsite staff.

Finally, by using SmartLi UPS, more investment opportunities have opened for 21Vianet. Since the solution features unique intelligent current equalization technology, flexible service deployment and phased capacity expansion are both supported when the need arises, meaning that the initial investment required can be reduced, ultimately ensuring the liquidity of capital.

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