Few of the tourists and faithful who gather in Uspenski Cathedral in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, are aware that banks of servers are whirring away in an underground cavern just beneath them. Academica, the information technology service company that owns the data center, is particularly proud of this facility, though not because of its unusual location.
"The data center in Katajanokka is the most energy efficient in the world," said Marko Vanninen, the company's chief executive officer.
Using sea water and heat exchangers to cool the servers, Academica's data center uses 80 percent less energy for cooling than centers that rely on traditional methods. The heat that is produced by the servers is fed into the municipal heating network.
The data center also uses power distribution units (PDUs) from ABB. These units enable effective management of the energy consumption of the servers and improve the reliability of electrical distribution in the center.
Data centers worldwide used 80 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2010, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, equivalent to 1½ times the annual power consumption of New York City. A data center on average uses 100 times more power than an office building of the same size, making energy efficiency an important factor in data center profitability.
"ABB's PDU solutions help to more effectively manage the data center's capacity, and the energy consumption of the servers and of the cooling systems," said Academica's Vanninen.
The ABB power distribution units report when they require maintenance, which helps to reduce the number of interventions made. They can also be kept in operation while maintenance is performed, a feature that significantly reduces operational costs. Energy consumption is monitored in real time so that this can also be optimized.
"Our international experience in critical power distribution is based on decades of active development related to products, systems and services around energy efficiency," said Timo Kontturi, ABB's Sales Manager for data center industry in Finland.
ABB's offering for data centers includes motors and drives for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, which account for about half of the energy consumed in data centers. In addition, ABB has recently acquired a controlling interest in US-based Validus DC Systems, a leading provider of direct current (DC) power infrastructure equipment for energy-intensive data centers, as well as a stake in Power Assure, a developer of power management and optimization software for data centers.
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