Gartner Research

High-Voltage Power Distribution for Data Centers

Published: 14 March 2014

ID: G00249354

Analyst(s): Steve Ohr

Summary

There is consensus that higher distribution voltages offer potential for improved power efficiency for data centers. Data center managers and builders will find that the elimination of voltage conversion steps will promote higher energy-transfer efficiencies and deliver considerable power savings.

Table Of Contents
  • Impacts

Analysis

Impacts and Recommendations

  • Attention-grabbing computing industry players like Google and Facebook are publicly exploring ways to increase energy efficiencies. Data center builders will find that elevated distribution voltage levels make it easier to deliver power to higher-density data center racks.
  • Data center builders should note that even data center veterans like HP are recognizing that improved energy-transfer efficiency can be obtained by eliminating voltage conversion steps. The improvements can save as much as 15%.
  • Experimental data suggests that direct current (DC) power distribution can offer higher energy-transfer efficiencies than alternating current (AC). Data center builders, however, should be aware the actual energy savings may not justify the higher cost of equipment.

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