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When It Comes To Data Center Cooling, Think Smaller


Smaller data centers could be the next big thing. 

Deep learning, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology are becoming a new reality, requiring more power and producing more heat in data centers. Owners and operators continue to invest in cooling systems that control the climate in their facilities, but many do not have the space to implement traditional cooling systems. To save energy while supporting a tech-driven future, an increasing number of users are operating micro data centers. These shrunken-down, self-contained data centers can live inside larger, traditional brick-and-mortar data centers to store and control more information, allowing owners and operators to cool an increasing amount of hardware. 

“Data is being used in a whole new way, and computing and storage are being moved to the edge of the network,” STULZ USA Director of Industry Standards and Technology Dave Meadows said. “These micro data centers support growing tech trends because they have the capacity to support high-density computing using a hybrid air and liquid cooling solution.”

When Meadows and his team first introduced the micro data center, they were thinking about how it would support an increasingly data-driven future. In addition to supporting a larger, brick-and-mortar data center operation, the micro data center functions as a portable solution that can solve the challenges of edge computing. It has all the characteristics of a traditional data center, with the benefit of a smaller footprint and easier transport to remote locations.

“We created the micro data center with the anticipation that low latency requirements will drive the need for smaller data centers operating on the edge of the network,” Meadows said. “We have become more dependent on the Internet of Things. In the future, we will have more autonomous vehicles and possibly even drones that deliver packages, so the amount of time it takes to transfer data back and forth between a moving vehicle and a data center becomes critical. The only way we can shorten that response time is by moving the data centers closer to where that data is actually needed.”


A higher level of data traffic can cause the data centers that support it to overheat. The STULZ Micro DC offers a cooling system that cools high-density servers using both air and water, preventing overheating. A data center’s largest monetary cost is its power consumption, and a product like the micro data center can cool up to 80 kilowatts of IT heat load, while using only 50% of the power required for traditional data center cooling.

As people continue to use data in different ways, the risk of network congestion grows. At best, high latency can cause minor inconveniences to data users, like preventing a YouTube video from loading. At worst, it can impact mandatory services, like public transportation updates or hospital technology systems. Digital traffic is expected to increase 23% annually, Gartner reported. 

This is just the beginning of what is bound to become a much larger push toward micro data centers across the industry. The market will be worth $6.3B by 2020, according to a report from MarketsAndMarkets. 

As big data continues to grow, the data centers that support it will do just the opposite. 

Meadows will be speaking at Bisnow’s Data Center and Investment Conference and Expo in Tysons, Virginia. Find out more here. 

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and STULZ USA. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.