On cloud nine

Posted: February 9, 2012 in Power Generation

The back-up power system at NEXTDC in Brisbane includes three Cummins C2250 generator sets powered by 60-litre Cummins QSK60 engines, and three Cummins DMC1000 digital master control systems.

Emerging data centre operator NEXTDC is using Cummins generator sets to provide emergency back-up power at its new Brisbane facility.

Data centres are becoming big business as companies turn to outside specialists to provide managed data storage services.

NEXTDC was established in 2010 by Bevan Slattery, one of Australia’s most successful IT and internet entrepreneurs.

NEXTDC says its national portfolio of independent data centres will “enable the cloud revolution” by providing the high availability, connectivity and security that organisations need to transition to cloud computing – the term for services delivered via the internet.

Indeed, cloud computing is predicted to be one of the biggest growth industries in the history of business.

NEXTDC’s first data centre, in the Brisbane CBD, has been ‘live’ since September 2011 and is a high-quality Tier 3 facility guaranteeing 99.982% availability of data while also offering premium security.

Redundancy at the data centre is N+1 meaning all systems have at least one independent back-up so that there is system availability in the event of component failure.

A data centre’s massed racks of servers draw significant power and put out a lot of heat, placing considerable demand on power supply and air conditioning systems.

Emergency back-up power generation is thus a critical requirement for a data centre to ensure integrity and functionality of the hosted computer environment.

NEXTDC’s first data centre (in the Brisbane CBD) is a high-quality Tier 3 facility guaranteeing 99.982% availability of data while also offering premium security.

The back-up system at NEXTDC includes three Cummins Power Generation C2250 generator sets powered by 60-litre Cummins QSK60 engines, and three Cummins DMC1000 digital master control systems.

The 2250 kVA gensets work in conjunction with a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) system of batteries. In the event of a mains failure, the UPS system maintains power supply until the three gensets come on line and take over within 10 seconds.

The Cummins master control systems provide mains paralleling which allows seamless transfer of the data centre loads back to mains supply after a power outage.

This means there is no power interruption from generator supply to mains supply after an outage, so there is no impact on data centre services or computer systems.

The mains paralleling also benefits maintenance test runs in that the generators can be regularly exercised with true data centre loads without interrupting the building power supply.

David Levinge, who headed up the project for Cummins Brisbane, says the reputation of the Cummins Power Generation product and the ability to meet a short delivery time were key to the project success.

He points out that limited space and access were a real challenge for the project with the basement level the only option for the genset installation.

A number of meetings were held with the consulting engineers, ARUP, to bring all the concepts into a functional system.

This included the final operational philosophy of having three incoming mains supplies and each genset being able to synchronise with its respective feeder supply.

“Each generator needed to have its ‘top’ engine components, such as turbochargers, removed to reduce the height of the equipment for installation,” Levinge points out.

“All components removed were reassembled on site by our power generation service team to a high standard to ensure integrity of the equipment.”

Emergency back-up power generation is a critical requirement for a data centre to ensure integrity and functionality of the hosted computer environment.

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