RACA Journal June 2016 - Page 69

Professionals who care Michael Young Michael Young iis a trainer, coach and contracts engineer in the HVAC industry. He graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in the field of Mechanical Engineering (B.Sc Mech Eng) in 2008 and qualified as a Professional Engineer (Pr.Eng) in 2013. Michael is passionate about promoting knowledge and helping other young engineers grow within the industry through his training workshops and coaching sessions. Technology that cools the cloud (part 1) By Michael Young (Pr.Eng) How are the words ‘like’, ‘post’, and ‘hashtag’ related to the cloud? And what does this mean for you? T he use of particular words are constantly evolving and if you ask your children the meaning of ‘like’, ‘post’ and ‘hashtag’, you will get answers that will leave you in a state of confusion. So, have our children become more intelligent than the older generation? The answer is no, children are evolving and have now been integrated into an incredible world called ‘social media’. So what is social media and how is it shaping the world? Social media is a set of computer-mediated tools that allow people to create or exchange information such as photos, videos and ideas in a virtual community or network. Such virtual communities include Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter. Associated with these virtual communities are certain actions that can be performed and hence, words such as like, post and hashtag have taken on a new meaning. When you post a photo on a virtual community such as Facebook, the data you are sending is stored on the organisation’s server through the internet. This information is then made available for others to see and comment on when they log into the same virtual community. To store and share information within a virtual community, the organisation will require a large network and large group of servers that will allow the transfer and storage of information. This type of computing has evolved to be termed ‘cloud computing’ and has given birth to the term ‘the cloud’ in computer terminology. So where is all the equipment stored to create a cloud? When a virtual community is created, the organisation builds a facility called a data centre. A data centre hosts various components such as servers, power supplies, data communication connections and cooling equipment. Each of these components is required for the optimal running of a data centre. We also know that a server requires power and some form www.hvacronline.co.za #ProfessionalsWhoCare of communication to transfer data. But why do we need cooling equipment? Have I just included this component to confuse you or is it really a necessity for the optimal performance of a data centre? To answer this question, one needs to dig a little deeper into the workings of a server to fully understand why we would need some form of cooling in a data centre. For a server to function, we need to supply some form of energy. This type of energy comes in the form of electricity. So the electrical energy entering the server is then converted into mechanical energy and heat. The build-up of heat within a server can eventually lead to failure as you run the risk of blowing the central processing unit (CPU). Therefore, to dissipate the heat away from the CPU, server manufacturers install fans within the server unit. So the server fan draws cool air from the surroundings and passes it over the CPU. This cool air absorbs the heat from the CPU and increases in temperature. This warm air is then thrown back into the surrounding area. In a closed space such as a data centre, the air is constantly re-circulated and, eventually, the environment within the entire data centre will start to increase in temperature. So if you were appointed as the new thermal management engineer, where would you begin with the design of your new data centre? What return air temperatures would you select as the initial design? What type of technology would you use? The answer to this is… Find out in next month’s publication where we will share with you a step by step formula that will help you select the initial design parameters for the thermal management design of your new data centre. To learn more about cooling technology, visit www.mike-young.com or email engineer@mike-young.com. Wishing you a successful month ahead. RACA RACA Journal I June 2016 67