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Generator Delays May Slow Data Center Projects 257

miller60 writes "The data center building boom is causing backlogs for new generator orders, with some companies reporting delivery delays of up to a year for new 2,000kw units, which are the current standard for mission-critical facilities. Generator availability is 'the No. 1 thing that will drive your construction schedules,' according to Equinix, which is building centers in three major markets. 'This will be a big issue for the next wave of data center builds,' says another industry executive. Used generators and smaller units tend to be more available than the 2 megawatt units, but companies targeting the enterprise sector may be wary of relaying on used units or smaller generators than those powering competing facilities."
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Generator Delays May Slow Data Center Projects

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  • Re:2 MEGAwatts?!?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:04PM (#16580648) Homepage
    Why don't they just go find an old diesel locomotive and convert that into a generator? Or get a really big diesel truck. A diesel generator isn't much more than a diesel engine. I see opportunities here for new manufacturers.
  • Re:2 MEGAwatts?!?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MadEE ( 784327 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:07PM (#16580714)
    A deisel train engine is a generator the traction motors on the train are just that motors that are driven by the generator. It's actually a really cool design for a vehicle and allows for breaking using resistive loads across the traction motors (aka dynamic breaking)
  • Re:2 MEGAwatts?!?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SevenHands ( 984677 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:09PM (#16580742)
    "Wow, just wow. That's just an incredible amount of power to be putting in a datacenter. Is it even possible for these centers to run off the grid?" The generators have to supply enough on demand power to satisfy peak requirements. Examples could be getting the elevator(s) stuck between floors to where they're supposed to go. Air conditioning is another large power drain and in a datacentre, there are huge quantities of heat contributing components to deal with. Even backup lighting utilizes a surprising amount of power.
  • Re:DC power? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Silver Sloth ( 770927 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:12PM (#16580790)
    You can keep your generator(s) running indefinitely. Certainly longer than any predictable power outage, but if you're running on batteries you're against the clock. What are you going to do when they start to run down - nip over to the 7-11 and buy all the AAs they've got?
  • Re:2 MEGAwatts?!?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by drrck ( 959788 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @01:23PM (#16581022)
    You are correct that a GenSet is not that much more than a generator paired with a diesel engine, however the entire engine industry as a whole is somewhat supplier constrained.
    If a new company were to come and attempt to meet the demand present they would be fighting for the same parts and resources that other more established companies are.
  • Hogwash (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Critical Facilities ( 850111 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @02:41PM (#16582428)
    Our datacenter has about 24,000 sq feet of raised floor (not huge by datacenter standards) and we have 2 x 2MegaWatt Generators (as well as redundant utility feeds). To say that 2MW is too much power in this case shows your lack of understanding of what a "MAJOR data center with plenty of redundancy" means.

    Prior to working here, I was an engineer at one of the main datacenters for a big Texas based IT provider (think Ross Perot) and their datacenter had over 100,000 sq feet of raised floor. At last count, they were up to 9 750KW generators and badly in need of more.

    While we're on it, cooling towers do not provide chilled water, they provide CONDENSER WATER, and I promise you that they would not be able to satisfy your cooling needs in a MAJOR datacenter for 2 hours in the event of a chiller failure.

    I can appreciate your being surprised at the power/cooling requirements of a datacenter, but don't let your experience at 1 "datacenter" fool you into thinking you know about all datacenters, as like most things, they are not all created equal. In truth, what is one man's datacenter is another man's "server room".

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury