DCD Awards 2019 Boden Winners
The team from Boden celebrating their win

Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program, The Boden Type Data Centre (BTDC) is an ambitious project aiming to optimise power consumption. The project focused on doing this by conducting a series of tests and publishing results via an Open Data Research Pilot, sharing these best practices with the broader ICT community.

The project is an innovative action plan that aims to understand how location, climate, cooling strategy types and distributions of digital workloads, building construction and operational aspects impact on overall energy consumption. This also ultimately impacts the data center’s efficiency as well as the TCO.

The integrated thermal management of individual chips through combined control of server fans and process cooling equipment is a standout innovative approach to asset management. The synchronized approach to cooling control effectively reduces energy consumption across scattered workload peaks of IOT applications, demonstrating an agile approach to cooling and energy consumption practices. The BTDC is an example of innovative construction and implementation of technology.

The award category is sponsored Datacenter Dynamics, as we aim to recognize not-for-profit initiatives that aim to deliver real benefits to community and industry.

Project Explained

The key aim of the BTDC project was to design, build and operate a small sub-1MW data center that is both energy efficient and cost effective. The initiative aimed to bring openness and relevant data to the marketplace in order to help inform the sector on ways in which an OCP style data center could become a more realistic solution. These solutions would utilice key principles of OCP; direct fresh air, low usage of water for cooling and humidification, and less waste in the power chain.

While it does not house a commercial workload, the BTDC is designated as a platform to test new innovations around cost and energy. Research partners such as Fraunhofer and Research Institutes of Sweden provide pivotal expertise in integration. The cooling and data center design are also crucial to the existence of the physical data center building.

The demonstration of low-cost construction and operation aims to influence a segment of the market to deliver open access to components of OCP servers that could mean future data center projects could take on a holistic approach to design and construction, whereby the IT and the facility are considered an integrated system. The open access to datasets could convince the sector that the BTDC is an improved approach to producing low cost, energy efficient, micro-size and flexible digital infrastructure solutions of the future.

Proof of Adoption

The project incorporated a number of proven innovative elements in construction and operation. The BTDC project demonstrates high-level building construction techniques, displaying potential for flexible applications, holistic ventilation control and ultra-high density direct fresh air cooling of the data center.

The unique, asymmetrical design of the BTDC building can accommodate multiple arrangements of cooling units in each pod, supporting IT loads of up to 1MW at the highest density. The simple construction methodology allows for rapid internal layout reconfiguration, which is designed to support existing and emerging markets including AI and 5G networks.

Overall, the significant melding of know-how across various data center related disciplines shows how ground-breaking research can be shared with, and influences data center practices at a global scale. BTDC’s demonstration of energy efficiency, low cost construction and operation puts forth the possibility to influence segments of the data center market.

Who were the other finalists?