GE, Trane Team Up to Manage Data Center Energy Use

GE, Trane Team Up to Manage Data Center Energy Use

Trane and GE have teamed up on a new solution that's designed to help data center operators knock down costs for their biggest spend: energy.

Ingersoll Rand's Trane brand and GE launched the Tracer XT on Monday and showed it off at the DatacenterDynamics trade show in Toronto. The product is the first to emerge from an agreement between GE and Ingersoll Rand to develop solutions that improve management and operation of data centers.

The Tracer XT, which is scheduled for release in January, brings together Trane's expertise in building automation systems and the data management and analytic strength of GE's Proficy enterprise software, part of the company's ecomagination portfolio.

The result is an application that pulls together all available data from the systems that support data center operations from basic power to HVAC, lighting, safety and security systems. The solution allows data center operators to view performance in real time with the help of a dashboard. The application also is supposed to help data center operators detect situations or conditions that need attention so they don't develop into major problems.

"You can look at power consumption as it relates to chiller load, you can look at what your server temperatures are doing, and modulate all the data together in a unified solution set," said Jon Summers, Trane portfolio manager for systems controls, in a video about the Tracer XT.

GE and Trane installed a Tracer XT at a GE data center in Cincinnati that was being upgraded. With 29,000 square feet of raised floor, more than 3,800 servers and a 2/5 megavolt-ampere uninterruptible power supply, the data center consumed some 24 million kWh of electricity each year, according to the firms.

GE installed almost 30 of its products to improve power quality, the chilled water system and electrical, security and IT services equipment at the facility. The Tracer XT was layered onto those systems and helped bring about an 11 percent boost in efficiency and a 20 percent reduction in water use, the companies said.

Data centers use as much as 100 times the energy per square foot of a standard building, Trane noted in a white paper, citing research by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Gartner Inc. has estimated that 12 percent of data center expenses are related to energy, making it the single largest cost for such facilities. Other research has ballparked the total annual energy costs of data centers at the U.S. at $3.3 billion.

Those costs are expected to grow as energy prices continue to rise and demand for data center capacity increases, resulting in more energy use. Globally, energy use by data centers is expected to climb 19 percent increase in the next 12 months, according to research by DatacenterDynamics.

"Energy consumption has always been a concern for data center managers," the white paper by Trane said. "But growth in demand for computing capacity coupled with a sluggish economy and rising energy prices has made energy efficiency a top priority for operators of mission essential."

Images courtesy of Trane.