Powerful Tool Helps Calculate Power Needs for Your Data Center

A recent report suggests that electricity use by data centers in the United States grew 36 percent between 2005 and 2010, dramatically less than the 100 percent growth predicted just a few years ago.


Julius Neudorfer over at CTO Edge questions the finer points of the report, noting that actually building out new, more efficient data centers requires energy, too. But clearly, the energy required to operate a data center continues to be the main expense of such initiatives over the long haul, and accurately estimating these expenses is essential in budgeting this major project.


Our partners at Info~Tech Research Group have developed a Data Center Power and Cooling Requirements Calculator that can help you compile specific power consumption information about your hardware and calculate overall data center requirements for both energy and cooling, another huge expense in running a data center. The tool is available free to IT Business Edge members here in the IT Downloads library.


Before you download the Excel-based tool, be advised - the process of calculating power and cooling requirements is extremely detailed, and even with the help of this useful tool will require hours of surveying and inventorying. It's a big project.


The spreadsheet includes seven tabs for collecting power usage information for your servers and other network equipment, backup power needs and overall data center specs. You can see a basic input screen below.



As you can tell from this most simple of data entry tabs, the tool deals in fine detail. Among other data points, it asks for the maximum number of people who may be in the data center at one time - opening access ways as workers come and go impacts the interior temperature of the server room. Other inputs include total square footage, the three-phase AC voltage provided at the service entrance, and the Watts rating of the total power drawn from the distribution.


Other input tabs get even more detailed, asking for power ratings for every server and network device in the data center, as you can see from the image of the networking hardware tab below.



For your servers, you are asked to provide:


  • Device Name
  • Server Model
  • Utilization Assumption
  • AMPS
  • Volts
  • Watts


AMPS and Volts typically can be found on server nameplates, if Watts ratings are not available. The spreadsheet actually calculates overall KW load based on the following equations:




kW = WATTS/1000


As we said, it's a highly detailed tool.


Based on the data you provide, the tool estimates power requirements, both future and current, for running your servers and hardware, cooling the data center, charging UPS and other backup power supplies, the critical loads that require standby backup, emergency lighting requirements - pretty much every component of power usage for your project. All the information is rolled up into a summary tab of 16 key factors, including size of backup generator needed and BTUs of cooling needed per square foot of the data center.

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