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Future Facilities Guides Data Center Industry on Calibration for Predictive Modeling
|By Business Wire
|June 3, 2014 06:30 AM EDT
Facilities, a leading provider of data
center design and operations management software, today announced
that Mark Seymour, data center cooling expert and chief technical
officer at Future Facilities, has published the first in a series of
white papers explaining the importance of model refinement and
calibration when predictively modeling the availability, physical
capacity and cooling efficiency of a data center. Aimed at
is a Valid Data Center Model? An Introduction to Calibration for
Predictive Modeling brings clarity to an area of data center
operations that is increasingly important.
For many data center owner-operators, using computational fluid dynamics
(CFD) simulations to predictively model the impact that future changes
will have on availability, physical capacity and cooling efficiency
(ACE), or to help resolve ACE problems in a data center, is second
And, despite the historical connotations that CFD brings to mind – a
complex and intimidating solution requiring expert knowledge to use –
the reality is that predictive modeling has never been simpler or easier
for the lay person to take advantage of.
But the success of predictive modeling still lies ultimately in the
hands of the user. Summed up colloquially as “garbage in, garbage out”,
the most pressing dangers for predictive modelers are that their
computer models lack fidelity and are uncalibrated. Why? Because
low-fidelity models (garbage in) lead to inaccurate results (garbage
out) that bear no resemblance to reality (uncalibrated).
For some, the solution to the “garbage in, garbage out” challenge is not
to improve the model and calibrate it, but to lazily fix the results of
the model to match what is being seen in real life. “That renders the
model useless”, says Seymour. Instead, “owner-operators and consultants
must exercise due diligence: review and measure the actual installation,
then improve the accuracy of the model until it produces dependable
So, how do you make the model dependable? How do you calibrate
it? Seymour’s paper provides introductory answers to exactly that
question, highlighting that it is a fairly simple process, but one that
benefits from a systematic approach. He promises follow-on papers later
in the year that will cover specific problem areas, but for the moment
he reveals in this paper what 20 years’ experience has taught him are
the most common mistakes that people make.
Using real life examples illustrated using Future Facilities’ 6SigmaDC
suite of tools, he shows how to overcome systematic errors affecting
floor tiles, grilles, cabinets, cable bundles and other common data
center objects. Seymour also provides advice on the “tough modeling
decisions”, including whether or not to model poorly defined
obstructions “such as water pipes under a cooling unit”. Specific advice
is provided for calibration of the air supply system and its component
parts, with Seymour cautioning upfront, “Do not overlook the fact that
it is not just the bulk airflow that matters, but also the flow
By the end of the text, the reader will not only have a sound
appreciation for good, systematic calibration practice, but also
understand that, “while the overall facility is complex, many of the
individual elements can be individually assessed”. Seymour concludes by
saying, “this will make it possible to diagnose why the initial
model does not adequately represent the facility… normally, it won’t!”.
Download the Paper:
What is a Valid Data Center Model? An Introduction to Calibration for
Predictive Modeling is available here:
About Mark Seymour:
Mark Seymour is chief technical officer and a founding member at Future
Facilities, which this year celebrates its tenth anniversary. With an
academic background in applied science and numerical mathematics, Mark
enjoyed a successful career in the defense industry for over a decade
before moving to the commercial sector. There he has since accumulated
20 years’ experience in the cooling of data center and communication
environments. A recognized expert in the predictive modeling of airflow
for building HVAC and data centers in particular, Mark is an industrial
advisory board member of NSF-ES2 research program and a corresponding
member actively participating in ASHRAE TC9.9.
About Future Facilities
For nearly a decade, Future Facilities has provided software and
consultancy to the world’s largest data center owner-operators and to
leading electronics designers. The company, which is privately funded,
optimizes data center utilization through continuous modeling. In doing
so, it has saved its customers millions of dollars. Innovative and
progressive, Future Facilities is today unique in the market place; it
is the only company providing scientifically-sound answers to the
what-ifs? that have for so long been impossible to answer with real
Additional information can be found at http://www.futurefacilities.com.
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