Chinese telecom giant ZTE Corporation has collaborated with internet company Tencent to deliver a full mobile containerised, energy-efficient data centre.

Data centre development in China has accelerated in recent times with over 400,000 data centres operating in China today. According to China’s MIIT, the annual power consumption of China’s data centre industry exceeds 1.5% of the total power consumption of the whole of China. This is creating an urgency to initiate more industry-leading green and energy-saving data centre projects as the power usage effective (PUE) of the majority of China’s data centres is higher than 2.2—while global average for data centres is around 1.7, according to 2014 data from the Uptime Institute.

This prompted ZTE and Tencent to jointly construct a full mobile data centre—the Tencent West Lab.

The Tencent West Lab features multiple technological breakthroughs, most notably an overall power usage effectiveness (PUE) level of 1.0665, including photovoltaic gains, based on uninterrupted 24-hour load tests by China Academy of Telecommunication Research, the companies said in a joint statement.

The key elements that have realised significant energy savings lie in two major areas—the cooling system and the power distribution system. The West Lab data centre uses a unique power supply combination of solar photovoltaic + HVDC + mains power. With respect to cooling, the project is the first in China to put indirect evaporative free cooling technology into business application. The EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) achieved by this method can reach 16.0, which is five times the efficiency of conventional mechanical compression cooling air-conditioning systems.

Tencent West Lab 02 Figure 1: Tencent western Lab is specially designed to test the energy efficiency of Adia-DENCO, which uses indirect evaporative cooling. The project is equipped with 2 Adia-DENCO units with design load 120kW. (Source: DencoHappel)

Another big innovation from the project is ZTE’s “T-block” design feature. Using a prefabricated container approach, ZTE is breaking the traditional lengthy civil engineering cycle of constructing a data centre so that the data center can be constructed block by block in a modular fashion. The equipment can be installed within two weeks after being shipped to the site. Equipment can be assembled and deployed in “mobile mode” to enable a fully transportable and mobile green and energy-saving data centre.

The West Lab facility also uses ZTE’s self-developed iDCIM data center infrastructure smart management system to realise asset unit management, smart linkage operation of sub-systems, and RFID (Radio Frequency 2 Identification) wireless management and control to help Tencent realise smart and efficient operations and management (O&M) processes.