International designer and manufacturer of diesel engines and power generation systems Cummins Inc. has partnered with global data centre giant Digital Realty to provide critical diesel generator back-up infrastructure at new data centres in Sydney and Melbourne.
To counteract the considerable demand on power supply and air-conditioning systems by numerous servers at data centres, Cummins’ initial installation involved six C2250 gensets at each data centre, along with custom-built acoustic enclosures and fuel systems.
The emergency back-up power is critical to ensure integrity and functionality of the computer environment. Both data centres are Tier 3 certified as defined by the Uptime Institute. The core Tier 3 requirement is maintenance can be performed on any part of the mechanical or electrical plant in the facility without impacting the computer equipment.
Under Tier 3 certification, the generator power is regarded as the prime power for the data centre and thus the gensets must be rated for continuous operation – 1600kW in the case of the C2250 genset, which is powered by Cummins’ 60 litres QSK60 engine.
The gensets are part of the redundancy at the data centres, which is N+1, meaning all systems have at least one independent back up in the event of component failure.
The gensets work in conjunction with a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) system of batteries. In the event of a mains failure, the UPS system maintains power supply until the gensets come on-line and take over within 10 seconds.
In Melbourne, each genset has an integrated 20,000 litres base tank meaning they are capable of full load operation for a minimum 48 hours. In Sydney 80,000 litres of underground diesel storage capacity guarantees the roof-mounted gensets can run a minimum 24 hours at full load.