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Case studies

Cool air for important data

An impressive 13,000 cubic meters of concrete and steel were used to protect around 3,300 racks of high-performance servers at a data center in Offenbach. The GKD Group also played an important role in ensuring that the equipment doesn’t overheat.

It is estimated that more than 50 percent of all corporate data worldwide is now processed in cloud storage. Contrary to what the term may suggest, the corresponding servers are very much located on the ground in highly secure data centers. One of them is Vantage Data Center Frankfurt I in Offenbach. Completed in 2020, the five-story construction is one of the largest state-of-the-art data centers in Germany. In addition to the strictest security standards, the new building also had to meet high standards of sustainability and energy efficiency. The relationship between the total energy consumption of a data center and that of the IT infrastructure is particularly important in this respect. The Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) value derived from this relationship is below 1.3 in Offenbach and thus significantly below the average value of 1.63 for other data centers in Germany. (Source: DC MAG, issue 15 (December 2021), publisher: DC-DATA CENTER GROUP GmbH).

An important factor in the good PUE value of the building in Offenbach is its sophisticated power supply and cooling system. The DC-DATA CENTER GROUP GmbH from Wallmenroth planned and built the entire data center. Redundant server cooling is an essential component of its overall concept that includes additional air-conditioning units on the building’s north side. These units, each measuring around 17 meters long and almost six meters high, are individually enclosed by steel shelving clad with a stainless steel fabric from GKD’s Omega 1520 series. Sebastian Rick, Project Manager for Architecture Mesh at GKD, says, “On the one hand, the units must be protected from external access, but on the other hand they need constantly circulating fresh air. These are properties that our architectural mesh fulfills.” What’s more, the stainless steel mesh also blends in visually with the modern building complex. That’s why Omega 1520 was also installed on two exterior stairwells. A panel extends over a height of almost 20 meters and a width of more than five meters, providing protection from direct sunlight and fall protection on the stairs. 

At the request of DC-DATA CENTER GROUP GmbH, which is responsible for the construction, and the architects, more than 400 square meters of stainless steel fabric panels were installed directly by GKD. “This isn’t the usual procedure,” says Rick, “but it has the great advantage that we can be sure that the external trades don’t make any mistakes.” The GKD team was on site to install the fabric in two phases of three days each. Christian Tigges, Head of Major Projects at DC-DATA CENTER GROUP GmbH, also reported positively on the project: “The collaboration with GKD worked very well and fitted in seamlessly with our tight construction schedule.” Accordingly, the building was handed over to the American end customer on schedule in fall 2021 and put into operation a few weeks later. Since then, the MAIN DC has been not only a secure, but also an energy-efficient storage location for sensitive data.  

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