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Efficient Multi-Server Power Supply for Datacenter?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by michael [multnomah], Feb 2, 2004.

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  1. I am designing a rack-mount server Datacenter that will house 50+
    identical ATX motherboard Servers. Rather than the ineffiency of having
    50 individual ATX 12V power supplies, I would like to have a central
    power supply that can power all the servers. I would also need to have
    a redundant/backup power supply, and battery backup for this system.
    Each server consumes only about 50W @ 12VDC, since there is no monitor
    and only a single hard drive. Anyone know of how I could
    design/purchase an efficient power supply system for these servers?
  2. Vaughn

    Vaughn Guest

    Several thoughts here:
    1) Do you really want to introduce one massive single point of failure?

    2) Don't ATX supplies make several voltages that are needed by the

    3) Wow! You will need a 208 amp supply! I would recommend several fairly
    heavy switching supplies that add up to about 300 amps. This will give you
    N+ redundancy so you can hot-swap bad units. There are several
    manufacturers out there. You will want metering so you can what is going on
    and especially so you can find bad units.

    4) One advantage of this setup is that you will not need a UPS for the
    servers. A (very large) wet-cell battery backup will be more efficient and
    far cheaper.

  3. What's the input spec on the 12V supply? If it's not too tight, it
    ought to be pretty easy to do. if you can handle 13.8 or 14.4 volts
    or so, I'd have a couple of battery chargers floating a set of
    batteries, and run the servers directly off the batteries. Depending
    on the voltage margins you can stand, you might do some balancing with

    Rather than have a single (even if redundant) point of failure, why
    not have 10 servers per power supply or something?
  4. Tim Shoppa

    Tim Shoppa Guest

    I would suggest a 48V telco-style battery bank followed by switching
    converters to whatever is appropriate for each piece of equipment.
    (The 48V is really more like 44 to 56V). This eliminates the "inverter"
    style of UPS. I put "inverter" in quotes because switching converters
    are similar to inverters, but without all the artificial requirements
    that don't matter to you.

    If your uptime requirements are high enough, you can probably easily
    justify two 48V battery banks and diode-feeding the individual PS's.

    ATX power supplies with 48V in show up on E-bay rather commonly.

    I got some very good answers (especially with regard to Meanwell
    48V to 12V converters) here last week on some similar requirements.

  5. Ken Taylor

    Ken Taylor Guest

    This is the 48V supply we use for exactly that application (PC's off 48V
    telco supply):

  6. R.Legg

    R.Legg Guest

    As others have pointed out, 12V doesn't make much sense as a single
    distribution bus unless board input tolerance includes the full range
    of a battery rectifier configuration - meaning point-of-load
    converters are used on your boards($).

    24, 36 or 48V may make more sense, and would use more commonly
    available hardware - but only if you are opting out of ATX mains-input
    converter or other lower-powered hardware-partitioned formats. If this
    is supposed to be low cost, the commercial ATX (~250W)format might
    offer flexibility; the next cost plateau is around 1KW for commercial
    regulated closed-frame 12V supplies.

    Normally you'd expect a certain amount of redundancy and hot-swapping
    capability in a system this size; also some concentration towards
    design efficiency and power conservation at the card level, to reduce
    the actual heat generated in the installation, and keep it's physical
    size within bounds.

    Regardless of the distribution format, it's a hefty load on a utility
    branch circuit, unless a 208-240VAC supply is intended, particularly
    if power factor is uncorrected.

  7. Thank you all for the excellent suggestions. I will research the 48V
    battery bank option with DC/DC ATX power supplies.

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