Data Center Mechanical and Electrical Design and Operation

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Course Overview

Computer data centers are rapidly evolving, and are critical for many new industrial and educational installations. However, they're complex to design and maintain, and need a large infrastructure of mechanical and electrical systems. Learn how to improve the reliability, serviceability and efficiency of their operation while increasing your understanding of code requirements, issues involved in site selection, reliability and resilience, and engineering design assumptions and criteria. You'll learn how to implement the commissioning process and identify energy saving measures for your projects.

Who Should Attend?

  • IT facility operators and system administrators
  • Mechanical and electrical design engineers
  • Architects and project team consultants
  • Construction managers and contractors
  • Data industry equipment vendors
  • Government procurement personnel

Course Outline

Day 1

Welcome and Student Introductions 

Introduction to the IT Industry

  • Trends in IT equipment
    • Servers, storage improvements
    • Electricity usage
  • Uses of IT equipment
    • Internet
    • Devices and their uses
    • Traffic
    • IoT
    • Big data
  • Infrastructure supporting IT equipment

ASHRAE and Environmental Criteria

  • ASHRAE Technical Committee 9.9
  • ASHRAE air environments
  • Air contamination
  • ASHRAE liquid environments
  • ASHRAE standards for data centers

 Performance Analysis and Optimization

  • Data center standards and metrics
  • ASHRAE Standard 90.1 and 90.4
    • 90.1 – Overview
    • 90.4 – Mechanical load component (MLC) and electrical loss component (ELC)
  • The Green Grid (TGG) Metrics
    • Power usage effectiveness (PUE)
    • WUE and CUE
    • Other TGG metrics

Data Center Architecture

  • Data center layout
    • Planning a data center floor (cold aisle / hot aisle)
    • Raised floor vs. non-raised floor
    • Cabling overhead / dilution type
    • Modular data center
  • Air cooling
    • Air flow configurations
    • CFD analysis

Mechanical Design Considerations

  • Overview of mechanical infrastructure
  • Psychrometrics
  • Heat rejection systems
  • Chillers
  • Computer room air conditioners / handlers
  • Economizers
  • Liquid cooling systems


Day 2

Electrical Codes and Standards

  • NFPA 70, National Electrical Code (NEC)
  • NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace
  • NFPA 75, Standard for the Fire Protection of Information Technology Equipment
  • IEEE Std. 1100, IEEE Recommended Practice for Powering and Grounding Electronic Equipment (IEEE Emerald Book)

Electrical Design Criteria

  • Critical power distribution
  • Uninterruptible power supply (UPS)
  • Utility service and voltage classes
  • Standby power and emergency generators
  • Primary power and transfer switches
  • Electrical capacity management

IT Equipment

  • IT equipment design
    • ITE thermal design and features
    • Air cooling implementations
    • Liquid cooling implementations
  • Server performance and rack density
    • Workloads and configurations
    • Power trends
  • Interaction with the data center
    • X factor reliability analysis
    • Pressure, Delta T, airflow

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM)

  • Goals and use cases
  • Reporting structure


Day 3

Defining Uptime Expectations

  • Standards and guidelines
  • Best practices
  • Mechanical system topologies
  • Electrical system topologies
  • Performance analysis and optimization
  • Risk and availability assessment 

Case Studies

  • Tier IV with 2,400 kW IT Load (NJ)
    • Conversion from ex Tier II
  • Tier IV with 7,200 kW IT load (AZ)
    • Four-story building
  • Tier III with 2,400 kW IT Load (MN)
    • Equipment galleries
  • Tier III with 6,400 kW IT load (CO)
    • Modular data halls

Facility and IT Operations

  • Commissioning:  Levels 1 – 5
  • Procedures – MOPs, SOPs, EOPs
  • Staffing and training
  • Preventive maintenance
  • Strategic infrastructure planning


“Didn’t know what to expect. The class was very informative and well run. Having PE’s present at the class made the discussion worthwhile.”
—Brett, Maryland Procurement Office, Ft. Meade, Maryland

"The course provided a great overview of the data center design world that is both practical and useful."
—Ben, Building Infrastructure Group Lead, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkley, California

"We have a big data center re-do facing us; I am now armed with enough info to be dangerous.”
—Walter, Tarrant County College District, Fort Worth, Texas

"Very informative and was helpful to be presented by industry experts." 
—Dave, Northwestern Mutual, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

“Absolutely! Wish I knew about this course last year!”
—Philip, United States Postal Service, Eagan, Minnesota

"I attended in order to gain a better understanding of the areas in my profession. I feel much more confident in supporting current and future clients."
—Iain, Compu Dynamics, Sterling, Virginia


Dustin Demetriou

Dr. Demetriou is a Senior Engineer at IBM Corporation in the IBM Systems’ Advanced Thermal Energy Efficiency Lab. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Syracuse University. His research is focused on the analysis, application and optimization of energy conversion systems, particularly in the area of high-density data centers and high-performance buildings, and the development of advanced electronics cooling technologies. He has co-authored two books in the ASHRAE Datacom Series, authored or coauthored over thirty journal and peer-reviewed conference publications in the areas of building simulation and energy efficient data centers and has been granted fourteen United States patents. He is the Vice Chair and a voting member of ASHRAE Technical Committee 9.9 on Mission Critical Facilities, Data Centers, Technology Spaces and Electronic Equipment. He is also the Finance Chair for the IEEE ITherm (Intersociety Conference on Thermal and Thermomechanical Phenomena in Electronic Systems) conference.

Dr. Demetriou’s work has been awarded numerous honors, including the ASHRAE Willis H. Carrier Award, All-University Doctoral Prize at Syracuse University, IEEE TCPMT Best Paper Award, the ASME Journal of Electronics Packaging Best Paper Award, ASME InterPACK best paper in Data Centers and Energy Efficient Electronic Systems and the best paper in the International Journal of Building Simulations. He also holds a MS in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Syracuse University and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Manhattan College.

Gary Johnson, Jr.

Gary Johnson, Jr., Principal at TiePoint-bkm Engineering in Baltimore, Maryland, is a registered professional engineer with nearly 30 years of experience. A graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, he holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Gary is a Certified Commissioning Authority (CxA) through AABC. He designs and tests mission critical mechanical plants and cooling systems, and provides facility assessments, strategic infrastructure planning, and concept design through commissioning.

Richard Schlosser

Richard Schlosser, principal at TiePoint-bkm Engineering in Baltimore, Maryland, is a registered professional engineer with more than thirty-five years of experience designing and commissioning Tier III and Tier IV power systems for computer and computer-related facilities. He served as a technical advisor to the Site Uptime Network for more than ten years. Richard holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Robin Steinbrecher

Robin Steinbrecher is a former principal thermal engineer with more than 30 years of experience at Intel and IBM in computer thermal design, silicon thermal management, and data center cooling integration. He has designed and developed cooling systems for air- and liquid-cooling systems while ensuring industry readiness for future compute technologies. He is the present chair of ASHRAE TC 9.9 and past research chair, and he has contributed to many of the ASHRAE Datacom series of publications.

Mark Malkin

Mark P. Malkin, PE is a Program Director in the UW–Madison Department of Engineering Professional Development (EPD). He is a registered Professional Engineer with over 25 years of combined experience in university construction project management and HVAC systems design. His course offerings in the Facilities segment of EPD include HVAC and plumbing fundamentals, building and property maintenance code review, and design and operation of science labs, data centers, museums and libraries. Mark received his bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, and his master's in Mechanical Engineering from UW–Madison.

Upcoming dates (1)

Oct. 20-22, 2021

Madison, WI
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Program Director

Mark Malkin

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