Data Center Design: The Role of Digital Twins, AR, and VR

Conal Cram
4 Min Read

In the rapidly evolving world of technology, the role of digital twins, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) in data center design is becoming increasingly prominent. These tools are not only reshaping the way data centers are conceptualized but also how they function, offering unprecedented levels of efficiency and optimization.

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM)

Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) has been a cornerstone of data center operations for years. While it’s widely adopted in many centers, its universal application is still on the horizon. The momentum behind DCIM’s universal adoption is fueled by the growing trend of data center digitalization and the increasing integration of IT with operational technology (OT) systems, such as building management systems (BMS) and power management tools.

A shining example of this evolution is Serverfarm InCommand, a data center management-as-a-service (DMaaS) platform. By harnessing DCIM, it bridges the gap between IT and OT. As Serverfarm’s software aggregates data from a plethora of sensors and AI-powered applications, it offers a consolidated view across devices and systems.

Its software gathers data from a multitude of sensors and AI-powered applications to monitor infrastructure, thereby aggregating data across devices and systems into one portal,” the press release notes.

Digital Twins in Data Centers

Digital twins, commonly used in sectors like energy, oil, and gas, are now making their mark in data centers. Companies like Cadence are at the forefront with offerings like the 6Sigma Digital Twin. These provide 3D virtual replicas of data centers, simulating their physical behavior in power, cooling, and IT systems. Christian Pastrana, former VP of data center planning at Citigroup, emphasized the value, stating, “We want to see how changes are going to perform first.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

As data centers become denser and power bills rise, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is gaining importance. CFD provides a visual representation of how well equipment is cooled, helping to identify hot spots or inefficient air and cooling flow areas. By employing numerical analysis, it aids in design validation, troubleshooting, and commissioning.

Augmented Reality (AR) in Data Centers

AR is revolutionizing data center design and operations. From design to monitoring and maintenance, AR tools like Inceptum’s Holoinventory, based on the Microsoft HoloLens 2 AR headset, are making waves. Dawn Habijan, Inceptum content manager, highlighted its benefits:

“Engineers and technicians can do accurate and efficient hands-free work as relevant information is visualized in HoloLens 2 without them having to write anything down or open a program in another location.”

Concluding Thoughts

From AI to AR, the landscape of data center design is undergoing a massive transformation. These technological advancements not only promise efficiency but also sustainability, aligning with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. As we stand on the cusp of this revolution, we’d love to hear your thoughts. How do you see these technologies impacting the future of data centers? Share your insights in the comments below!

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Conal is a seasoned tech industry professional and content writer for numerous tech publications. With a strong background in software engineering and digital media development, he's passionate about sharing the latest updates and insights in the tech industry, particularly in artificial intelligence and other disruptive trends. In his spare time he loves a mezze platter and a good film, and if he's not playing Fortnite or spending time with his daughter you can assume he's at the dry slopes!
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