Three-phase power is the most efficient way to produce and distribute electricity. It combines three electric circuits into one and supplies power over three wires. Incoming power from the utility within data centers is most commonly three-phase power. This allows the required power capacity to be delivered at a lower amperage with a lower amount of loss. Organizations can then deliver three-phase or single-phase power to the cabinets. In the case of high-density environments, three-phase power often makes the most sense.
Three-phase power helps minimize losses, simplifies load balancing, and provides the most utilization of the upstream electrical infrastructure by keeping neutral currents and harmonics low.
Advantages of Three-Phase Power
- Increased utilization of the upstream electrical infrastructure capacity, resulting in improved overall data center efficiency and can delay capital expenditures.
- The ability to support significantly higher power density in comparison to a single-phase circuit with similar amperage.
- Maintain power factor of the incoming power and avoid penalties imposed by the utility.
- Scalability for future load requirements.
- Fewer whips and cables required, resulting in less airflow obstructions, a cleaner work environment, and easier installation and maintenance.
- Extend the useful life of equipment.
Three-Phase Power Monitoring with DCIM Software
Power calculations for three-phase systems can become significantly more complicated when the load is out of balance. This occurs when the load current between any two lines is significantly different than the load current between the remaining line. When there is an unbalanced load, the efficiency of the system and the amount of power being delivered will be reduced. Suppliers of three-phase power intelligent rack PDU provide local current load meters for each phase on the PDU, making it much easier to monitor and balance the power than having to perform manual calculations.
It is best practice to use Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software to monitor power consumption and capacity. Modern DCIM software has three-phase imbalance alerts for all facility equipment, including rack PDUs, floor PDUs, UPSs, RPPs, meters, and busways. Previously an extremely difficult task to accomplish, data center managers now have an easy monitoring solution that automatically calculates percent imbalance and alerts them of any imbalance in the power path based on configurable thresholds. Users can report on the live three-phase current readings and percentage imbalance.
Want to see how Sunbird’s world-leading DCIM software dramatically simplifies three-phase load balancing? Get your free test drive now!