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Tech Brief | Cadence DataCenter Design Software

Cadence DataCenter Design Software

Key Features of Physics-Based CFD Simulation Software

Cadence® DataCenter Design Software™ enables engineers to design the next generation of data centers, inside and out, with physics-based simulation software powered by computational fluid dynamics (CFD). It is part of Cadence DataCenter Design Software and Insight Platform™ (formerly Future Facilities 6SigmaDCX products) and encompasses the conceptual prototyping through to detailed design stages.

Design Overview

DataCenter Design Software helps create fast and accurate data center digital twin models. These models are a virtual representation of an existing or future data center. They can be used to explore multiple design configurations and failure scenarios to deliver cutting-edge, robust data center designs or reimagine existing legacy data centers. Companies can reduce costs and minimize failures while pursuing sustainability goals by working in a virtual environment to maximize data center resilience, physical capacity, and cooling efficiency (Figure 1).

Clipped temperature plane showing internal temperatures of the racks, underfloor, and corridor of a raised floor data center digital twin

Figure 1: Clipped temperature plane showing internal temperatures of the racks, underfloor, and corridor of a raised floor data center digital twin

Analyze External Environment

External modeling is included in DataCenter Design Software to simulate external environmental conditions on the data center’s cooling and power infrastructure. This functionality helps engineers understand the impact of normal, extreme, and changing environments on the data center’s performance. Engineers can use this information to reveal capacity losses in extreme weather and test solutions to mitigate these losses before they occur.

The External Conditions Wizard guides users through the process of setting up the environment, including establishing air temperature, humidity, wind profiles, solar intensity, and ground roughness. The external model’s domain space can be populated with objects specific to the external environment, including buildings, cooling towers, chillers, indirect and direct adiabatic cooling systems, and generators.

The ground roughness functionality can be used to capture the effects of different terrains, such as smooth concrete to neighboring buildings. Tailored results for external modeling accelerate reporting, including object results specific to cooling and power devices.

Environmental results can be displayed on isosurfaces, or surfaces in a 3D space across which the distribution of a calculated variable is uniform at all points, to produce intuitive result visualizations for outputs of humidity, pollutant levels, moisture content, temperature, and airflow velocity (Figure 2).

Isosurfaces of a constant velocity and varying carbon monoxide levels

Figure 2: Isosurfaces of a constant velocity and varying carbon monoxide levels

The external modeling functionality has an inbuilt calculator to determine the intensity of solar radiation based on site longitude and latitude. This calculation also includes weather conditions, such as cloudiness, moisture, and visibility. Engineers can create custom contaminants, which can be released from vents, air cooling units, generators, or the background environment. The software can also specify the concentration of the contaminant as a percentage of the total airflow and, on generators, the option of using manufacturer data on the rate of contaminant generation at different power loads.

Quickly and Accurately Simulate Complex Cooling Systems with Flow Network Functionality

Flow network functionality supports the design and management of flow networks, including chilled water, coolant, and air networks, using simplified network models with 1D components of piping/duct and flow devices. The flow networks can be solved in isolation or connected to a 3D model for powerful co-simulation scenarios (Figure 3).

Co-simulation example of a 1D flow network with the 3D model

Figure 3: Co-simulation example of a 1D flow network with the 3D model

Engineers can combine the simplified 1D flow network modeling and 3D modeling to assess the interaction between the 3D modeled space and the 1D network. Using this functionality, the software can simulate large complex cooling systems, such as chilled water heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and air-side duct routes. In turn, engineers can use time-based transient simulation in connected 1D-3D models to visualize the resilience of the cooling system by failing pumps, chillers, cooling towers, or fans to test how the data center will react.

This functionality enables engineers to study a wide array of use cases, such as an entire chilled water system for a data center campus, the complex air delivery ductwork used in direct or indirect cooling systems, buffer tank sizing in the case of cooling system failure, and more.

Efficiently Manage Power Infrastructure with Power Connectivity Insights

DataCenter Design Software’s power management functionality supports the design and management of data center power infrastructure by enabling teams to visualize one-line power connectivity from utility power to IT devices (Figure 4). Engineers can visualize and track the power network with expandable and collapsible views to help make decisions regarding IT deployment.

Power network view with expanding objects from utility power to cabinet

Figure 4: Power network view with expanding objects from utility power to cabinet

The software displays monitored and calculated power data for phase load balance, output power, breaker panel load, and power strip load. It automatically tests the power network to identify connectivity issues, including breaker threshold breaches, phase imbalance, and non-redundant power connectivity. Once power connections are included, the software will automatically check the power system for overload in both the normal operational state and for any single-point failure.

The software includes modes for either single-item failure or cascade failures to demonstrate what would happen when any individual component of the power system fails. This functionality also reports resulting loads on other non-failed power devices and highlights any unpowered IT devices or racks in each failure simulation.

The software includes important equipment power data to help users calculate heat dissipation inefficiencies which impact power usage effectiveness (PUE) and efficiency metrics. Additionally, the software can model power cable routes, which are key to analyzing the effects on data hall airflow from cable obstructions, especially within a raised floor or run overhead.

Improve Capacity Planning Process with Data Network Mapping

DataCenter Design Software includes data network mapping functionality to support the design and management of the network assets and their connectivity by empowering engineers with an intuitive visual representation of network routes and connections (Figure 5). The data network functionality enables engineers to build and import data network connections between various network ports, such as patch panels, servers, storage units, switches, firewalls, routers, and enclosures. Engineers can add multiple networks, such as production or testing, and assign port connections to them.

Device connections displayed in a data network flow chart view

Figure 5: Device connections displayed in a data network flow chart view

Engineers can bulk import data network connections as a CSV file or manually make data network connections between devices. When looking for connectivity to a network switch on a particular network, the software automatically searches through the structured cabling and patch panels to identify available switches in any connected cabinet. The software allows engineers to specify the quantity of copper and fiber network ports required for each connection.

Plots of the network port availability (as either copper and/or fiber), as well as patch panel availability, can be displayed on cabinets or individual IT equipment and used to quickly identify available ports on a specific network. Engineers can export data network connections from the software in CSV format between patch panels, or structured cabling, and between servers, switches, and routers.


Cadence DataCenter Design Software offers unique features that enable engineers to holistically address their data center design considerations. External modeling, flow network, power, and data network functionality make DataCenter Design Software a powerful and cohesive solution for effectively and efficiently designing modern data centers.

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