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Healthcare Enterprise Modernizes Legacy Data Centers


Healthcare Enterprise and Cadence

A North American healthcare provider successfully modernizes legacy data centers with digital twin technology

The Highlights


  • Data center design and operations
  • Data center modernization
  • Data center capacity planning


  • Cadence® DataCenter Insight Platform™: Digital Twin Module


  • Visualize airflow, cooling, and power
  • Recover stranded capacity
  • Optimize cooling management
  • Safeguard data center
  • Collaborate across teams
  • Integrate software with DCIM and monitoring systems

Key Challenges

One of America’s leading healthcare providers sought to minimize stranded capacity without compromising resilience. The enterprise realized it needed to modernize its legacy data centers to evolve at a rate that could satisfy the constantly changing business demands on IT.

The enterprise needed a predictive tool to help it overcome power, cooling, and space challenges brought on by the extreme demands of high-density systems. Given the significant and sensitive nature of its business, the healthcare enterprise needed a fail-safe way to accomplish these goals.

The Solution

The healthcare enterprise initiated a project to modernize its legacy data centers using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation capabilities of Cadence® DataCenter Insight Platform™: Digital Twin Module (DataCenter Digital Twin, formerly Future Facilities 6SigmaDCX product line). The enterprise found that it could both streamline IT and Facilities Management and validate new configurations based on CFD data from DataCenter Digital Twin.

The solution’s simulation capabilities indicated that if high-density equipment was to be deployed without redefining installation strategies, then data center capacity would be significantly reduced. With the current data center operating at 40% capacity, the enterprise used DataCenter Digital Twin to test future deployments of IT. The study identified that if the enterprise continued to use the existing placement decisions, the data center would fail to operate safely at 100% capacity, and instead only manage to achieve 80% before risk of downtime escalated.

Using Cadence DataCenter Digital Twin, the enterprise’s design team created a methodology to determine the most optimal location for new IT, quantify decisions based on cost avoidance, and ensure that future deployments will not cause the data center to lose capacity.

This measurement process is triggered based on the power threshold of incoming IT load at greater than or equal to 10kW per cabinet.

Using Cadence DataCenter Digital Twin, the enterprise team examines three modeling scenarios where IT could be placed within the data center. Each scenario produces a score based on predetermined criteria, such as weight, real estate, power, cooling, and phase balance.

The test subject was a 96kW deployment of IT in three different areas in the data center, specifically areas which provide capacities of local infrastructure. DataCenter Digital Twin was used to evaluate each scenario and the resulting metrics. The test was a success and demonstrated the following:

Requirement Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
Power deployed (kW) 96 96 96 96
Cooling required (kW) 105 105 105 105
Increase in airflow requirement (cfm) 11260 11904 12307 11104
% of IT within thermal limits (%) 100 91.7 9.75 100
% of IT at risk (%) 0 0 0 0

Option 3 demonstrates that the IT is well within its thermal limits for this deployment and uses less air than the other options. Therefore, this deployment scenario is not only safe, but a more efficient use of the data center infrastructure. From this result, the enterprise had found its link between day-to-day operations and long-term, high-level data center performance. This method has now become the standard business process to retrieve stranded capacity while ensuring IT uptime.

Enabling the migration of systems and services from colocation back to their data centers, the healthcare enterprise saved an estimated $300,000 a year.

Every deployment undergoes this type of examination to understand both the impact of the deployment on the surrounding area and installed IT, as well as on the data center as a whole. This process empowers the enterprise to continually reduce the inefficiencies at the heart of the problem of high-density deployments while still maximizing uptime.

In successfully completing this project, the healthcare enterprise:

  • Achieved a greater understanding of its data centers’ constraints and potential from a power, cooling, failover, and structural limits perspective
  • Engineered a selection process to identify the optimal placement of IT based on a predetermined set of criteria
  • Created an innovative cost analysis system to justify their data centers’ business value
  • Elevated their ability to manage risk on the raised floor
  • Promoted cross-team collaboration
  • Improved data center utilization by reducing stranded capacity
  • Enabled the migration of systems and services from colocation back to their data centers, saving roughly $300,000 a year

Detailed DataCenter Digital Twin


A healthcare enterprise used Cadence DataCenter Digital Twin to modernize its legacy data centers, minimize stranded capacity, and overcome power, cooling, and space challenges brought on by the extreme demands of high-density systems. The enterprise was able to accomplish these objectives without compromising resilience by harnessing the virtual nature of simulation.

By enabling the migration of systems and services from colocation back to their data centers, the healthcare enterprise saved an estimated $300,000 a year.

The enterprise continues to use DataCenter Digital Twin in the day-to-day management of its data centers to plan future IT deployments, predict the impact of potential changes, and reduce risk in its on-prem facilities where power densities are constantly growing.

DataCenter Digital Twin in the enhanced view

While every gain may seem marginal at first, it is this scientific approach to day-to-day operations that ensures the maximization of our data center infrastructure. The implementation of these methods ensures that despite the changes to IT design in the future, our data centers will always remain safe and efficient. These methods are made possible by Cadence DataCenter Digital Twin.
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