Whips (boas) or Busway in HP data centre ?

Today with 10kW loads in each cabinet in a High Performance data centre the electrical distribution is a challenge; if the OPErator is a COLO/HOST  or  CLOUD  the MACs are a way to live each day. In an enterprise those changes exist however they are not necessary in a day per day basis.

  The use of "whips" beneath the raised flooring is a common solution since my memory can remember,  and they have been a "Good practice", however today the churn in the cabinets position and IT loads have taken these "boas" into a not so good solution; other issue is those data center that has been DESign without  raised floor; so the "whips/boas" has been located on tray overhead the cabinets, hanging the electrical connectors from them.

This practice -boas under raised floor- has arose other issue  AIRflOW blocking and this has been because the "whips/boas"  have been laid on the floor and obstruct the pass of the airflow . 5-7 years before that was not a serious issue in a 30cm or 45cm heigth raised floor; because the thermal load in each cabinets rarely goes up than 4kW per location; but today with thermal loads going up to 8,10, and more the airflow is not enough to cool the IT equipment.

So one good practice today is clearing the void in the raised floor; and this goes trough dismissing the boas/whips as a way to feed each IT equipment cabinet.

Of course the other cabling that also obstruct the airflow is the telecomm one, but in a next post I will comment on

Then what can do an OPErator for getting the beneath void with out these layed electrical cables? Well taking them overhead in trays of course and let that electrical connectors be dropped or set in a square duct

Today exist several several vendors that give to you these solution in a very flexible and cost effective way IF your data centre is:

CLOUD / COLO / HOST  where the M.A.C.s  are so often that a investment on busways is worth to evaluate.
Enterprise where do you want to have metering and several electrical connectors types (NEMA, IEC, special, etc...) could be more difficult to embrace this solution. But reliabilty can decide for this option

Of course every OPErator must understand the pros´ and cons´that any electrical distribution carry on.

or what do you think?

Roberto Sánchez, RCDD


  1. Well said, as you have indicated, the busway is best in an environment where there are a lot of adds and changes to the IT infrastructure that the busway or whips run power to. Another angle to consider in the TCO calculation is "Who can do the work"? For busway, you can have the staff of the data center install new tap off boxes themselves (sunk cost) versus having to hire an electrical contractor to run whips under an already busy under floor environment. PDI's unique position as a manufacturer of both the overhead and traditional on the raised floor power distribution equipment puts us in the position to assist with outlining the calculation and the trade offs associated with the two solutions.


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