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Electronic and mechanical design are converging as teams seek to optimize for overall system performance. Data centers are a crucible for this convergence, where compute throughput, power consumption, and thermal management are primary design considerations. Data centers constitute one percent of global power consumption, and this amount is expected to double over the next few years as more applications rely on hyperscale compute from arrays of high-performance connected processors. The problem isn’t just with the large amount of electrical power required, it’s also that the resulting heat generated needs to be efficiently dissipated, putting a huge strain on airflow and cooling systems. Additionally, organizations are facing increasingly stricter environmental pressures on attaining aggressive net zero carbon goals. What are data center managers to do when confronted with additional demand and conflicting energy sustainability goals? How can they determine the most efficient way to utilize and expand data center resources?
Cadence has leveraged its computational software expertise and expanded into the realm of systems design and analysis. Cadence’s acquisition of Future Facilities, a pioneer in the data center digital twin space, expands our computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and thermal analysis portfolio and extends it to data centers. In addition to electronics cooling analysis, Future Facilities’ innovative CFD solutions allow customers to virtualize their data center, creating a 3D digital twin that uses physics-based simulation to accurately analyze their thermal profile, including airflow and cooling. This technology has enabled customers such as Thésée DataCenter, Digital Realty, and Equinix to optimize thermal, power, and capacity efficiencies in the data center, thereby helping reduce their carbon footprint.
We ourselves have seen the benefits of applying Future Facilities' capabilities to our own data center. Using their technology and their extensive model library, we built an accurate model of airflow dynamics up to the innermost part of the racks in the data center. Based on early results, we’re progressively driving up to a 10°F increase in temperature over the next couple of years, which could lead to a significant reduction of up to 20% in energy required.
This acquisition has inherent synergies, combining our computational software expertise and CFD together in different applications. Our experience with distributing computing in the cloud and optimizing performance with AI present opportunities to impact CFD applications, and data center thermal applications in general. The acquisition also extends Cadence’s existing portfolio of equivalent digital twin offerings used throughout various chip and intelligent systems development stages, including our hardware platforms for emulation and software development.
Cadence tools and technology enable our customer’s products to be sustainable by design, delivering the next generation of power and energy efficiency throughout the design flow. For example, by leveraging Cadence technologies used in physical implementation, our customers are able to predict power at various levels of abstraction early in the design process, helping identify unnecessary activity and resulting in power-optimized designs for targeted applications. All of this results in improved energy efficiencies within data centers, helping them operate effectively at a low Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE).
And Future Facilities technology reinforces our position in an important growing vertical, hyperscale computing. Stay tuned as we expand in this exciting area to further enable our customers’ designs of sustainable innovation that optimizes the power, space, and energy needs of end products for the most dynamic market applications.