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      Portrait image of Gary Sapia.
      Gary Sapia,

      Director, Power Technology Development and Market Expansion

      Analog Devices

      Portrait image of Andrea Pizzutelli.
      Andrea Pizzutelli,

      Senior Director of Product Applications in Data Center Equipment

      Analog Devices

      Author Details
      Gary Sapia
      Gary Sapia received his Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Texas A&M University, with advanced technology courses in power electronics and RF system design. He has over 28 years of experience focused on the design and development of analog systems, including power conversion and high frequency solutions for the communications and GPS markets. Prior to joining Analog Devices, Gary spent 18 years as a field applications engineer at Linear Technology (now part of ADI), focused on Cisco and other prominent Bay Area networking companies.
      Andrea Pizzutelli
      Andrea Pizzutelli holds a Ph.D. in information technology and an electrical engineering Laurea degree from Politecnico di Milano in Italy. He has 15 years of experience developing integrated power conversion products and has held various positions focusing on data center, telecommunications, and notebook markets. Andrea has also co-authored multiple scientific papers and holds numerous U.S. patents.
      Close Details

      MEETING 5G COMMUNICATION AND DATA CENTER DEMANDS WITH ADVANCED POWER MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY


      Perched atop a 25 meter mast on the edge of the Mojave Desert, a 5G radio transceiver is exposed to searing heat. The smaller and lighter the radio components and the more efficient the radio’s electronic systems, the less heat they generate and the easier to keep the system cool and functioning. At a data center spread out over 1000 acres, banks of servers are executing millions of searches and high demand workloads to feed an ever-growing information hungry world. The technology demands fast transitioning high currents, with very high power component densities that maximize efficiency to rapidly deliver content.

      Image shows a 5G antenna structure in the middle of a very hot desert sky with a sun blaring on the left of the image.

      Across the advancing communications world, the most challenging applications for today’s power electronics face the technical hurdles of size, weight, and power (SWaP). Almost every application seems to be getting smaller and lighter while demanding more power. The need to optimize SWaP is driving the power electronics industry in many new ways. Power management technology is playing a significant role in the innovation of today’s data center and communication industry.

      With sustainability and cost reduction as the goal, technology leadership means higher system efficiency is the target. With more advanced process technologies being used in communications systems comes lower operational voltages and significantly increased currents, which challenge system efficiency. Methodologies beyond pure silicon development need to be considered for these next generation systems. This is where ADI is poised to bring advances.

      IMPROVING WIRELESS SWaP AND EFFICIENCY

      On the wireless side, the emphasis is on maximizing power density and getting to as small a solution as possible to reduce the overall size of 5G applications or provide flexibility to incorporate additional capabilities or functionality. Operating in a smaller space translates to functioning more cost effectively and more efficiently.

      Possible options and advances in wireless communications technology are endless. ADI’s deep domain knowledge spans across industries and technologies, providing perspectives and solutions to meet these systems’ growing demands. Insights include alternative ways of system packaging to impact size, weight, and power that produce a smaller footprint, lower component count, and smaller board area impact. Reducing the board’s size has the added value of freeing up space to include new technologies or additional functionality such as artificial intelligence (AI) and speech recognition.


      Lower noise systems require less shielding;
      less shielding requires less weight and smaller size.



      ELIMINATING THE NOISE

      Electronic technology products require a variety of voltages and currents to operate. Efficient power conversion is key to a well-run system. This means high frequency switching power conversion is needed. A drawback to high frequency switching is the generation of electromagnetic noise interference (EMI) in the RF range. This EMI interference can disrupt the function of highly sensitive devices such as the RF transceiver embedded in a 5G network. ADI’s Silent Switcher® series of power converters operate at high frequency while maximizing efficiency—generating the industry’s lowest electromagnetic interference (EMI). This results in a more robust communication link in cellphone network equipment.

      The 5G radio installation is responsible for delivering cell and internet service worldwide, allowing workers, friends, and family to stay in touch. The promise of a globally connected future will undoubtedly have a massive impact on how the world’s population will live, learn, work, and play. Fifth generation wireless technology will require significant advances in power electronics to achieve this goal. And, reliability will be critical, as lives may depend upon it.

      Image shows an emergency worker communicating with a hand-held walkie talkie device, in the background is an ambulance and an emergency worker treating someone inside.
      Many 5G applications are mission critical and always on. Healthcare workers and emergency responders rely on technology for critical communication and incident alert management.

      DATA CENTERS: THE BACKBONE OF CLOUD COMPUTING

      205
      Terawatt-Hours
      THE AMOUNT OF ELECTRICITY THE WORLD’S DATA CENTERS
      CONSUMED IN 2018
      McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science Northwestern University

      The need for on-demand data and storage by businesses and consumers is increasing exponentially. To meet these demands, a significant increase in power will be required by data centers. This means efficient power conversion is a critical factor in managing the power demand on our already strained power grid system. Improvements in power management technology are necessary as some data centers consume as much electricity as a small city of 80,000 people.

      “ADI brings added value by providing high density, fast response solutions to power the advanced ASICs, CPU, and GPU, which are needed to process all this data,” said Gary Sapia.

      Application specific integrated circuits, custom designed for a particular use, are the biggest power consumers. For the same amount of power, ADI’s solutions help by reducing power conversion losses and lowering heat dissipation.

      WHAT’S IN A GOOGLE SEARCH?

      Image shows two very cute dogs laying on the ground. Both are wearing multi-colored sunglasses.

      When you search a picture—say “all dogs with flat noses,” the search engine goes out, crunches the information, and finds it very rapidly from a selection of perhaps two billion choices. This effort requires a special heavy duty processing engine, searching an enormous database that employs artificial intelligence (AI).

      All these operations require a network of machines to ramp up very rapidly to perform the task, resulting in a rapid spike in power.

      Spiking power means spiking current. It’s similar to pushing the pedal of your car’s accelerator—the fuel injector opens up and sprays gas into the engine, taking you across the finish line. When clicking search, you are essentially pushing the accelerator, fueling many servers with power. These machines need lots of current to execute your request—and they need it now!

      3 Microseconds
      THE TIME IT TAKES FOR ANALOG DEVICES’ POWER MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS TO SUPPLY HUNDREDS OF AMPS AND LET THE GATEWAYS OPEN. THESE SOLUTIONS PROVIDE A VERY FAST TRANSIENT RESPONSE.

      To manage current demand in a very short period of time requires special systems that operate with high efficiency and very high bandwidth. ADI’s monolithic integration and proprietary coupled inductor technology allows meeting these stringent requirements while delivering superior efficiency and reducing power consumption.

      SIZE, WEIGHT, AND POWER

      Graphic Icon depicts a smaller footprint for data centers.

      SMALLER
      FOOTPRINT

      Graphic Icon depicts the Reduced weight for data centers.

      REDUCED
      WEIGHT

      Graphic Icon depicts the increased power and efficiency.

      INCREASED POWER
      AND EFFICIENCY

      Whatever your vantage point, wherever you look, the need to reduce size, weight, and power remains a constant for data centers and for all of the communications industry.

      ADI’s system of circuitry and connectivity products includes integrated circuits (ICs) that manage system information control, data collection and translation, high accuracy data sensors, RF radio solutions, and high efficiency power conversion. All this packaged as discrete reference designs and in highly integrated application specific module systems solutions known as µModule®.

      Data centers, social media companies, connected device manufacturers, cloud service providers, and search engine giants strive to achieve challenging sustainability goals. The five major U.S. tech companies, affectionally known as FAANG, run hyperscale data centers—super-efficient information factories, each with up to 2.5 million servers. For almost a decade, they’ve been streamlining computing processes, switching to renewables, and investigating better ways to cool their facilities. These data juggernauts self-imposed a special responsibility to minimize their usage of the planet’s resources.

      MINIMIZING THE COST OF POWER

      With the advent of 5G and the requirement for high data rate systems, the processing power of data centers is growing through the roof. Power can make up more than half of a typical data center's costs, with 30% to 40% of that figure attributed to building cooling systems. It makes sound financial and business sense to reduce power consumption when the bill for electric power and cooling the systems continues to be a significant part of the operational expense.

      Inefficient power systems produce heat. Therefore, a more efficient power system will require less energy to operate, less space to devote to cooling systems, and less money devoted to fans, heat sinks, and other forms of thermal management. Reducing a data center’s power consumption helps the communications businesses to operate more effectively and sustainably. ADI’s technology can help make FAANG servers more efficient and use less power.

      THE FOUR VECTORS OF INTELLIGENT POWER MANAGEMENT

      Graphic image shows the four vectors of intelligent power management. These include: Fast Transient response, Higher Efficency, Higher Power Density, and intelligent systems management.
      Innovations in power follow four vectors.

      Communications companies powering extremely high current devices no longer rely on reaching power-saving targets with off-the-shelf components. They leverage breakthrough materials and small modules to provide them with new pathways toward smaller and lighter 5G radios. ADI offers tailored solutions to fit customer requirements while considering four vectors of intelligent power management to achieve aggressive power-saving goals.

      Size matters equally in a sprawling data center and on the top of a 5G radio mast. Smaller electronics circuits using less metal, plastic, and other resources help technology leaders attain their sustainability targets.

      SMALLER POWER CIRCUITS

      Server system form factors are standard throughout the industry. Increasing ASIC throughput performance requires significant increases in power. Given unchanging size constraints, can engineers increase throughput capacity (the processing of information)?

      The answer: ADI engineering makes this possible by providing the highest power density solutions in the industry—adding value with advanced integration and proprietary magnetics, delivering more power at greater efficiency and in less space. Essentially, through ADI innovation, more computing capacity can be packed in the same volume.

      Graphic image shows the relationship of power circuits with increased computing capacity and increased power.

      ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES

      Improvements in circuit and magnetics design, packaging, and integration are also shrinking the power system in wireless and wired communications equipment. µModule® technology, pioneered by ADI, offers the industry’s highest power density solutions, as multiple power components, making up a complete power solution, are packaged inside a single, surface-mount substrate. A conventional power circuit that down converts an input bus voltage to system-level voltages may contain as many as 30 separate components. By combining these circuit elements into a single µModule device, equipment manufacturers can shrink the footprint of the power circuit, place it closer to the load, simplify the design, and optimize the system performance.

      As process technology improves, system voltages get lower and current requirements increase in a nonlinear manner. This dramatic increase in current across the power distribution network (PDN) resistance create losses that significantly impact system power efficiency and power dissipation in the form of heat. As we well know, power loss increases with the square of the current. Our biggest challenge is to reduce this loss. This is where ADI’s µModule technology meets the challenge head on.

      SMART SYSTEM MANAGEMENT

      To drive peak operating efficiency, smart system management is required to effectively manage and control the power systems. 5G radio and data center server systems can benefit from new technology today, which enables operators to incrementally improve efficiency and reliability over time by applying insights gained from operational data. AI or smart power provides the data center operators the ability to monitor power usage and shut down or power up the server racks on-the-fly as needed to conserve energy. Facilities without smart system management may end up with servers being on, unnecessarily, during off peak hours. By using ADI’s smart system management, data center operators can realize up to 25% power savings while reducing electricity bills.

      SAFETY AND RELIABILITY

      Data centers require enormous amounts of power to operate. Monitoring and controlling this power for failure is critical for safety and reliability. ADI’s intelligent hot swap technology sets the industry standard in providing the needed system monitoring and control that insure safe reliable data center operation.

      Hot swap ensures the input current is controlled in a safe manner, preventing component stresses that can cause system failures and component lifetime performance degradation. In the event of a fault, hot swap alerts the system and attempts to limit the condition or perform an immediate shutdown to prevent a catastrophic failure, such as a fire.

      Hot swap’s intelligent technology manages voltage and current at the rack mounted board level, enabling the safe installation of a backup board (or line card) without the need to power down the entire rack or system. This allows for the reliable servicing of individual units and minimizes service interruptions—saving time and cost.

      ADI’s intelligent hot swap solution is an advanced technology that ensures systems operate in an efficient, safe, secure, and reliable manner, which are critical parameters for any high power data center system.

      SOLUTIONS FOR SUSTAINABILITY

      Mobile phone and internet data services are how most of the world stays connected and informed. The sheer scale of these technologies has a monumental impact, both environmentally and financially. That’s why innovations in power management technology that have the potential to enhance sustainability with increasing efficiency are so valuable.

      Creating sustainable solutions that consume less energy is growing in importance across applications. Power semiconductors are central to that objective. But technology is just a starting point. ADI is committed to making it easier for power electronics system designers to bring safe and reliable data centers and communication innovation to the market as well as reach the goal of a sustainable future that will benefit the planet and its global population.

      Image shows a clear and colorful representation of the planet  Earth in outerspace including many stars.