Today’s data centers hold an abundance of powerful computer equipment that eats up a lot of energy and generates a significant amount of heat. Thankfully, engineers have designed a number of effective cooling techniques that help to maintain the functionality of computer equipment, extend their lifespans and keep energy bills low. Below, we describe some of today’s most popular data center rack cooling methods.
Data Center Designs
While many might not consider the data center room’s design to be an actual cooling method, it really is. Data centers are typically provided with a certain amount of “white space” during the initial building stages. It is ideal to design these rooms from the server rack outward. This will decrease energy costs and keep equipment as cool as possible.
One of the worst ways to approach the engineering and organization of a data center room is to build it and then proceed to fill it with server racks. The room should be built around the number of server racks that the organization will eventually require. This ensures that a modular rack cooling system can properly operate to maintain an acceptable temperature at all times.
Plenty of organizations make use of liquid air, also called liquid cooling, to keep their IT equipment nice and cool. Liquid air cooling requires an elaborate infrastructure yet it significantly reduces power consumption and prolongs the life spans of costly data center equipment. This cooling technique is most often used by companies that have powerful computing devices with power densities.
Some organizations choose to place chimneys above their data center racks. Chimneys serve as exit ways for the hot exhaust that is generated from powerful servers. A solid chimney rack can accept 30 kW or more per rack. Many companies prefer to use chimney cooling because chimneys don’t force them to invest in highly specialized and expensive cooling technologies.
Hot And Cold Aisles
The hot aisle and cold aisle data center rack approach places hot server row racks by cool air intakes. These intakes level out the heat that is generated by data center racks that are working hard throughout the day.
This cooling technique relies on the creation of convection currents that create optimal airflow to decrease data center temperatures. These currents are best generated when server racks are aligned in organized rows. Hot-aisle/cool-aisle cooling methods are an especially effective cooling method for organizations with data centers that aren’t overly dense.
The Containment Method
Containment is one of the most commonly used cooling methods. It directs air streams by using specially sealed units to cover server racks and send warm exhaust air out. This air is sent into CRAC units. The containment method also sends cold air right into the data center racks intake areas.
This is quite effective as it cools the equipment down and prevents warm air from re-circulating directly into the sensitive parts of powerful computer equipment. This is vital to maintaining its lifespan and reducing energy bills. Containment systems provide a stable supply of air that is a nice and cool 60 to 65 degrees. This constant supply of cold air can reduce data center power consumption by up to 15 percent.
Katrina features an Ask Katrina video series on Youtube in a addition to being a product specialist with Rack Solutions