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14
Oct 19
Last Updated on 14 October 2019

Developing Airflow Management Solutions for Data Centers

Data centers are highly concentrated server units often racked in rows and secured by stacking. They are vital components in how data is being handled, stored, communicated and transferred in our modern society. These servers are particularly vital for data management including data storage, backup, restore and recovery and networking; they are literally server farms for data.

Impact of Inefficient Data Center Airflow

Running a data center, however, needs efficient airflow management solutions to ensure your servers run properly. But most companies unknowingly spend a lot of money on high energy bills for not investing in a good cooling system.

Inefficient data center airflow increases the cooling budget by up to twice the total amount of buying and maintaining the servers.
And based on current electricity price increases and the carbon levy this cost could rise by up to 67% in the next 3 years. Air conditioning efficiency improvements can reduce this cost by up to 35%.

Furthermore, over 65% of IT equipment failures are directly attributed to inadequate, poorly maintained or failed air conditioning in the server room. So a poor cooling system is not just costly on the energy bills but also potential inconvenience when there are server downtime and equipment breakdown.

Solution to High Cooling Cost in Data Centers
As companies look for good airflow management solutions for their data centers, one solution that has proved to be both effective and efficient is the use of a containment system. This is a system used to enclose hot aisles and cold aisles ensuring uniform and predictable airflow thus reducing cooling costs.

Hot Aisle Containment Systems
Hot aisle containment features a physical barrier that encloses hot exhaust air and directs it back to the computer room air conditioner. The hot air is completely blocked from mixing with the cold air.

As warm air rises it’s guided upward to a hot and dry AC coil return system, leaving a large cold-air supply inside the data center penetrating the servers and equipment. With an efficient HAC system, you can reduce the cooling budget by 24% and have at least a 30% increase in cooling efficiency.

Advantages of Hot Aisle Containment Systems

  • Ensure uniform airflow
  • Prevent hot and cold air mixing; elimination of hotspots
  • Increase cooling efficiency
  • Reduce cooling cost budget
  • Ideal for both slab and raised data centers
  • Stabilize data center in case of power or cooling outage

Though cold or hot air containment systems can greatly reduce your overall cost of operation and improved efficiency, studies are showing that, under uniform working temperature, HACS performs much better with a 40% less cooling energy loss than CACS. This is probably due to increased economizer hours which means that in a differential outdoor and indoor temperature, the containment system doesn’t need to be activated to prevent outside heat.

Economizer hours can only be achieved with hot aisle containment systems because of the high chilled water supply system and lower PUE. The results can be achieved with different heat rejection techniques.

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