What is Aisle Containment?

Aisle containment completely separates the cold supply airflow from the hot equipment exhaust air, ultimately creating an even and consistent supply temperature to the intake of data center equipment and electronics while the returning air is warmer and drier when it reaches the AC coil.

Sliding door and server racks for containment

Why is Containment So Important?

Active data centers run extremely hot. The worst enemy of a data center is a non-monitored, poorly designed system. Servers have their own internal cooling mechanisms, and hot air makes its way into the server intakes. The result is overheating, which results in reduced server performance and/or equipment damage due to excessive heat. In fact, aisle containment is the best solution.

The data center manager’s primary responsibilities is to keep the machines operating at an ideal temperature, which is between 70° and 75° F. A lay person would suggest that a manager could simply cool the entire room. This is both inefficient and costly. Furthermore, the cost of managing a data center skyrockets as these facilities became larger and more complex.

Aisle containment is a standard in the industry, saving companies thousands of dollars every year. With Aisle Containment the data center manager’s ability to fully separate cold airflow from exhaust air coming from hot equipment exists. The result is a supply temperature that is uniform and predictable.



Hot vs Cold Aisle Containment

Aisle containment is a layout design for server racks and other computing equipment in a data center. The goal of a hot or cold containment configuration is to conserve energy and lower cooling costs by managing air flow.

Containment design requires lining server racks in rows with the cold air intakes facing one direction and hot air exhaust facing the other. This makes one side of the row hot and the other side cold.

The system is built around an CRAC (Computer room air conditioning unit) AC unit. The cold air intake side of the row faces the CRAC output ducts. This is the cold aisle. The hot aisle is where the hot side of the row typically pours into the CRAC intake. Cooling capacity will increase. Keeping these aisles separated from one another is the core of containment.

Aisle containment is a physical barrier that separates the hot and cold air from mixing. Aisle containment panels or strips create a partition to isolate either the server supply air (cold aisle) or the exhaust air (hot aisle). For aisle containment, preventing the supply and exhaust air from mixing significantly increases the capacity and cooling efficiency of the cooling infrastructure.

Some data centers focus on one or the other. Site conditions dictate the best approach. At most sites, it is easier to implement a cold aisle containment solution because typically there are cable trays and other obstructions above the hot aisle. It is very difficult to implement if there is not a return plenum.



Cool Shield Brochure 

Aluminum Channel for Aisle Containment

The Cool Shield Aluminum Channel

The aluminum channel is the heart of any aisle containment system. The proprietary combination of slotted and threaded sides has proven incredibly versatile for use in containment ceiling panels, vertical panels, containment walls, doors and more. There are several versions of the channel to specifically meet any design criteria.


Cool Shield Manufacturing Mill

Quality Materials and Design

Cool Shield channels use high-quality 6063 aluminum alloy with a durable two-step anodization process. Available in clear, black, or powder coated in custom colors. In addition, we manufacture standard brackets with 11-gauge galvanized steel for superior strength.

Cool Shield offers both flexible aisle containment strip and aisle containment panel solutions that comply with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 75 standards. Our standard polycarbonate and strip materials feature ASTM International E-84 Class A ratings. We also offer FM 4910-approved solid panels in clear and opaque finishes.

Sliding and hinged doors for aisle containment are fabricated with post-formed steel frames for maximum sturdiness and performance. Hardware such as hinges, rollers and handles provide lasting functionality. Doors are designed to meet applicable Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

In addition, our aisle containment accessories including blanking panels, foam strips and cable covers feature UL94-V0, the highest rating available for this type material.



Aisle Containment Capabilities Video