photo of hot aisle containment system in a small data center

Finding The Right Aisle Containment System

An aisle containment system is generally used to separate hot and cold aisles in order to avoid the hot exhaust air and cooler supply air from mixing. This simple concept has proven extremely effective at minimizing cooling costs in the data center.

Initially, aisle containment systems consisted of physical barriers comprised merely of flexible strip curtains or clear plastic panels. These days, aisle containment systems are becoming more sophisticated and are designed to be compliant with the new NFPA 75 data center code. The type of aisle containment system you choose will depend on the size and layout of both your data center and fire suppression system. There are two approaches for an aisle containment system.

Hot Air Aisle Containment

A hot aisle containment system works by providing a central hot air return to the CRAC/CRAH units.  Since the hot exhaust air is isolated and can’t migrate to areas that you want to keep cool, it puts less stress on the cooling infrastructure.  It is similar in concept to closing the windows of your house during the summer.  If the windows are not closed, you AC unit must work much harder to cool your home. However, it can be a challenge to implement a hot aisle containment system in data centers that do not have a return air plenum in the drop ceiling.

Cold Air Aisle Containment

A cold aisle containment system will ensure an even and predictable air temperature at the IT intake.  The cooling system only has to cool the areas in front of the servers, where it is needed most.  It is similar to only cooling the occupied units of an apartment complex.  Cold aisle containment can be implemented in most data centers with either vertical or horizontal partitions.  However, there is some concern about overheating servers if the cooling system goes down, even temporarily.

Data Center Resources Cool Shield product is one of the pioneers in aisle containment.  Hundreds of installations in all size and types of data centers have provided us with unparalleled experience in the industry Our Project Managers can match you with the right aisle containment system for your company’s unique needs. We are committed to providing products and service that will exceed your expectations. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you with your aisle containment project.