Popular Data Center Cooling Solutions
Nowadays, one of the most efficient ways to manage data center temperature is to deploy a hot aisle/cold aisle arrangement of server racks. In this type of layout the server rack are aligned in alternating rows in which front of the racks are facing and draw cold air into the rack to cool servers and switches. The back of the rows of racks also face each other so they can expel warm air into a hot aisle. This type of configuration prevents hot and cold air from mixing.
Tips for hot aisle/cold aisle containment:
- Raise the floor 18 inches so that air being expelled by HVAC equipment can circulate.
- Utilize high cubic feet per minute (CFM) rack grills that have outputs in the range of 600 CFM.
- Allocate a separate space within the data center for equipment with top or side exhausts.
- Install automatic doors on the entrance to the data center.
Things to Consider
Hot aisle/cold aisle row layout makes sense if you are designing a new data centers or expanding a current one. However, if you are retrofitting an existing data center with this kind of layout, there are things you should consider.
Before you move server racks, all equipment must be shut down, each cable should be unplugged and labelled. You may also need to have an electrician realign power pathways so you can plug devices in at their new location. Because the new orientation will shift the room’s airflow, you may need to assess the data center’s new HVAC requirements.
Cold Aisle Containment
The cold air containment (CAC) system is usually comprised of a roof system (usually no higher than the rack) and aisle-end doors to contain cool airflow and prevent it from mixing with the hot air. This can improve the data center’s cooling efficiency and save money.
Hot Aisle Containment
Hot aisle systems draw hot air away from the rear of IT equipment and contain it so the air cannot re-enter the rest of the data center. This type of containment solution is often considered superior to cold air containment because it uses around 40 percent less of cooling system energy than CAC.