As energy consumption and high energy costs have continued to rise, data center managers have turned to innovative solutions to cut costs without impacting productivity. Today, most data center designs involve hot-air and cold-air data center containment solutions. With hot-air and cold-air data center designs, IT professionals and engineers have discovered an invaluable method that promotes energy efficiency, reducing fluctuations in temperature and hot spots often found in traditional data center designs. So, what exactly are the differences between hot and cold aisle containment systems, and how can these data center cooling options be used for better data center airflow management? Read on to learn about these popular data center designs, data center cooling techniques, data center cooling requirements, and more.
Hot & Cold Aisle Containment Systems: What Do They Do?
Simply put, cold and hot-aisle containment solutions aim to maximize efficiencies by cooling and removing the heat produced by the data storage and processing equipment. A cold-aisle containment system effectively encloses the cold aisle, keeping the space outside of the aisle in the data center a large hot-air return. With this arrangement, the cold aisle containment ensures that separate cold and hot air streams are maintained. Datacenter designs with a hot-aisle containment system are set up so that the hot aisle is enclosed, collecting all the server’s hot exhaust air. As with the cold-aisle containment system, the idea is to keep hot and cold airstreams separate.
By using data center containment solutions that separate hot and cold air, the data center cooling options you consider are highly effective for ensuring proper data center airflow management. Specific benefits include:
Decrease in Hot Spots. Hot spots occur when the hot air in your data center does not properly rise and base through your cooling system, a process that in an ideal situation would help to regulate the center to a desired temperature. Instead, the cooling capacity is not able to get to where it’s needed due to a lack of data center airflow management, resulting in hot spots. By implementing a data center cooling system design like containment, hot and cold air never mix, so your cooling unit supply air is able to reach the server equipment.
Increased Cooling Capacity. In uncontained data centers, an estimated 50% of cold air from the cooling unit ultimately bypasses back into the unit. On the other hand, data center cooling options such as containment ensure the supply air goes through the server equipment where it absorbs heat energy and then flows back to the cooling units. This process is able to increase the cooling system capacity by roughly 20%.
Higher Supply Temperatures. When hot and cold air are separated through the use of hot and cold aisle containment systems, the right data center cooling system designs are able to be set at a higher supply temperature. This is beneficial primarily because it increases cooling capacity while also being more energy-efficient.
Lower Humidification and Dehumidification Costs. Another benefit to having a data center design utilizing hot and cold aisle containment is that when hot and cold air is separated, the cooling system is able to run above the dew point temperature. Air that is supplied above the dew point temperature does not have any humidity removed, therefore lowering dehumidification costs. Further, because no humidity is being removed from the air, there is no need to add humidity, therefore lowering humidification costs. Ultimately, hot and cold aisle containment systems end up saving both water and energy and extend the life of the server equipment.
Setting Up Hot or Cold Aisle Containment Systems
In order to figure out the proper data center cooling system design for your space, there are data center cooling best practices you’ll want to consider to ensure the highest level of efficiency. Taking into account the following will help you to fulfill all data center cooling requirements:
Arrangement of Server equipment. When thinking through data center cooling techniques, it’s important to determine the best arrangement for the racks and servers. A data center should be designed with a hot or cold aisle layout, complete with sufficient aisle widths, to ensure the best conditions for airflow deployment. Your server equipment should be arranged in a hot or cold aisle layout to give you more flexibility in terms of the containment options available to you.
Lighting. Another important data center cooling techniques to consider has to do with lighting. When designing your data center, you’ll want to make sure your hot or cold aisle containment spaces have enough lighting. In some cases, when migrating to a hot or cold aisle containment in an existing data center space, there ends up being poor lighting inside of the containment area. One solution to consider is to install transparent or translucent ceiling panels when creating your containment space to allow existing light to brighten the work area. LED lighting is also a big consideration as LED lighting emits much less heat than other traditional lighting. LED lighting also uses less energy.
Ceiling Height. When creating a hot or cold aisle containment space for your data center, you’ll need to consider the ceiling height. Ideally, you’ll have enough space to install a drop ceiling to be used as an air return. When thinking through how to set up your data center, be sure to take ceiling height into account.
Aluminum Extrusions for Hot and Cold Aisle Containments
When considering the materials, you’ll use to construct the hot or cold aisle containment system you want to consider those that best adhere to data center cooling standards or practices. Extrusions made from high-quality aluminum alloys are key to building efficient hot or cold aisle containment systems, while making sure your space fulfills all data center cooling standards and data center cooling requirements. With great versatility of use, aluminum offers a range of unique benefits that make it a go-to choice when considering data center cooling options. Aluminum is incredibly lightweight, durable, versatile, recyclable, not to mention efficient and highly cost-effective.
Eagle Mouldings offers a product selection that is sure to suit your needs while maintaining data center cooling standards. If you are searching for a special shape or custom aluminum extrusion for a data center containment solution, Eagle’s team of experts has the experience to help you create and engineer a solution that will fulfill your extrusion needs and help you gain a competitive edge for your business.