Andrew Jimenez, Vice President of Technology for Anixter, reviews the four main cooling strategies that drive efficiencies in your data center.
Hi. This is Andy Jimenez, Vice President of Technology with Anixter. I’m speaking to youfrom our Infrastructure Solutions Lab, located here in Glenview, Illinois.
We host hundreds of lab visits every year—data center customers, physical security customers—but specific to data centers, we have lots of customers that are concerned about the high-density applications that they are faced with. So, as servers become higher density (in the order of 10 kW or higher), a pressing problem arises. Namely, how do you support these high-density applications while simultaneously improving the energy efficiency of your environment?
So, there’s a number of ways that you can deploy different solutions within your data center to improve the thermal management. There’s four basic ones that we cover here within Anixter when customers come and visit us. The principal thing to take into account with any thermal management strategy is how do you separate the exhaust air, which is exiting from the rear of the servers, from the supply-side air that is coming from your computer room air conditioning units.
The name of the game is how do you create that segregation or separation between those two the air paths.
The first solution we cover is called passive cooling. This is using either ducting or some other type of chimney on top of a cabinet to basically route or duct all of the exhaust air exiting from the rear of the servers up to the return air point within the data center. This provides the separation we are looking for between the exhaust and supply-side air.
The second solution is called containment. There are ways you can contain the exhaust air or supply-side air so you don’t have that mixing we are talking about. So, with hot-aisle containment, as the name implies, you basically contain all the exhaust air exiting the rear of your servers in a containment area. You can use a small room to contain the exhaust air or you can use containment curtains that you can retrofit an existing installation for the purposes of trying to provide separation between exhaust and supply-side air.
A third option is something called precision air cooling units. If you are in a data center environment where your raised floor may have been built some time ago and maybe you don’t have enough depth or volume to provide the cooling necessary for your data center, you can use precision air cooling units to basically supplement the cooling that’s already existing in the data center. So with these precision air cooling systems, you can basically put them on top of a cabinet and provide that supplemental cooling within the cold aisle and this will provide you with the supplemental cooling capacity for your specific environment.
The fourth option is something called a rear-door heat exchanger. With this system, you put heat exchanger coils on the rear of the cabinet, so as the exhaust air exits the rear of the servers, it passes through the coils and removes the heat from the servers and exits out the rear of the cabinets as cold air. The purpose of this is to improve the efficiencies of the cooling systems within your room.
So, using these basic steps will provide for a more energy-efficient data center. Thanks for your time and have a great day.
For more on data center efficiency considerations, download our Data Center Thermal Efficiency Best Practices white paper.