I have been pontificating about cooling system energy efficiency and water usage lately. In my last column, I discovered that a single hole on a golf course can use 2.8 million gallons of water a year just to stay “green.” Since I am not a golfer, my impression of golf courses is based on the 1980’s comedy Caddyshack. The film was based on a golf course that had a clever gopher that liked to dig holes, despite best (or worst) efforts of the groundskeeper. This crafty creature ultimately costs the club money and lost customers. While gophers are not usually a problem in most data centers, it turns out that a hole in the raised floor for cabling can be quite costly as well.
So let’s examine the issue of raised floors and cable openings, since it seems the world will continue to use and build traditional raised floor data centers, despite all the paradigm shifts in the data center design from Google, Facebook, Open Compute, Yahoo’s Chicken Coop, etc. The classic raised floor data center with underfloor cabling may be slowly fading, but it is far from gone. Here it is, approximately 20 years after the hot aisle/cold aisle concept was introduced and yet there are still many basic airflow issues that continue to plague these data centers.