Data Center Airflow Modeling Helps Facilities Planners Make Informed Decisions
The placement of computer equipment in a new or existing data center is not always obvious. In many cases, common-sense placements will give rise to equipment hot spots resulting from inadequate airflow, even though there might be enough total cooling capacity in the room. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) can be an effective way to simulate the proposed changes and understand their implications prior to implementation. This can save time in the short term, and because of the potential to reduce the overall cooling requirement, it can save operating costs over the longer term.History of CFD
CFD has been around for over 30 years, and the use of commercial CFD software has grown rapidly during this time. General-purpose CFD software has many capabilities that allow for simulations of flames, supersonic flow, multiphase mixtures (such as bubbly flow), and the deformation of viscoelastic materials, for example. Typically, an analyst must generate a model, direct the solution, and process the results. Many engineers and technicians do not need all of the capabilities in a general purpose product, however, and furthermore do not wish to spend long hours or even days generating a model and overseeing the path to solution. They have a need for the information that CFD provides, but do not want to invest in long training times and the associated learning curve. In contrast, CoolSim is an application-specific implementation of CFD that targets the sole task of modeling the airflow in data centers. This approach lowers the learning curve significantly by making the application highly automated and easy to use.