What is the right way to cost effectively cool a data center? Is it about increasing the input temperature? Maybe aisle containment is the answer? What about free air cooling? Should high density racks be water cooled? All of these are questions that data center owners should be reviewing on a regular basis when looking at their data center. Those failing to review their cooling could be playing Russian roulette with their facility. The right level of cooling can have a significant impact on power bills and make a company look as if it is meeting environmental targets. In recent years data center owners have embraced the cost savings that moving from an input temperature of 60.8°F to 73.4°F have delivered. At the same time, they know that there is an increasing amount of “green” legislation that means it is about more than just the money.
Historically, data centers were cooled through the use of computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units spread around the outside of the room and cold air forced under the floor. With low power usage in the racks this was sufficient to cool all the equipment. Since the advent of blade systems and the increase in switches and storage, power usage per square foot has soared, along with the heat.