Hospital turns to hot aisle containment to cure its data center woes
Custom solution was crucial for flexibility of devices and layout of facility.
Nearly 900 physicians and more than 8,000 nurses work at University of Florida (UF) Health Shands Hospital, a teaching hospital of the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. It is one of seven hospitals in the UF Health system, and one of two campuses for UF’s Health Science Center.
The institute is among the nation’s best in seven specialties — urology, cardiology, neurology, pulmonology, nephrology, gastroenterology, and oncology.
The faculty from the UF College of Medicine includes nationally and internationally recognized physicians whose expertise is supported by intensive research activities. Shands' affiliation with the UF Health Science Center allows patients to benefit from the latest medical knowledge and technology.
UF Health Shands’ new data center, located in the new Shands Cancer Hospital, supports the entire hospital’s operation. It backs up and stores everything from patient and staff files, to security footage and accounting files. As a premiere teaching hospital at the University of Florida, an efficient, reliable operation is critical for delivering the most comprehensive and high-quality care, which is why UF Health Shands Hospital returned to Chatsworth Products (CPI) for its state-of-the-art solutions and customization expertise.
On September 24, 2013 UF Health Shands opened its brand new data center. Using all Glacier White cabinets, runway and containment, the energy efficient space was ready for deployment. “Using white instead of the traditional black made it a class act and did not increase design costs,” Brad Kowal, associate director of computer operations for UF Health Shands Hospital, stated.
UF Health Shands Hospital was very familiar with CPI’s products, customization capabilities, and technical support. Located in the main part of the hospital, the legacy data center includes black CPI F-Series TeraFrame® Gen 2 cabinets with custom Vertical Exhaust Ducts. Two of the cabinets are Glacier White to easily distinguish them from the others and indicate that they host emergency equipment, such as DMZ servers, public safety, and security information.
But even with this reliable architecture in place, the hospital still needed a new space with more power and cooling capabilities for its growing campus.
A Brand New Data Center
Initially, the room that turned into UF Health Shands Hospital’s new data center was being used for storage. In order to support the robust IT infrastructure that the hospital needed, the 2,200 sq ft space required a custom solution that would fit into the already existing room configuration.
UF Health Shands wanted an effective method to contain the heat from the IT equipment in the cabinets, exhausted cabinets and hot aisle containment. Additionally, the IT team had to consider air handlers and electrical gear, while maintaining enough space and flexibility in the data center.
After scoping out the specs of the room and figuring out the requirements, Kowal and Joe Keena, data center operations manager for UF Health Shands Hospital, started to look for efficient solutions for the new space. CPI was a clear contender.
Steven Bornfield, senior data center consultant for CPI, explored and evaluated all of CPI's products and solutions, showed examples of other CPI custom projects and proposed design options to the UF Health Shands IT team.
By June 2013, UF Health Shands Hospital had begun planning the new data center, complete with CPI products.
CPI’s Custom Solution
CPI created a custom cabinet and aisle containment solution to fit in the new data center space. The design featured CPI’s 45U F-Series TeraFrame Gen 2 cabinets with vertical exhaust ducts, N-Series TeraFrame network cabinets, a custom, self-supported hot aisle containment (HAC) solution, snap-in filler panels and OnTrac® wire mesh cable tray.
“We’re the first data center in the state of Florida to have a free-standing Hot Aisle Containment solution,” Kowal said.
The HAC was customized to different heights, widths and depths to become the perfect solution for UF Health Shands. Equipment that had to remain in its own housing was rolled up to the HAC and fitted with panels that were cut to the correct size. “This helps maintain cooling, while accommodating vendor-supplied storage solutions,” said Keena.
Glacier White is not only an aesthetic feature, but the color also provides benefits, such as better visibility in the data center, which can reduce lighting costs and contribute to the energy efficiency UF Health Shands was hoping to achieve.
“Then the fun started,” Keena said. UF Health Shands worked closely with Bornfield on the specs of arranging the cabinets in the data center.
The N-Series TeraFrame cabinets host the networking switches and provide maximum flexibility and separation of hot and cold air within the cabinet. There are two N-Series cabinets on the end of each row, with a total of four in the data center.
The sturdy and highly functional F-Series cabinets host servers and storage and support containment solutions, making it a smart choice for UF Health Shands' data center, which supports several types of equipment in one setting. CPI's vertical exhaust ducts were the perfect choice in this solution to isolate and guide hot exhaust air from the back of the cabinet to the drop ceiling plenum, creating a closed hot air return path to the cooling system.
“The plan was to utilize all vertical exhaust duct cabinets but due to the constant changing environment of various devices, it was decided to use both Vertical Exhaust Duct cabinets matched with the HAC solution to allow for the cabinets and equipment that might not be able to be installed into Vertical Exhaust Duct cabinets,” Keena said.
Custom cable openings were also installed on the cabinets to allow proper power application.
UF Health Shands Hospital’s new data center is running effectively with efficient cooling, zero hot spots and increased per-cabinet densities.“CPI provided a unified solution where all of the cabinets matched and ensured that we were consistent to support current and future growth,” Keena said. “CPI provided true customer service and focus throughout the entire process,” he added.
A Partnership with Results
CPI’s Sales and Technical Support teams assisted in the design of the space and worked closely with the engineers to help them with the products, custom solutions and installation for UF Health Shands Hospital.
“We wouldn’t have this data center if it wasn’t for Steven. He came prepared, showed us options, and was able to walk the walk and talk the talk to the engineers. Our relationship, the responsiveness of the organization and quality of the product is why we went with CPI,” said Kowal.