Four Ways to Beat Data Center Heat
Data center operators and facility managers continuously work to ensure temperatures remain consistent without raising energy bills. With so many options on the market, it can be hard to decide which one is the best. Beating data center heat is possible, though, and here are four ways to do it.
1. Employ Regularly Scheduled Maintenance
Regularly scheduled maintenance plays a significant role in sustaining data center uptime. A regular preventative maintenance schedule from your server racks to your facility's cooling system ensures everything is running as planned. Without regularly scheduled maintenance, by the time temperatures rise, it's too late.
2. Optimize Server Racks for Cooling Efficiency
In a high-density data center, an effective cable management structure is critical to improving cooling at a rack level. With the amount of equipment in a modern-day rack, the cables can take up a good deal of available space. If they are not correctly tied/effectively managed, they will start to block airflow.
The position of distribution units (PDUs) within racks can also affect cooling. If not positioned correctly, PDUs can block airflow within a cabinet. A recessed PDU cavity can alleviate this pain point because it moves the PDU outward from the cabinet and away from the area that would typically block hot air.
Many data centers are also adopting white hardware as their standard instead of black, for heat retention purposes. This simple change can provide tangible cost savings on a data center's monthly electric bill, and rack manufacturers typically don't upcharge for a white rack over a black rack.
3. Rethink Your Data Center Architecture
Hot and cold aisle designs alternate rows of hot and cold aisles to improve cooling efficiency. The concept is simple: Cold air enters the front of racks in the cold aisle, and hot exhaust air exits the back of the racks into the hot aisle. Many companies are taking this a step further and implementing hot and cold aisle containment systems to lessen air mixing and reduce operational costs associated with cooling.
The goal for cold aisle containment is to create a smaller area to cool. The cold row is capped at the top of the cabinets and across the aisle, and doors are installed at the ends of the rows to contain cold air.
With hot aisle containment systems, hot air is isolated with vertical panels to reduce energy use and costs. This barrier prevents hot and cold air mixing and directs exhaust airflow into an a/c return, which will increase the capacity of CRAC units.
4. Increase Data Center Temperatures
Increasing data center temperatures to reduce cooling costs may seem counter-intuitive to maintain uptime, but running your data center at a higher temperature than the norm — 68° to 71°F — has been shown to increase data center efficiency. Google keeps its data centers as high as 80° to reduce energy usage.
Data Center Cooling for Modern Day Data Centers
As data center cooling concerns continue to rise, there will also be a rise in cooling best practices and cooling technology.
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