A data centre that’s efficient is a data centre that’s productive
‘In rack’ cooling is the most targeted data centre cooling currently available. This is achieved by using the rear door of the cabinet as a heat exchanger. Variable speed fans pull the exhaust air from the incumbent equipment over a water filled coil fed via a central distribution unit. Heat is transferred from the air into the water, which in turn is carried away to the chilled water services. The subsequent chilled air is forced from the back of the door and into the server room back at ambient temperature.
However there are a large number of legacy data centres still employing ‘in room’ cooling. Generally air conditioners are sited in the room and supply cool air into the entire area. Newer rooms may have a more focused approach to airflow. Raised floors may be used in conjunction with hot/cold aisle containment.
Does your data centre cooling work as hard for your company as you do?
For lower energy and maintenance costs, a strategy of ‘free cooling’ can be applied on site.
Free cooling harnesses external environmental conditions (e.g. air and water) to cool a data centre. More often than not, especially in the UK, the prevailing air temperature will be considerably cooler than the air that is warmed by data centre equipment. By filtering, humidifying and introducing this air directly into the data centre, it is possible to reduce or eliminate the use of industrial-grade CRAC systems. Cooling systems that use this approach are sometimes called air-side economisers
Alternatively, a source of cold water from local rivers, lake or underground sources can be circulated into a data centre and used instead of undergoing the traditional method of refrigerating a closed water loop with a chiller. Systems using this approach are often called water-side economisers and are typically used to cool either room air or funnelled directly to cool cabinets and other systems.
Can ‘Free Cooling’ be used all year round?
Only in really extreme weather would a ‘free cooling’ solution require traditional back up. However the solution is intelligent enough to cope with the fluctuations and determine the best mix for your data centre.
Is Free Cooling really ‘Free’?
In reality, free cooling is not entirely free. There are the costs to run and maintain the equipment such as the pumps, fans and other air/water-handling kit. These have to be bought and maintained.
But our evidence suggests a ‘free cooling’ solution can potentially reduce energy cooling costs by 95% in a data centre.
What are the Benefits of Free Cooling?
There are several!
- The working life of installed cooling systems can be significantly extended.
- Drastic reductions in data centre power consumption
- Fewer service and repair calls
Does Free Cooling apply to all sizes of Data Centre?
Not necessarily, in our experience a requirement of less than 30kw of cooling would not see a swift enough return on investment.
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