Technology Company – Containment

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Customer: A multinational security solutions company that provides security for enterprises and consumers in more than 4,000 organizations spanning 60 countries.

Issue: The client was planning to expand their server population by 30% with high density, high powered servers and was concerned with the level of heat that would be generated and if the current cooling system would be adequate.

Challenge: This was a high priority project for the company and any required changes needed to be made within working hours and within a very security sensitive environment. Downtime was not an option.

Process: The SCTi team conducted a detailed analysis of the air management within the data centre, current heat load of the racks and an assessment of the cooling capacity. Based on this we were able to present the customer with schematics that showed the level of air mixing within the room, the inefficiency of the current air management system and extrapolate this information to identify changes required to accommodate the significant addition in heat load.

Solution: The solution involved making changes to the under floor air plenum to ensure cooled air was being delivered to the front of the servers rather than underneath. Rack doors were changed to improve air flow in and out of the racks and all floor openings, other than properly positioned perforated tiles were closed off. The final recommendation was to implement a cold aisle containment solution which concentrates the flow of cooled air to the front of the racks.

Implementation: In order to take advantage of energy rebates available through the local utilities, an initial benchmark of total energy consumption with the data centre prior to any changes being made. A step by step project plan was developed to ensure all action was taken in the proper sequence to avoid air delivery issues and any impact on the operation.

Result: With all the retrofits in place the data center is now an optimum environment for the new servers. Set points on the CRAC units have been increased by 6°C resulting in a significant cost savings. Return exhaust air temperature to the CRAC units has increased from 21°C to over 27°C resulting in much more efficient operation of the units. With ongoing energy savings and rebate the projected ROI is less than one year.