YOU TALKED ABOUT “MEASURING SUCCESS.” WHAT QUANTITATIVE RESULTS DO YOU CONSIDER BEFORE AND AFTER A CONTAINMENT PROJECT?
There are a number of elements that can be used to measure success. Two of the most common are:
- A measure of cooling energy reduction which requires metering of cooling units pre and post containment. As noted above, containment on its own will reduce cooling energy consumption however steps to change cooling system operation are how energy reduction will be maximized.
- Measuring thermal condition in the cold aisle is another step. Containment should remove any hotspots in the data center and provide a more consistent temperature at the rack inlets.
In projects that we undertake, we do full energy metering of the cooling units pre and post and measure IT loads pre and post to identify any changes, positive or negative. As part of our close-out process, we provide a detailed analysis showing several metrics including changes in cooling system operation and changes in airflow volumes and temperature set points.
Two of the main KPI’s we offer are cooling effectiveness and cooling efficiency.
Cooling effectiveness is an indication of how many kW’s of cooling is required to cool a kW of heat. The second is cooling efficiency which is how many kW’s are required to generate one kW of cooling. Both these KPIs provide a clear picture as to how cooling operation has improved.
DO I REALLY NEED CONTAINMENT IF MY RACK DENSITY AVERAGES 5KW? WOULD THERE BE SUFFICIENT PAYBACK?
The real question to be asked is “how much am I spending on excess cooling energy with rack heat loads in the 5kW range without containment?” You can certainly provide adequate cooling to meet the needs of 5 kW racks, but how much excess cooling and energy is being used?
Containment will enable you to reduce the amount of cooling being provided, increase temperature set points and allow increases in rack kW loads without adding more cooling.
To achieve a good payback the steps noted above must be taken to reduce energy costs which will show a payback of fewer than 3 years. The other major benefit of containment is that you can now increase rack densities into the 12 kW range without having to increase data center space or cooling capacity in most cases
As part of our Audit process, we provide you with a business case that identifies the potential energy savings and payback so you can make a go-no-go decision before incurring the cost of proceeding with containment installation.
Also as noted in the response to the question above, as part of our close-out process, we provide KPIs including cooling efficiency and cooling effectiveness which will clearly show how conditions have improved.
HOW DO I PREPARE MY DATA CENTER BEFORE DEPLOYING CONTAINMENT? WILL IT DISRUPT DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS?
The actions to prepare for containment are all actions that should be taken, and in some cases may already be done in your data center, to align with industry best practices. As outlined in our webinar, actions to improve airflow management such as the installation of blanking panels in empty rack U spaces, openings between racks, and openings in the raised floor are some of the more basic operations. In most cases, as part of the SCTi turnkey solutions delivery, we do all of the above actions as part of the containment installation.
One key aspect that must be addressed prior to containment, and we can help with this, is to get the appropriate approvals related to fire code. In most cases, some modifications will be required, and this must be identified before the design of containment is finalized to ensure compliance.
None of the above actions will impact day to day operation.
MY DATA CENTER IS A MIX OF RACK ROWS AND STANDALONE RACKS – CAN CONTAINMENT STILL BE DONE?
We have installed containment in several data centers with similar equipment layouts. Containment may consist of a combination of rigid and curtain containment; however, it is very achievable, and the result is highly effective.