HOW IMPORTANT ARE THESE CONSIDERATIONS?
The most straightforward payback is that IT equipment can operate in a more controlled environment. Installation of the proper type of containment will ensure the IT equipment is getting inlet air at the right temperature.
By separating the cool and warm air the return air to the cooling units will be warmer meaning they will operate more efficiently. The air separation also means less supply air will be required to meet the needs of the IT equipment – therefore cooling units will operate less.
Temperature set points can be increased on the cooling units, another step to making them more energy efficient. Humidity levels will also be more consistent throughout the space as well.
By increasing the efficiency of the cooling units and reducing the amount of cooling needed, more capacity to accommodate IT equipment will result. This can result in a capacity increase of 50% or more.
In a colo data center that means more client IT equipment can be added without having to buy new cooling systems. In an enterprise data center cooling costs will go down and the need to expand the data center or add more cooling units can be deferred.
The best way to determine what is needed is to have a reputable company assess the data center and provide expert advice. In some cases, doing airflow modeling will help to provide direction on the best solution.
WHAT IS THE PAYBACK OF DOING CONTAINMENT?
Hot aisle containment captures the warm exhaust air, moves it into the ceiling plenum allowing the warm air to return to the cooling units without losing heat. In these types of installations, the remainder of the data center becomes a large cold aisle.
Cold aisle containment encloses the airflow from the perforated tiles using doors at the end of the cold aisles and a roof over the cold aisle. This forces the cool air to move through the IT equipment before entering the larger room space. Depending on the size of the space and the kW load of the racks the area outside the cold aisles may become noticeably warmer.
Another form of containment is the use of rear door heat exchangers (RDx). In these installations, the rack is equipped to cool the exhaust air prior to it being exhausted into the room. The RDx can be passive, allowing the air to flow through the cooling coils on the doors or active, with fans on the rack rear door to push the cooling air into the room.
HOW DO YOU FIND OUT MORE?
Containment is an enabler to increase IT capacity. The experts at SCTi are here to assist you to evaluate the best containment solution for your infrastructure.