How to Overcome Data Center HVAC Supply Chain Issues
Controlling data center energy demands is a critical step to achieving ESG targets.
Supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic have affected access to common products, and HVAC suppliers are no exception. This has significant implications for data center managers, who rely heavily on their Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems to maintain an optimal operating environment. Unfortunately, acquiring new data center HVAC equipment now takes 1-2 years, and end-user prices have risen considerably due to increased raw material costs, transportation expenses, and labor costs, with some costs rising to upwards of 80% more than a year ago.
So, what can you do while waiting for new cooling equipment to arrive?
This comes down to the situation in your data center.
WHAT IS STRANDED COOLING CAPACITY?
Stranded cooling capacity occurs when there is much more cooling and air flow operating than required for the IT load, resulting in significant air bypass and low return air temperatures. This reduces the operating efficiency of the data center and creates the impression that more cooling is required.
WHAT CONTRIBUTES TO STRANDED COOLING CAPACITY?
Factors impacting cooling efficiency in data centers include:
- Poor air flow management: This results in significant air bypass with cool air being returned to the cooling systems without picking up any heat from servers. This could be due to too much air being delivered, improper placement or unnecessary perforated tiles releasing cool air into areas where it is not needed. It is common in a multiple cooling system data center to have all cooling units running, even though the IT load does not require that much air flow.
- Low set point settings: Keeping set points low causes the cooling unit to work harder to maintain the low return air temperature. Not only does this severely impact the cooling capacity but it is also an extremely energy inefficient way to operate. Today’s IT equipment is designed to operate at much higher temperatures than 10 years ago.
NEXT STEPS TO KEEP YOUR DATA CENTER OPTIMIZED WHILE WAITING FOR NEW EQUIPMENT
Use a cooling site audit to identify inefficiencies and establish what improvements can be made to release the stranded cooling capacity. By releasing stranded capacity more IT load can be added enabling the data center to offer new services, reducing overall energy costs while growing the IT load.
By evaluating cooling and air flow efficiency, releasing stranded cooling capacity, and conducting a cooling site audit, data center managers can optimize their cooling effectiveness and grow their data center while reducing overall energy costs.
The best part of using this approach is that it can reduce the overall PUE by releasing stranded cooling capacity, allowing the postponement of investment in additional cooling, while also lowering cooling energy costs and enabling the growth of the IT load. It is a winning combination that is hard to beat!