Airflow management and optimization are key in achieving a high level of cooling effectiveness and efficiency.

Legacy data centers are especially vulnerable to poor airflow management as typically the site has evolved over a number of years, equipment types and rack layouts have changed and heat loads have continually increased. However, deploying data centre air containment in a legacy site can be one of the most significant steps taken to improve cooling operation and reduce cooling energy costs. 

Planning containment for a new build is straightforward. Rack positioning and geometry are consistent, return air paths are not encumbered with cable and power trays or other infrastructure. 

Legacy sites offer a number of challenges for containment. Lengths of rack rows and heights and depth of racks vary, meaning the containment needs to be flexible with a unique designExisting infrastructure such as cable and power trays may need to be worked around. Fire detection and suppression systems will most likely need to be upgraded and added to.  

SCTi, partnering with Polargy Inc, offers containment solutions for new builds and legacy sites. 

SCTi has the expertise to advise on which containment solution best meets the site’s conditions. We provide the engineering insight and design to ensure the containment solution optimizes airflow, maximizing cooling effectiveness and efficiency.  We work with qualified contractors to ensure the implementation is seamless and delivers on the expected cooling improvements. 

Whether you are considering a new build or retrofitting an existing site to improve cooling effectiveness, SCTi can provide a solution to meet your needs.  


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. By containing the hot aisle, the hot and cold airstreams are separated, improving data centre cooling efficiency. Some of the benefits of hot aisle containment include:

  • Easier to achieve airflow balance with a common cold zone
  • Open area of room is kept cool


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. 

Cold aisle containment is widely used on retrofits of existing sites because the roofing approach can avoid the need to modify fire suppression and it fits below existing cable trays and other obstructions. Co-location and wholesale providers like this method because it provides flexibility for layout changes. With individual contained cold aisles it is particularly important to monitor and balance the airflow within the aisles. 



UL-listed for use below sprinkler heads, the PolarPlex™ Drop-Away Panels solve the “sprinkler head obstruction” problem associated with deploying containment. This unique Hot and Cold Aisle Containment Solution is deployed horizontally across the aisles to create a tight containment barrier. 

The panels are made of an aluminium frame with a special translucent insert. The inserts are available in either a frosted or clear type. Panel inserts are heat sensitive and promptly move out of their setting in high heat. They are designed for use underneath lighting and fire suppression systems and are engineered to drop out of a panel frame in the event of a fire. 


Polargy’s PolarPlex™ Containment Curtains are a highly effective air isolation solution for controlling airflow in a data centre. Made of high-grade vinyl and installed with Polargy’s trouble-free mounting system, they are an economical way to eliminate hot spots and overcooled zones, saving energy while improving equipment reliability. They accommodate any data centre configuration, are easy to install, and flexible to redeploy.


Easy opening, smooth gliding, no threshold, auto-closing, and hold-open features are attributes of Polargy’s Aisle End Doors. Both swing and sliding doors are available and are designed for installation flexibility and will attach to any brand of rack. 


SCTi has experience designing and installing containment in all types of legacy data centres such as telecom, enterprise, and colo’s. This includes hot aisle, cold aisle, curtains, and rigid containment.  

Working around existing infrastructure is a challenge in legacy sites but with the correct materials, this can be achieved for either hot or cold aisle containment. In some cases, the cost to retrofit existing fire suppression systems cannot be justified so a workaround is required. 

A common problem encountered in legacy sites is reverse flow equipment which is blowing warm air into the cold aisle. SCTi has designed an air flow diverter that attaches to the rack and can be easily removed for cabling or other work. 

Implementing hot aisle containment can include extending the return air plenum of the CRAC unit into the dropped ceiling space. The solution shown below is customized to meet varying sizes of CRAC returns and ceiling heights. Installations are quick and secure. Opening in the panels facilitates filter changes. 


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