More than ever, a variety of businesses rely on data centers for maximum uptime of websites, off-site storage, and other data-heavy applications. With continually increasing demands on capacity, data center owners and operators are focusing on energy efficiency both to keep sensitive equipment up and running, to reduce energy costs, and improve data center cooling.
In cooler climates, data centers can use outside air as a source of low-cost cooling. In other centers, operators keep their facilities cool with simple strategies like hot and cold aisles that limit exhaust mixing with cooled air. But for many data centers, increasingly complex and energy-hungry IT systems have created new challenges, including:
What are the current approaches to data center cooling, and how can design of data centers impact the cooling process?
Within data centers, cooling systems must lend themselves to flexibility and scalability for reliable performance. Typically, data centers use solutions that are pre-engineered and standardized to handle loads that most certainly will increase as technology advances.
In addition, data center operators must choose among types of cooling units, including:
Some other factors go into choosing the right cooling system. For example, different types of buildings with variances in architectural features will affect how efficiently particular systems work. The location of equipment rooms in relation to cooling equipment, heights of suspended ceilings and raised floors, overall floor plans, and other factors also play a role.
The ways in which data centers are designed can significantly impact cooling. For modern data centers, architects and engineers consider a number of factors early in the design process that will have long-term effects on cooling efficiency, including:
After a client and design team establish goals, some requirements also factor into the process of building in an appropriate cooling system:
For modern data centers, several approaches to cooling currently are gaining popularity.
Data centers vary in their age, energy efficiency, capacity, demand and other factors. To maximize cooling, operators should consider potential upgrades to older facilities and design new ones with efficiency top of mind. Using both existing and new cooling technologies can provide benefits including lower costs and higher production.