Cooling Solutions

Old Cooling

Most data center equipment is mounted in cabinets or enclosures. Traditionally, the equipment is cooled with perimeter computer room air conditioners or CRACs. The cool air is drawn into the front of the equipment and exhausted out the back. Older data centers have cabinets in rows with the intake (fronts) across the aisle from the exhaust (backs) of cabinets in the next row. This design was popular years ago when the density and heat production in the data center was smaller than it is today. These traditional systems can no longer meet most data center cooling demands. The biggest problem with this old architecture is when hot air is mixed with cold air, and the systems become very inefficient. The biggest thing to remember is the CRAC consumes electrical energy.

Hot Aisle/Cold Aisle Cooling 

Hot/Cold Aisle

In redesigned data centers, the intake (fronts) face the intake (fronts) of cabinets in the same aisle. Therefore, the exhaust (backs) also face the exhaust (backs) in the next aisle. This design is known as hot-aisle/cold-aisle. The design minimizes the mixing of cool conditioned air with the hot exhaust air in the same aisle. These newer designs may also contain (or trap) the hot air and exhaust it back to the CRAC. Some manufactures are proponents of putting air conditioning units in enclosures between hot and cold aisles. This concept is known as "in-row" air conditioning.This system has proven to reduce energy costs, when combined with a hot-aisle/cold-aisle arrangement of cabinets and hot aisle containment.

Passive Cooling

Passive Cooling

One enclosure manufacturer has a passive cooling system engineered around the science of thermal dynamics. The equipment enclosures have special features to facilitate the escape of heat through the top/rear of the cabinet via a chimney system. This hot air can be directed out of the data center building and, based upon the climate, outside environmental air can be directed into the data center to cool the room. CRACs are still used to supplement cool air on hot days. The key thing to remember with these systems is they use very little, if any, electricity.