Modern data centers are extremely technologically sophisticated and require careful monitoring and management at all times to ensure safe and efficient operations. Among the most critical challenges data center managers face is maintaining the proper temperature.
If the temperature and humidity in the data center rise to excessive levels, it could lead to condensation, which would damage the devices inside. Needless to say, this situation can cause serious problems and failures, so it should be avoided at all costs. Fortunately, there are various technologies that can help keep the temperature in the data center at the proper level.
Basics of data center environmental management
So, what is environmental control in a data center really? In short, controlling the environment in a data center involves managing a number of different factors, such as temperature and humidity, to ensure efficient and safe equipment operation. Also, the hot air coming out of IT equipment can be reused to improve data center cooling efficiency. Efficiency can also be improved by reducing bypass airflow: the amount of time it takes for air to pass through a device. This is called airflow management.
According to experts, the recommended temperature for data centers is between 70 and 75°F (or 21 to 24°C). However, it is worth noting that some studies have shown that companies can bear extra costs by keeping temperatures below 70°F (21°C). Data centers may have to maintain temperatures lower than recommended, depending on atmospheric stratification. A mixture of cold and exhaust air can cause increased cooling costs. This demonstrates how many factors need to be considered to ensure an optimal balance in data center environmental management.
Proper rack hygiene can help prevent exhaust air from leaking into the intake area. For example, plugs or other attachments can be placed around the edges, on the floor, at the top, or directly across the rack air intake to ensure that only air from the cold aisle reaches the equipment intakes. Hot and cold aisles can also be insulated to prevent cold and hot air from mixing inside the server rooms.
Data center cooling: issues and solutions
As mentioned earlier, data centers use sophisticated and advanced technology. It is critical to ensure that the equipment is functioning safely and to avoid any potential problems. Certainly, as technology deployed in data centers evolves, the challenges faced by data center managers change as well. New methods must constantly be developed to handle new risks: after all, IT upgrades typically occur every 1.5 - 2.5 years.
When it comes to controlling the data center environment, there are five major issues: adaptability and scalability, availability, life cycle cost, maintenance and serviceability, and manageability. Even when the future load profiles can be determined in advance, it can be difficult to accurately calculate whether the data center cooling system is capable of meeting increased requirements. Therefore, cooling systems must be flexible and scalable so that they can be adapted to changing needs.
Steps to improve energy efficiency
In addition to climate change being perhaps one of the biggest challenges today, the cost of electricity has also risen significantly in recent years, and, since data centers generally require huge amounts of energy, it makes sense to keep them as efficient as possible, whether it's a small data center or a larger facility.
First of all, it is important that data centers measure how much energy they use for non-computing functions, such as cooling. Effective airflow management is especially important. With effective insulation, data centers can reduce the risk of hot and cold air mixing. It also suggests that careful analysis can help improve airflow management as much as possible. One option is to use thermal modeling and computational fluid dynamics to develop an optimal airflow management strategy.
Natural cooling can also help improve data center energy efficiency. There are a variety of forms of natural cooling, including thermal pools, low-temperature ambient air and evaporative water. Although 70°F is generally considered the optimum temperature for data centers, many equipment manufacturers allow them to maintain temperatures of 80°F or higher in cold aisles. However, it may be worth consulting with the equipment manufacturer to determine the best approach for your particular data center.
The future of temperature management in data centers
As mentioned earlier, rapid technological change requires data centers to be constantly agile so they can make the most of new technology and meet the evolving needs of their customers. Thus, it seems inevitable that significant changes will occur in the coming years. However, according to Techtarget, the changes expected over the next few years are likely to be relatively modest compared to the large-scale technological innovations that have recently occurred. Instead, data center cooling technologies will be perfected and refined rather than overhauled.
However, many experts in the field anticipate the introduction of some alternative data center cooling technologies. Data centers are likely to use a combination of traditional and alternative cooling methods, and their location could become a major issue in the coming years. Construction in locations with cooler climates or near cold water sources can help significantly improve energy efficiency, as well as reduce costs.
Many data center equipment manufacturers are now designing their equipment to operate at temperatures above the standard 70°F. This is a trend that some experts believe will gain momentum over the next few years. So next-generation servers can operate at much higher temperatures, which should help data centers save money and effort when it comes to temperature management.
Over time, we can expect the role of traditional mechanical cooling to somewhat diminish. Natural cooling technologies are likely to be more widely used and the next generation of data centers will benefit from their advantages. This is why operational resilience is so important: data centers must be able to plan ahead and anticipate new technological innovations in order to adapt accordingly.
As a conclusion
Thus, cooling systems are vital to data center operations. They have changed a lot over the years and will continue to evolve in the near future. Vertiv offers a range of data center cooling products that can help improve efficiency. With a wide array of advanced cooling technologies to maximize performance and improve energy efficiency, Vertiv offers a range of products to ensure that data centers save money on energy bills, as well as reduce their carbon footprint.
For more information about purchasing Vertiv data center cooling solutions, please email email@example.com.