Ways to Manage Data Center Airflow

May 1, 2019

Businesses around the globe rely on their IT equipment to enable processes and manage data — and since electronics are sensitive to overheating, it’s imperative to keep this IT equipment cool with proper airflow management. Data center design needs to take the production and movement of cold and warm air into account for an energy-efficient environment that enables the proper functioning of all relevant equipment.

Maintaining the Optimum Intake Temperature of the Equipment

Along with advances in technology, IT experts have learned more about how correct data center airflow management can protect servers and other sensitive equipment. The objective, of course, is to maintain a cool optimum intake temperature of the air drawn in and passing over IT equipment. It’s also important for the expelled hot air to rise and be efficiently removed via the computer room air conditioning — or CRAC — unit’s return plenums.

For example, a proven solution in data center airflow management is the installation of a raised floor. In this design, data center airflow can be better managed because cool air is distributed through perforated floor tiles. Because the floor is raised, less air is needed to provide the servers and other equipment with the cool intake air they require. This setup, in turn, reduces energy consumption and promotes the correct management of air temperatures across the data center at a reduced cost.

Short Airflow Paths

Data center airflow management doesn’t need to be overcomplicated. One way to keep it energy efficient and simple is to maintain short airflow paths for chilled air to reach equipment. Along with keeping energy costs low, short airflow paths are also a good way to help reduce or even eliminate leaks and the unwanted mixing of hot and cold air.

One way to decrease airflow paths is the popular data center design method of creating hot and cold aisles for the appropriate air exchange. In this manner, cold aisles are set up to directly take in freshly chilled air before it has the chance to dissipate and/or mix with the general air across the surrounding facility. In contrast, when racks of servers are arranged to expel used air directly into a hot aisle, it travels the shortest distance to the return plenums.

For hot and cold aisle airflow management to work effectively, every precaution needs to be taken to ensure proper air pressure and prevent airflow leaks.

Flexibility Challenges

As businesses expand, many data centers experience growth, along with the installation of new equipment. And when there are changes to the amount and arrangement of equipment, there can be challenges to data center airflow management. This is especially true for top-of-rack, horizontally mounted servers that are sometimes difficult to supply with sufficient cool air from perforated floor tiles below. For this reason, enclosed cabinets with airflow containment systems — which allow new equipment to be added — are a solution that permits flexibility without undue disruption to airflow management.

DataSpan — Helping Data Centers Manage Airflow Issues With Energy Efficiency

Since 1974, our team of experts at DataSpan has been providing innovative solutions to all sizes of data centers. That’s why more than half of the Fortune 1000 relies on us to advise and serve them. For all your airflow management issues, you can trust DataSpan. Contact us today, or find a representative in your area.