Managing Your Data Center Airflow

When it comes to managing airflow, the goal of any data center manager should be to understand the efficiencies in his or her own specific cooling process. Once learning the keys to effective cooling, it’s critical to maintain effective cooling methods and keep an open mind for innovations that can improve efficiency. The effectiveness of a data center’s CRAC unit/s and cooling system is heavily reliant on the path, temperature and quantity of cool air being delivered to equipment, and hot air then returning from the equipment. Technology Connection believes there are two objectives that data center managers must focus on when attempting to achieve good airflow efficiency:

1) To eliminate any recirculation of hot equipment exhaust air. Efficiency can be improved by removing the hot exhaust air in the data center. 

2) To maximize server efficiency. Data center managers can achieve this by ensuring the cool air is delivered directly to the heat loads, and any mixing of hot and cold air is eliminated. It’s crucial that cool air be supplied directly to air intake locations. 

Multiple strategies can be implemented in order to achieve these objectives, and ultimately the end goal of an effective and efficient data center cooling process. 

Technology Connection stands behind the following strategies that could be worth exploring for your own unique data center. If you’re currently facing airflow inefficiencies and need to reduce the circulation of hot exhaust air, some of these solutions might be right for you… In every case, the best first step is to discuss your data center in detail with a Technology Connection team member to establish the best course of action.

a) Hot Aisle / Cold Aisle Configuration: Data center managers should aim to arrange IT equipment into a true cold/ hot aisle configuration throughout the data center. This setup provides the opportunity to maximize the data center’s airflow and energy efficiency.

b) Containment Implementations: This strategy requires data center managers to build enclosures that fully separate the heat that is exhausted from (typically) the back of the IT equipment from the cool air intakes on the front. Data center configuration and details assist in dictating which type of containment strategy should best be utilized in your data center.

c) Blank Unused Rack Positions: Most standard equipment exhausts hot air out the back, drawing cool in from the face of the rack. If any openings exist and form gaps through the rack, they should be blocked in order to prevent any hot air from recirculating back to the IT equipment. Blanking off open U’s will also increase the height of which cold air is delivered to the rack face.

d) Design for IT Airflow Configuration: Some IT equipment does not allow for front-to-back cooling airflow. Data center managers can configure racks to ensure equipment with side-to-side, top-discharge, or other airflow configurations reject heat away from any air intakes and are setup in the most efficient way possible.

e) Select Racks with Good Internal Airflow: The last strategy managers can implement is to select racks without internal structures that obstruct smooth cooling airflow to any portion of the IT equipment.

Technology Connection has the potential to help any data center manager with all of these strategies, and encourage you to discover which ones have the potential to be right for you. When managers take these types of strategies and solutions into consideration and explore the benefits of implementation, only then will maximum efficiencies and CRAC unit effectiveness be achieved. If you find yourself interested in any of these suggestions, or have any questions on which would be right for you, please feel free to reach out to Technology Connection and our airflow specialists.

Technology Connection 

2370 Genoa Business Park Drive

Brighton, MI 48114

Phone: (810) 588-4369

Fax: (810) 588-4546