State-of-the-Art Cooling Techniques for a Data Center

Maintaining optimal operating temperatures is a challenge for many data centers. The more air that must be cooled, the more power will be required. And the more cooling that’s required, the more cost the provider will incur.

In addition, when a data center isn’t properly cooled, equipment can overheat. Overheating can lead to reduced server performance or damage.  So, managing air flow has a major impact on performance, cost and energy efficiency.

When cooling a data center, the goal is to prevent hot air emitted from IT equipment from recirculating. Several methods exist to improve cooling, including raised floor, hot/cold aisle containment, hybrid technologies and others.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the more popular and effective cooling techniques used today:

  • Raised Floor – Cooling the air within a data center can be accomplished by using the empty space below a raised floor to house conditioned air. Floor tiles with perforations are located underneath computer systems. The conditioned air below the tiles is drawn to the computing equipment and exhausted into the room. The air conditioning unit then draws air from the room and cools it. This cooled air is forced below the raised floor. This cooling cycle repeats continuously.
  • Containment of Hot/Cold Aisles – This method prevents conditioned cool air from mixing with the hot air exhausted from IT equipment. It involves the strategic placement of server cabinets. For example, rows of cabinets face each other to allow cool air to reach the equipment air intakes. The hot and cold aisles are physically separated by panels or curtains.
  • High Ceiling – Many data centers construct their equipment rooms with high ceilings. The extra space allows generated heat to rise away from equipment and into the air conditioning system.
  • Ambient Air – When ambient air is cooler outside the data center, the air handling system can bring in that air and distribute it to the data center floor. This method provides a simple, efficient cooling technique that saves money. Also called “free cooling,” using ambient air for cooling is considered a green solution.

With higher densities and increased computing power, service providers are challenged to strike the right balance between performance and energy efficiency. They must continually look for ways to reduce the energy required for cooling while at the same time ensuring system reliability.

Energy efficiency will continue to be an important goal for data centers. The more efficiently a data center can direct cooled air to exactly where it’s needed, the more cost-effective the operation will be.

FairPoint’s data centers provide organizations with network connectivity and rack space in physically secure, reliable locations. Businesses can use this space as primary or secondary data center sites. In addition, data center colocation space can also be employed as an essential part of a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy. FairPoint’s data centers are strictly controlled environments with essential power, cooling, connectivity and security features – including continuous video monitoring and keycard access at ingress points.

For data center colocation services that address your remote storage, off-site IT and disaster recovery requirements, call FairPoint Data Center Services (1.866.984.4001) or visit www.fairpoint.com/businessclassdatacenter.

FairPoint Communications

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