Keep It Cool: Budget and Energy Efficient Data Center Cooling Methods

Today’s data centers are built around the ability to be as efficient as possible in aspects of power, space and cooling. With a steady increase in need for data centers, it has become necessary to have energy efficient cooling systems in the budget for peak performance and lowered cost. A significant amount of power used by data centers is allocated to the cooling process. You should remember that 100% of the power used by the processing infrastructure is returned as heat and that heat must be dealt with.

The main waste produced by equipment in a data center is heat. If this heat isn’t managed properly, it can accumulate and eventually damage the systems and equipment it came from – thus the need for efficient cooling systems!

#1Liquid Liquid Cooling vs. Air Cooling

Liquid cooling gives a data center the ability to target specific system components to cool, but this means it requires more infrastructure like tubes, radiators, and water blocks, to name a few. For this reason, it is more expensive. Also, the potential for leaks can pose a threat to equipment when using a liquid cooling method.

Air cooling is a popular method because air is readily available and relatively easy to move and direct. Conveniently, hot air will rise over cold air to aid the process. The infrastructure here is simpler and involves numerous fans, but the inefficiencies tend to occur when hot and cold air is allowed to mix. So, which is better? It depends on the particular usage needs.

Free Cooling
Another method is “free cooling,” which doesn’t mean exactly what you might think. Free cooling can also be known as air-side or water-side economization. Air-side is when outside air is used to directly cool equipment. Water-side is when outside air is used to cool the liquid that is being used in a liquid cooling system. The difficulty here can occur when there are humidity variations in the outside air being used.

Hot Aisle/Cold Aisle
The most popular way to make cooling more efficient is by incorporating the hot aisle/cold aisle method. This involves lining up server racks in alternating rows so that hot air exhaust ports face one way and cold air intakes face the other. A containment system can also be used to isolate the hot and cold aisles and prevent the two from mixing. This system can be incorporated with other cooling techniques, which is what makes it so beneficial.

Choosing the right method for cooling will depend on factors like power density, room size and budget, among others. To learn more about budget and energy efficient data center cooling, please contact our team today.