According Jeff Clark with datacenterjournal.com, data center cabinet density will continue to climb. “Given limitations on space and the need for more-efficient operation to counter the effects of rising power demand and cost, packing more resources into each rack is an obvious solution.”Of course, higher density can lead to challenges with cooling. “But the other and perhaps more pressing need is cooling: every watt consumed by the facility is a watt of waste heat that must be removed to maintain the desired operating temperature. Herein lies what may be the biggest challenge facing higher density”, says Clark.As a result, data centers struggle to maintain an adequate amount of cold air to the hardware and remove the exhaust back to the air handlers. While this may seem like a simple process, continuing to increase the cubic feet per minute of airflow consumes more energy and can reduce efficiency.
Since data center cooling efficiency is critical, here are six big mistakes to avoid:
A good cabinet layout should include hot-aisle and cold-aisle design with your computer room air handlers at the end of each row. Using an island configuration without a well-designed orientation is very inefficient.
Empty cabinets can skew airflow allowing hot exhaust air to leak back into your cold aisle. If you have empty cabinets, make sure your cold air is contained.
How many times have you seen cabinets with empty, uncovered spaces between the hardware? These empty spaces can ruin your airflow management. It the spaces in the cabinet are not sealed, hot air can leak back into your cold aisle. A conscientious operator will make sure the spaces are sealed.
Raised floor leaks occur when cold air leaks under your raised floor and into support columns or adjacent spaces. These leaks can cause a loss of pressure, which can allow dust, humid, and warm air to enter your cold aisle environment. In order to resolve phantom leaks, someone will need to do a full inspection of the support columns and perimeter and seal any leaks they find.
There are many openings in floors and cabinets for cable management. While they are under the raised floor inspecting for leaks, they should also look for unsealed cable openings, holes under remote power panels, and power distribution units. If left open, these holes can let cold air escape.
What happens when one air handler tries to dehumidify the air while another unit tries to humidify the same air? The result can be a lot of wasted of energy while the two units fight for control. By thoroughly planning your humidity control points, you can reduce the risk of this occurring.
While we are on the topic of humidity, it’s important to properly calibrate temperature and humidity sensors. If units lose calibration, they can work against each other.
Proper data center maintenance will eliminate these big mistakes in data center cooling. This can have the short-term benefit of reducing overall cooling costs and the long-term benefit of making hardware last longer. In the end, everyone wins.