According to Research & Market’s “Global Data Center Cooling Market – Strategic Assessment and Forecast 2017-2022”, the data center cooling market is growing – rapidly. In fact, the report projects it to be worth a staggering $12 billion in just five short years. This sky-rocketing demand is driving many in IT to explore why the market is growing so quickly as well as how they can improve cooling in their data center environments.
The main drivers of today’s data center cooling market are density and price. Data centers are consistently housing higher density deployments per cabinet and energy prices are continuing to rise. As a result, more investments are being put into cooling technologies to keep these higher density deployments efficient and energy costs down. While there are a number of mistakes companies and data center providers can make in their efforts to optimize their cooling systems and climate control, many of these potential “gotchas” can be prevented through the use of the right technologies, solutions and processes.
For most businesses, the first step in optimizing their data center cooling system is understanding how data center cooling works – or, more importantly, how data center cooling should work for their specific business and technical requirements.
Here are four best practices for ensuring optimal data center cooling:
1: Use Hot Aisle/Cold Aisle Design
This design lines server racks in alternating rows to create "hot aisles" (consisting of the hot air exhaust on the back of the racks) and "cold aisles" (consisting of cold air intakes on the front of the racks). The idea is for the hot aisle to expel hot air into the air conditioning intakes where it is chilled and pushed through the air conditioning vent to be recirculated into the cold aisle.
2: Implement Containment Measures
Since air has a stubborn tendency to move wherever it wants, modern data centers implement further containment measures by installing walls and doors to direct air flow, keeping the cold air in the cold aisles and hot air in the hot aisles. Efficient containment allows data centers to run higher rack densities while reducing energy consumption.
3: Inspect & Seal Leaks in Perimeters, Support Columns and Cable Openings
Water damage presents a huge problem to data centers and is the second leading cause of data loss and downtime behind electrical fire. Since water damage is often not covered by business insurance policies (and even when it is, there's no way to replace lost data), data centers cannot afford to ignore the threat. Fortunately, most leaks are easily detected and preventable with a bit of forethought and caution. Tools such as fluid and chemical sensing cables, zone controllers, and humidity sensors can spot leaks before they become a serious problem.
4: Synchronize Humidity Control Points
Many data centers utilize air side economizer systems, or "free air-side cooling", to improve energy efficiency. Unfortunately, since these systems introduce outside air into the data center, that air often carries moisture along with it. Too much moisture in the air can lead to condensation, which will eventually corrode and short out electrical systems. But simply adjusting the climate controls to reduce moisture can lead to problems as well. If the air becomes too dry, static electricity can build up, which can also cause equipment damage. It's imperative, therefore, that a data center's humidity controls account for moisture coming in with the outside air to maintain an ideal environment for the server rooms.
The good news for businesses and IT teams is that, as the data center cooling market continues to grow, cooling manufacturers will be pushed to enhance their solutions. Not only will this make more innovative cooling technologies available for companies, but it will also equip data center providers to create more efficient, reliable environments for their customers.
See one of these environments in action. Watch this case study to learn how vXchnge is partnering with Vertiv Co. to create industry-leading data center environments through innovative cooling technology.