Maintaining a data center can be complex process. It requires the right blend of cooling, power, space, and support. These organizations are experimenting with creative new methods of data center cooling that may someday be found in a data center near you.
According to the Data Center Cooling Report of 2014, the market for liquid cooling and data centers is expected to grow by 40% to $2.3 billion this year. However, currently air cooling is still the most popular method of keeping data centers cool.
“Because liquid cooling can cost as much as five times that of air cooling, rack densities have to exceed the 15 kilowatt+ range before you will see any return on investment from liquid cooling, and servers aren't quite that dense”, according to Andy Patrizio with itworld.com.
The Deepwater Desal project takes sea water and converts it to fresh water using a process called desalination. An interesting facet of this project is that they are collocating a data center with the desalination plant to make both more efficient.
Desalination is a power intensive process, but Deepwater Desal plans to mitigate part of the power consumption by collocating a 150 MW data center on-site. In order to avoid plankton and other small creatures in the water, desalination plants must pull cold water from more than 100 feet below the surface. The desalination technique is less efficient with cold water, so the water needs to be heated first.
To solve this problem, Deepwater Desal will pump the cold water through the data center’s cooling heat exchanger, warming the water while cooling the data center. This will heat the water to improve the efficiency of the desalination process and cool the data center at the same time.
You’ve probably benefited from direct evaporative cooling and not known about it. If you have ever been in a line at an outside amusement park and seen misters, you have experienced direct evaporative cooling. This technique removes heat by evaporating water within an airstream. When the mist is blown into the hot / dry air, it evaporates and cools at the same time. This process is more efficient in dryer climates.
According to Dan Mascola with Data Center Huddle, “The system design for a data center is straight forward. The misting system just needs to be placed in the supply airstream that will be fed into the data hall. It basically replaces the ‘cooling coil’. The other common cooling components (supply fans, return fans, economizers, dampers, and louvers) all remain the same. Cooling occurs where the mist is delivered.”
These are just two examples of how organizations are getting creative with their cooling. As server density increases, more efficient cooling becomes important. Selecting the right data center gives you the power and cooling your company needs to grow.