As our society becomes more dependent on technology, data centers are cropping up in all corners of the world. With better computing power, larger storage spaces, and faster speeds, companies both big and small are looking to make the shift and take advantage of these phenomenal perks. However, for one new to the industry, the lingo can be a little confusing. Let’s take a look at five data center terms you’ll most likely encounter when researching server racks and electronic cabinet designs.

  • Cold Aisle Containment: In cold aisle containment systems, server rack fronts face into the aisle. Chilled airflow is then directed into this aisle so it can enter other racks in a highly efficient manner, thereby keeping the temperature controlled.


  • Economization: This term describes a way of utilizing the local environment around the center itself to help cool the IT load by natural means rather than by expending more energy. The most common types are Airside Economization and Waterside Economization.


  • Hot Aisle Containment: As the opposite version of cold aisle systems, hot aisle containment systems use racks whose backs face into the aisle. Heated exhaust air from the equipment enters this aisle and is then directed to return vents, where it is funneled out and away.


  • Latent Cooling: This describes the process of condensing water out of air, then evaporating that water later. It is a way of saving energy from water that has condensed as a form of cooling; since you are reusing it at a later time, no energy is wasted during the process.


  • PUE: This acronym stands for Power Usage Effectiveness and refers to the data center’s efficiency. By dividing the total data center energy consumption by the energy consumption of the IT computing equipment, you can find out how well your center is performing. There may be changes you can make to make it more efficient, thereby saving (or making) you more money in the long run.


As you can see, one of the main focuses of data centers is the ability to maintain a constant, cool temperature. Approximately 65% of IT equipment failures are caused by inadequate or poorly cared for air conditioning in the server room; since this can cost companies incomprehensible amounts of money in downtime and repairs, staying on top of your facility’s cold and hot aisle containment systems is an absolute must.