Like most other data centers, edge data centers are mission-critical establishments. They’re essential nerve centers for most organizations. Consolidation, workload virtualization, and the high demand for processing power increase the heat load in data centers. The heat load makes the thermal management of data centers challenging.
As such, edge data centers use hot and cold aisle containment options to control the heat load and improve operational efficiency. This post highlights the efficiency benefits acquired by data centers, which install hot or cold aisle containment options to cool edge data centers.
Why is containment essential for data centers?
The containment of air in edge data centers is a crucial energy-saving strategic approach to the attainment of edge data center optimization. The cold and hot aisle containment systems improve the efficiency and predictability of conventional data center cooling systems.
Here are the benefits of containment efficiency.
1. Energy-Saving and Increased Cooling Capacity
Hot spots occur when cold air picks up heat as it moves from its cooling unit towards the front-side of the rack enclosures. Hot and cold aisle containment options allow the return of warm air to the cooling system. They also allow the supply of cold air to the server racks without the mixing of cold and hot air.
When the warmest possible air gets returned to the cooling unit, the highest possible return temperature is attained. The big temperature difference across the cooling coil betters the cooling capacity. It also improves system efficiency. This cooling effect on the coil is similar in almost all air conditioning systems.
Some cooling systems may have set limits of the highest return temperature that they can reach. But most cooling containment systems achieve high cooling capacity when handling warmer return air.
2. The Reduction of De-Humidification and Humidification Costs
The prevention of mixing between cold and hot air helps in increasing the temperature of the supply air system. This effect allows your data center’s cooling system to work above the condensation temperature. When the supplied air’s temperature is above the condensation temperature, there is no humidity removed from the air. As such, there is no need to add moisture and thus saving energy and water.
3. Increased Economizer Hours
When the temperature outside the data center rooms is below the indoor temperature at your data center, the cooling system does not need to pump out the warm air to the outdoors. At this point, you can switch off the cooling system or chiller. The cooling tower can bypass your cooling system and remove the warm air from the data center.
If you increase the set-point temperature on your chiller, you can switch off the cooling system for many hours. By doing so, you can save energy that the chiller’s compressor would have used. The energy savings also reduce the carbon levy and power bills that would have been high because of the present increase in electricity prices.
Current electricity bill increases may go up by 67%, but the efficiency of the air cooling system can improve efficiency and cut the percentage increase to approximately 35%.
Hot And Cold Aisle Containment Options Prevent Hot Spots Development
Aisle containment systems allow the supplied cold air from your cooling system to get to the front of IT equipment racks without getting mixed with warm air. As such, the provided air’s temperature at the chiller is like the temperature of the cold air that enters the IT center’s air inlet. If there is no mixing of cold and warm air, then the supply air temperature may get increased without the hot spots developing.
In the meantime, economizer hours increase because the warm air does not heat the cold inlet air to prompt the cooling system’s compressor to continue working.
Both hot and cold aisle containment options can help you achieve the highlighted efficiency benefits. But you have to make a personal choice on whether to use the hot or cold aisle containment method. The level of energy saving and the cooling capacity attained by either of the two methods are the main parameters to look out for when making decisions on whether to use a hot or cold aisle containment system.