Recent surveys indicate that hot or cold aisle containment is being utilized by 80% of the data centers surveyed. Most all data centers have the same goal, they want to protect the equipment. Of course, that opens the debate what is better hot aisle containment systems or cold aisle containment solutions?

Hot or cold aisle containment can help to protect IT equipment. Both solutions are being used at about the same level, but which one is best for your data center protection needs? Learning more about the unique benefits of each containment option can help to make an informed decision.

The Basics

Cold aisle containment has doors at each end of the aisle combined with a cap over the aisle to contain the cold. Hot aisle containment systems also have doors at each end of the aisle and duct work going up to the plenum low ceiling.

Both hot or cold aisle containment systems have pros and cons. For example, a cold aisle containment system is less expensive to install but may be more expensive to maintain.

What You Need to Know About Cold Aisle Containment

Here are some quick facts about cold aisle containment systems:

  • No structural changes to the room need to be made making it easier to retrofit the room
  • The floor does not have to be raised-typically it is, but it is not a must for the system to function
  • The entire data center becomes the hot aisle which may cause issues for other equipment
  • Other negatives include lower efficiency and additional fire suppression equipment needs to be installed

This may be the right system for your data center if you cannot or do not want to make structural changes to the data room. It may also be a good option if your budget is tight and you need an affordable solution.

What You Need to Know About Hot Aisle Containment

Here are some quick facts about hot aisle containment systems:

  • Is generally a more effective option
  • No need for fire suppression to be modified generally
  • It can be a more forgiving option for equipment and racks
  • Generally a more expensive option
  • The high temperatures can be uncomfortable

This can be the better solution for efficiency and effectiveness, but it does cost more to implement and does have some challenges to overcome.

Hot aisle, cold aisle containment either one can get the job done. Knowing the benefits and the challenges can help you to decide which system is going to get the job done for your data center.