In order to understand the benefits of hot aisle containment and how it works, you first need to know about data centers. Data centers are rooms or buildings where computer and networking equipment is stored for the purpose of handling large amounts of data. In 2011, a survey discovered that over 38% of large companies would exceed their IT capacity within 18 months, which means they would need extra space for this equipment. Data is stored, processed, and distributed through these computing systems. These centers contain aisles of computing equipment that generate a great deal of energy and heat that is able to move all over if it isn’t contained and properly directed.

What is Hot Aisle Containment?

The containment and distribution of heat is where hot aisle containment comes in. It involves creating a barrier to keep heat contained and allow the natural hot air to rise back to the AC return. This keeps the warmth from spreading into areas that need to remain cool and utilizes the natural rising of hot air to cut back on energy costs. This saving on energy costs is one of the greatest benefits of hot aisle containment and is helped along by the thermal containment system and insulation that cooler surrounding areas provide.

Why is it Used?

Hot aisle containment is used in data centers because there needs to be a way to maintain proper temperatures in different areas of the building. Certain equipment requires specific temperatures to function at full capacity and overheating or overcooling could cause problems with data storage and distribution. All the energy dispersed by the computers and networking systems can really throw off these functioning temperatures, and so can the air conditioning if it is not properly monitored.

What About Cold Aisle Containment?

Cold aisle containment is another way of controlling the temperature in a data center. Rather than using barriers to contain and direct hot air, it uses doors at the end of the aisles and ceiling panels over top to contain the cool air in the aisle. It prevents cool air from mixing with hot air and maintains the proper temperatures in the aisle.

Both hot and cold air containment are sufficient ways to maintain temperatures in a data center. However, they function in different ways and are not always interchangeable. One may function better than the other for your facility and it is best to talk to a professional to find out which is best for you.