December 3, 2019

Companies that maintain their own on-site data centers understand the energy requirement challenges and specialized cooling technologies that are needed to ensure their systems run efficiently and reliably.

ASHRAE (The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) offers guidelines to help enhance the efficiency of a data center. In general, depending on the type of equipment, the recommended temperature range for a data center is between 64 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of around 60 percent.

When it comes to selecting a cooling system for IT infrastructure, ASHRAE recommends four main types of schemes for keeping a data center within this climate range:

  1. Calibrated Vectored Cooling (CVC)
    CVC is a design approach to heat management where the airflow through and around servers and other equipment is carefully planned and analyzed. Utilizing this data, equipment and fan placement is optimized to maximize cooling and minimize cost.
  2. Cold Aisle / Hot Aisle
    Most modern servers have an air inlet where cool air is allowed into the machine and an exhaust where warm air is released. Usually, these two vents are on opposite ends of the machine (ex: front and rear). A data center can be set up so that all servers in a row intake from the aisle in front of them and exhaust to the aisle behind them. To optimize cooling, cold air is pumped from the HVAC system into the intake aisle while warm air is returned from the exhaust aisle to the HVAC system.
  3. Computer Room Air-Conditioning (CRAC)
    In a CRAC-enabled setup, a dedicated air-conditioning unit handles the cooling needs for a computer room or small data center. This can be independent of a building’s main HVAC system so that the computer room can continue to be cooled in the event of a malfunction.
  4. Rack-Mounted Cooling
    Equipment in a data center, such as servers or other computers, are typically mounted in structures called racks. Racks can hold 40+ servers, depending on the build specification. In a setup with rack-mounted cooling, small HVAC units can be mounted in the rack alongside the servers. This allows for very precise and accurate application of HVAC needs.

You may also be interested in Overcoming Challenges to Data Center HVAC in the Winter.

For New York City Data Center cooling reliability, efficiency and maintenance expertise, contact Donnelly Mechanical.

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