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Airflow Management Education

Examining the Science of Data Center Airflow Management

Pioneering Airflow Management

Known as the pioneers of airflow management, Upsite Technologies offers a wide array of industry leading solutions to properly manage airflow and optimize data center cooling. Airflow management is an extremely important concept because it is the first step to reducing operating costs and energy consumption in a data center. By implementing airflow management solutions such as grommets, blanking panels, containment, and other initiatives, it allows you to raise temperature set points, turn off cooling units, and/or reduce fan speeds, which in return reduces energy consumption and operating expenses. We recommend using our 4 Rs methodology when implementing airflow management solutions to see the best benefits. Our 4 Rs methodology is a unique guide to ensure the optimal outcome of airflow management initiatives by implementing in this proper sequence: Raised Floor/Rack, Row, and Room (explained below).

The 4 R’s of Airflow Management™

4 Rs youtube With so many variables affecting airflow within a data center, it can be daunting to know where to start and how to get the most out of airflow management improvements. Upsite’s 4 R’s of Airflow Management™ is a holistic methodology for implementing changes to optimize the data center’s cooling infrastructure and realize energy savings, including the Raised Floor, the Rack, the Row, and the Room. We used CFD analysis to model a 4,000 sq. ft. data center and provide engineering simulation to assess the impact of the changes made at each level.

The execution of the steps resulted in:

  • Reduction in the maximum IT inlet temperature of 8.4° F
  • Cooling supply temperature increase of 10° F
  • Cooling unit fan speeds reduced by 35% and one cooling unit turned off
  • Partial PUE (pPUE) reduced from 1.54 to 1.34
  • Over $60,000 in annual savings for a 4,000 Sq. Ft. Data Center
  • 15 month ROI

The Methodology

Raised Floor: Manage the open area of the horizontal plane of the raised floor. Seal cable openings with grommets and brushes, and manage perforated tile placement. Check the perimeter walls below the raised floor for unsealed wall or partition penetrations. Sealing these penetrations often requires fire-rated materials. (See Products)

Rack: Close all open space of the vertical plane of IT equipment intakes. Install blanking panels and rack grommets, seal under cabinets, and seal between mounting rails and sides of cabinets. (See Products)

Row: Block open spaces underneath racks, where IT equipment cabinets are missing, and where there are gaps between cabinets. In situations when cabinet densities are high enough or the highest possible efficiency is desired, hot or cold aisle containment is necessary. (See Products)

Room: Change the cooling infrastructure by raising cooling unit return air temperature set points. Raise set points as high as possible without exceeding the IT equipment intake air temperature maximum. Turn off cooling units or reduce fan speeds for units with variable frequency drives (VFD) or install VFDs. Monitor cooling efficiency and make adjustments as needed. (See Products)

Bypass Airflow

Bypass airflow is a term coined by Upsite Technologies, which refers to any conditioned air supplied by a cooling   unit that does not pass through (bypasses) IT equipment before returning to a cooling unit. Two main causes of bypass airflow are common openings in the raised floor and excessive volumes of cold air in a cold aisle. By reducing bypass airflow, you could see many benefits such as increased cooling unit efficiency and capacity, reduced operating expenses, and improved IT equipment reliability.

Learn More

Cooling Capacity Factor

Cooling Capacity Factor (CCF) is a metric developed by Upsite Technologies to determine the cooling effectiveness of a data center. The CCF measures the cooling output relative to the IT load, providing an accurate picture of cooling infrastructure efficiency. It can be calculated by dividing the total rated cooling capacity of the running cooling units in the computer room (kW) by 110% of the IT critical load (kW). After bench marking your room’s existing CCF, you can take steps to make improvements.

Learn More

Customer Testimonials

  • Blanking panels are the first line of ‘defense’ in the cold aisle/contained aisle.
    Adrian Honeybill, Group Lead for Energy and Sustainability, TelecityGroup
  • Ensuring there's no wasted cooling is vital. Accurate control of the airflow through KoldLok Grommets allows us to consider energy-savings strategies such as increasing CRAC set points.
    Chris Flanagan, Data Center Development Manager, Fujitsu Services
  • I always like to be aware of new solutions that enter the market, and see how they can solve my problems differently than what’s currently available.
    David Martinez, AisleLok Customer, Sandia National Labs
  • We have looked and looked for a solution like KoldLok. If KoldLok had been around 10 years ago, we probably would not have needed to add a cooling unit back then. It improves the efficiency of our cooling system a great deal.
    Doug Becker, IT Operations Supervisor, Cargill IT Services, Global Hosting Service
  • We can control temperatures much better by managing floor penetrations with KoldLok products. We can arrange equipment the way it should be arranged, to direct airflow to cold aisles.
    Eric Sheperd, Data Center Facilities Supervisor
  • As we have invested in new equipment and replaced racks, we have standardized with KoldLok Grommets to circumvent cooling problems.
    Steve Spooner, Operations Engineer
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