Big Data: What Does It Mean for Your Data Center Airflow Management Strategy?8 min read

by | Sep 11, 2013 | Blog

Each day Facebook processes 2.5 billion pieces of content and 500+ terabytes of data. Each hour Wal-Mart handles more than 1 million customer transactions and imports them into a 2.5 petabyte database. Each minute 48 hours of new video are uploaded to YouTube.

While you may not be Facebook, Wal-Mart or, YouTube, you’re probably feeling the effects of big data as it impacts companies of all sizes. The amount of data we’re creating each day, hour, and minute, is astounding. While we feel the full effects of this in our industry (e.g. the demand for more server space, and speed of our servers), we must also think about how it affects our physical infrastructure. What does all of this big data mean for our computer rooms?

More data requires more hardware, cabinets, servers, and racks. More equipment needs more power, and more power produces a greater varied and fluctuating environment to be tempered. As data exponentially grows, data centers run out of power, space, and cooling.

But it’s not all bad news. One sign of hope for DC managers is the fact that their data center is likely capable of cooling more racks than they think. The fact is, most data centers are using much more cooling than their computer room needs (almost 3x more to be exact). That means that there is a capacity to cool more racks. However, this capacity often gets stranded because of poor airflow and thermal management.

This is where the understanding of airflow management (AFM) becomes a BIG asset. Knowing how to properly manage your computer room airflow allows you to get the most bang-for-your-buck with your cooling infrastructure. This starts with knowing your Cooling Capacity Factor (CCF), which is a metric to tell you how well you’re utilizing your cooling infrastructure. If you are over-cooling (and the vast majority of data centers are), easy low-cost changes can free stranded capacity, allowing you to safely add more IT gear to process all that big data. No need to add more units. No need to build a new center (well, not yet anyway). While this may be shocking, it is true for most data centers. Our years of research have proven it, which we delve into with our latest White paper: Cooling Capacity Factor (CCF) Reveals Stranded Capacity and Data Center Cost Savings. The white paper will help you get a better understanding of how you can to start to really understand your computer room’s cooling capacity.

The need to process big data will only continue to grow, so it’s imperative that data centers operate with extreme efficiency. This starts by maximizing the resources you have, and to do that, you must understand their full potential.

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