Top 10 Data Center Cooling Stories of 201610 min read

by | Dec 14, 2016 | Blog

As 2016 comes to an end, we take a look back at our top stories from the The Upsite Blog. It was a busy year with many things to talk about, with everything from sealing gaps under IT racks to improving your PUE through cable management. We shared a lot of content that we hope you not only enjoyed reading, but also found useful. Here are the top 10 articles that data center professionals like you shared the most:

 

1. How Sealing Gaps Under IT Racks Can Lead to Significant Savings

Under-Rack-Thermal-ImageIn previous articles we’ve discussed the importance of sealing gaps both within IT racks as well as gaps between IT racks in order to optimize your data center’s cooling and ultimately reduce operating costs. What we haven’t talked about are the gaps commonly found under IT racks, which due to their inconspicuous location, are often left unsealed. If not addressed, these gaps can potentially be extremely harmful to IT equipment, leading to costly capital expenditures down the road.

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2. Perforated Tile Placement: Why the Right Location Matters

cold-aisleIt’s common knowledge that perforated tiles are a vital aspect of the cooling process in any raised floor data center. After all, that is how you deliver the supply air to the cold aisle and ultimately to the inlets of the IT equipment. Yet, managing the placement of those perforated tiles is a strategic component of airflow management that is often overlooked. For example, of the 45 sites we reviewed worldwide, only 7.5% had properly placed all of their perforated tiles.

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3. Rack Airflow Management: More Than Just Blanking Panels

HotLok-rack-Blanking-Panel-Temperature StripWhat if I told you that you could trim your annual IT energy costs by only improving airflow management inside your data center equipment cabinets? Sealing open U spaces as well as addressing the commonly overlooked gaps between the edge of the IT cabinet and servers can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your cooling infrastructure. By enabling you to make adjustments to the cooling infrastructure, such as reducing fan speeds or increasing temperature set points, these airflow management improvements often yield enough energy savings to pay for themselves within the first year.

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4. Managing the Return Plenum: What You Need to Know

data-center-return-plenumBack at the birth of data center thermal management as a topic of discussion for only a very small circle of friends, I tried to carve out my position of expertise in a field most folks in the industry didn’t even know was a field yet with a three prong message: 1) Get rid of hot aisle perforated floor tiles (purloined unapologetically from Dr. Bob himself), 2) Top-mounted cabinet fans delivered more harm than good, and 3) Forget about your return air (after isolating it, of course).

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5. Alternatives to Achieving Data Center Airflow Containment

White-Data-Center-Cold-Aisle-Door-LightData center airflow containment is now almost universally recognized as a baseline best practice for optimizing the effectiveness and maximizing the efficiency of data center thermal management. Containment protects IT equipment from troublesome hotspots. Containment enables energy savings from reduced fan energy, reduced chiller operating costs and increased access to free cooling hours.

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6. How to Increase Temperatures Without Paying a Price

Data-Center-Aisle-Temperature-Reader-Thermal-Image-ScanIn recent years there has been a lot of talk about raising temperatures in computer rooms. The driver for this is that the cooling infrastructure becomes more efficient at higher operating temperatures. For the cooling units, this means higher return air temperatures, and for the chillers, this means higher chilled water temperature. When the cooling infrastructure is running more efficiently, this results in reduced operating cost and increased cooling capacity. While the concept is simple, implementation has led to a number of misunderstandings and even some controversy.

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7. Slab vs. Raised Floor: Prioritizing Airflow Management Initiatives for Each Environment

Data-Center-Server-RoomData centers on slab floors and data centers on raised floors both have their proponents and opponents and the pros and cons have been debated on stages at industry conferences, at site-specific sales pitches and across happy hour bar stools. Where you fall in this debate may often reflect what product or system you are selling, whether your data center is a profit center or overhead, whether you’re big enough to have on-staff design expertise or small enough to rely on third party design expertise, or whether site design is controlled by IT or facilities.

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8. 6 Key Metrics to Optimize Your Data Center’s Cooling

Mission-Critical-Data-Center-Facility-Solutions-Upward-GraphModern data centers continue to evolve at a rapid pace. While methodologies and techniques for cooling continue to advance, some of the basic lessons that have proven themselves over time continue to be underutilized. New technology and techniques can often be helpful, but without employing fundamental airflow management metrics the full benefits of advanced cooling methods cannot be realized.

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9. How to Improve Your PUE Through Cable Management

Data-Center-Cable-ManagementCable management can have a significant impact on airflow management (AFM) in a data center, which in turn has a significant impact on the efficiency of a data center’s mechanical plant. As we all know, the efficiency of a data center’s mechanical plant has a significant impact on PUE. Therefore, cable management can have a significant impact on a data center’s PUE. The relationship between cable management and efficiency plays out in two primary ways.

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10. Liquid Cooling vs. Air Cooling: What to Consider

liquid-coolingDiscussions on the preferred fluid for removing heat from data center equipment have historically been short enough to have been conducted through rolled down windows of cars passing each other from opposite directions. It has basically trickled down to a couple decades of “liquid is the only choice,” followed by a couple decades of, “No water in the data center.” While such simplicity of consensus has not yet devolved into roadside road rage fisticuffs, many of us have pulled over into the parking lot for an extended howdie-do.

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