Tech Facts

What You Need To Know About Data Centre Cooling


Image via Flickr creative commons from bandarji

Data centres are a crucial part of the majority of small, medium and large companies all over the world. Understanding data centre cooling is therefore essential for anyone involved in IT within a business. The area of cooling in particular has become extremely complex in recent years and now there are a huge range of considerations that need to be taken into account before a suitable cooling solution is agreed upon. Effective DCIM or Data Centre Infrastructure Management is essential.

Size of firm

Spending thousands of pounds carrying out feasibility audits and investigating various opportunities for data centre cooling solutions is often unnecessary when you are talking about a particularly small company. It is important to keep a sense of perspective and understand that the latest hi-tech hot aisle containment systems are not necessarily suitable for the smallest firms. Making sure that the cooling solution chosen fits in with the current day-to-day operational needs of the business, while bearing in mind the potential for future growth, is key.

Traditional cooling techniques

Keeping a data centre at a temperature that results in the prime operational conditions for the server is what companies all attempt to achieve. Historically, businesses would have turned to power-hungry cooling air conditioning solutions, but the cost associated with running antiquated systems, and the significant environmental impact has resulted in firms seeking alternative solutions.

More resilient equipment 

As technology has evolved, computer equipment has become more capable of operating at higher temperatures, yet despite this a large number of companies will continue to operate cooling systems that bring the ambient temperature of the server room down to a level that is well within the operational temperature range of the equipment. This can lead to businesses wasting a considerable amount of money, according to a 2012 report by the Green Grid entitled Data Centre Efficiency & IT Equipment Reliability.

Chilled Water Cooling

Refrigerant-based water chillers are a popular solution for many businesses today. Reliable and cost-effective, the very latest energy-efficient models are capable of covering business’ needs when it comes to ensuring computer equipment remains at the correct temperature and yet allowing firms to reduce their carbon footprint and reduce expenditure and energy bills.

Free-air cooling

An increasingly popular form of cooling is known as free-air cooling which relies on naturally lower external air to chill water, which in turn can be used to reduce the temperature of computer equipment within a data centre. Such a system offers considerable benefits in terms of cost-saving, but there can be issues with relying solely on free-air cooling, which is why refrigerant technology is also often incorporated into the design of these cooling systems. And it is not just private firms that are turning to free-air cooling solutions in a bid to cut down on their financial outlay and reduce their impact on the environment. Even organisations such as local authorities are turning to green, environmentally friendly options when it comes to data centre cooling.

No single answer

Unfortunately there is no catch-all solution when it comes to data centre cooling, it is up to individual businesses to work out what is best for their company now and in the future. It’s for this reason that turning to a professional data centre cooling specialist at an early stage in the development process is always a good idea.

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