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Cooling Options for Data Centres

26 January, 2016

In terms of data centre build, cooling is by far one of the most important things to consider. Without sufficient cooling, data centres would overheat from all the equipment and not be able to function properly. However, constant cooling can be a drain on your outgoings, as traditional mechanical cooling can use a lot of energy. As the industry continues to progress and experiment in reducing its carbon footprint, more cooling systems are becoming available. Here is a guide to some of the most popular cooling options, and their pros and cons.

Localised Cooling

When looking at your cooling options your also have to think about your data centre design. Different cooling systems require different settings, with some just being placed on the ceiling and others having a range of elements which need placing between rows or below cabinets. That’s why you need to integrate cooling systems into your planning and design process.

For example localised cooling involves in-row coolers and air conditioners, rear door coolers and above and below cabinet coolers. Will you have all the extra space necessary to install this type of cooling? Also, many of these cooling systems use refrigerants which could be harmful to the environment – so you may want to consider this effect on your carbon footprint and CSR. However, an advantage of these systems is they have small pumps so on a UPS they can keep going in a power cut.

Evaporative Adiabatic Cooling

This type of cooling is an advancement of free cooling, because it can use outside air even in hotter climates. The technique works by absorbing heat through evaporation, and is most effective when the data centre is arranged with hot aisle containment.

Indirect adiabatic cooling requires no mechanical cooling methods or compressors, which makes it much more energy efficient. It also avoids the use of HFCs as refrigerants, which is harmful to the environment. Using only water and outdoor air, this is the greenest type of cooling available for data centres at the moment. By choosing this method you’re not only choosing the sustainable option, but you’ll also save big on energy costs.

Cooling Containment

You don’t just have to rely on technology to control the temperature in a data centre. Cooling containment is a method which uses barriers such as walls, curtains and other designs to create zones for hot air and cold air. By preventing the flow of air from mixing, air conditioning systems don’t have to work as hard to regulate the temperature. This can make a data centre slightly more energy efficient but you need to consider fire safety when re-designing the space and the costs involved.

Which cooling option best fits your data centre? We have a range of options for installation and are happy to advise based on your needs.

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