Mar 26, 2015

More than just hot air: 3 data center cooling considerations

Ansley Kilgore

data-center-coolingEffective data center cooling is one of the most important aspects of a colocation facility. Lack of temperature control can limit the amount of IT equipment that can physically operate in your colocation footprint. Making large capital investments to upgrade or build out a high-density data center typically is not feasible for the average enterprise. An effective data center cooling system can make sure your footprint is prepared to support rising power usage trends.

From a data center design and engineering perspective, here are a few things to consider when evaluating data center cooling systems:

1. Location requirements
Consider the amount of kW per cabinet you require, along with the geographic location of the data center. As an example, low-density users in the Pacific Northwest may be able to take advantage of free cooling via an air-cooled system. However, for high-density users in the Southeast, a water-cooled system will offer greater efficiency than an air-cooled system. Other variables should also be considered, including humidity, access to backup water, amount of free cooling that can be achieved and available space on site to name a few.

2. The right team
To meet your data center cooling needs, the importance of conducting due diligence and evaluating solutions against your goals, budget and timeline cannot be understated. Selecting a team of good mechanical designers, contractors and commissioning agents who understand your basis of design and goals will keep the project in full alignment. Before purchasing any equipment, conduct due diligence and evaluate your needs and cross-reference them against design solutions.

3. Future-proof considerations
Your data center design should be flexible and modular enough to adapt to changes in company goals and technology changes. While today’s cooling systems can support the current average power draw of 2-4 kW/cabinet, this may change as more and more organizations require higher densities. If the average power draw per cabinet increases to 6-8 kW, we could see innovations around data center cooling systems. Data centers with a flexible, modular design will be better equipped to accommodate new cooling technologies and higher power densities.

To learn more, download Colocation: The Essential Buyer’s Guide.

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Ansley Kilgore

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