Properly managing your data center’s air flow can mean drastic changes in efficiency – and drastic improvements to your PUE.
Many legacy data centers have cooling capacity that far exceeds IT heat load. Poor air flow management can result in large amounts of wasted supply air, which ultimately equates to unnecessary financial loss. Legacy data centers may fall victim to a plethora of pitfalls, including poor rack layout(s), shallow raised floor depth, supply air recirculation (from the cold aisle to the hot aisle), overall air recirculation inefficiencies, and legacy cabling systems that impede underfloor airflow.
In addition to implementing a dynamic cooling management system to control airflow delivery, containment systems (partial and full) separating the cold aisle from the hot aisle can greatly reduce re-circulation and improve efficiencies and server equipment inlet air temperatures.
Another key consideration of air flow management is prevention of air leakage from the raised floor plenum, which many data center operators have cited as a significant issue for reduced efficiency. The underfloor cabling that also inhabits this area can often lead to inadequate supply air delivery, in-adequate server inlet temperatures, and cooling system inefficiencies. Underfloor cabling (low voltage and power cabling) can cause air blockage and leakage through rack cable cutouts and power distribution unit (PDU) cutouts.
Implementing “best practices” to improve airflow management is a low cost, but highly effective means to help achieve improved PUE.
Proper air flow management techniques may include:
- Containment systems for hot and cold air aisles
- Blanking panels to close empty rack slots
- Engineered raised floor systems
- Raised floor grommets to seal cable openings
- Rearrangement/redistribution of racks or servers to a hot aisle/cold aisle configuration
- Removal of unneeded obstructions hindering underfloor air flow
- Management and redistribution of perforated tiles