Data Center Cooling Strategies

Clarissa GarciaArticles, Blog

cooling strategy in data center
The rapidly increasing demand for AI, 5G wireless, IoT, and the advent of Smart Cities have put pressure on the data center industry to expand capacityServers generate a great deal of heat. For data center operators, making sure they don’t overheat and stop working is a primary concern. Luckily, there is a growing number of data center cooling strategies that reduce energy consumption and costs.
Server inlet temperatures should be between 18°C and 27°C, with relative humidity between RH20% and RH80%, according to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). The Uptime Institute, on the other hand, advises a maximum temperature of 25°C. In general, many data centers over cool, wasting energy and increasing operational expense. Modern servers can typically handle inlet temperatures of 22 – 25°C, depending on the amount of work they are performing.

Approaches and Strategies In Cooling Data Center

Luckily, there are a growing number of approaches too cooling the data center that reduce energy consumption and costs

Aisle Containment

The most prevalent data center cooling technology is the hot aisle & cold aisle. Cooling the air this way, however, can be energy-intensive unless you live in a sufficiently cold climate. Data centers are cooled using a combination of air conditioning and a ‘hot aisle/cold aisle’ server rack configuration. The cooler sides of the servers face each other in one row, while the hotter sides face each other in another, resulting in a ‘cold’ and ‘hot’ aisle layout. Air conditioner output ducts are on the cold aisles, while air conditioner return ducts are on the hot aisles.

Free Cooling

Why not use the outside air to cool your servers if it’s cold enough? Data centers, it turns out, may use the outside air, as well as ocean or lake water, for cooling when they have located insufficiently cold climates. For this reason, several data centers, like the Facebook data center in Lulea, Sweden, are placed near the Arctic Circle.

These natural cooling systems, on the other hand, do more than simply circulate air or water throughout a building. Because appropriate humidity levels must be maintained at all times, air must be cleaned and filtered effectively. Furthermore, if the outside air becomes too hot, even individuals who use these systems must resort to alternative cooling methods. Building data centers in cooler climes, on the other hand, can considerably reduce energy use and cooling expenses.

Chilled Water

Water transmits heat 30 times more efficiently than air, making it ideal for cooling servers. A pump flows chilled water through a tubing system that goes through server cases in a chilled-water cooling system. Water is never brought into direct contact with the server components because it conducts electricity and would destroy the equipment. Instead, it runs alongside them, transmitting the heat generated.

When compared to typical air cooling, water-cooled servers offer significant performance gains and cost savings. By converting to chilled water cooling, some data centers have cut their energy expenses by more than half.

Liquid Immersion Cooling

It is common knowledge that liquid should not be allowed to come into contact with electronic equipment.

However, a new cooling approach known as liquid immersion has emerged, in which servers are totally submerged in a dielectric fluid that does not carry electricity. Air cooling is hundreds of times less efficient than this technology. In fact, server density in liquid immersion data centers can significantly exceed that of air-cooled data centers. One possible application for liquid immersion cooling is in high-performance computing (HPC) environments, where enormous clusters of high-end servers generate too much heat for typical air cooling to be viable. Reduced reliance on, or even elimination of, air cooling would, of course, drastically cut electricity consumption and costs.

Evaporative Cooling

evaporative cooling

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Evaporative cooling, commonly known as swamp cooling, cools data centers by evaporating water. Air is channeled past wet pads or filters in this relatively basic procedure. Heat is dissipated in the water, and cooler air is drawn back into the data center. Instead of a compressor, the technology simply requires a fan and a water pump. Evaporative cooling has even earned the moniker “free cooling”. While it isn’t completely free, it is 75% less expensive than standard air conditioning.

Evaporative cooling, like natural air and water cooling, has geographical limitations. The procedure produces a lot of moisture in the air, which is bad for equipment. As a result, the technique works best in dry settings like the American Southwest. Microsoft, for example, recently purchased land in Arizona with the intention of constructing data centers with evaporative cooling. While evaporative cooling is the most environmentally friendly and cost-effective cooling technology, it isn’t for everyone.

Geothermal Cooling

It’s probably colder underground no matter where you go in the world. Geothermal cooling isn’t a new notion; for centuries, people have kept perishables cool by storing them underground, such as wine in a wine cellar. The same idea is being utilized to cool data centers more and more.

A closed-loop piping system filled with water or a coolant is used in geothermal cooling. The water or coolant circulates through the pipes, carrying heat from the data center beneath the earth’s surface, where it is absorbed into the ground and used as a heatsink by the soil. Geothermal systems may cool powerful sources of heat with relatively little electricity because of the earth’s bulk. Many data centers, like the American College Testing data center in Iowa City, Prairie Bunkers Data Center Park in Hastings, Nebraska, and Verne Global in Iceland, have already utilized this cooling approach.

Potential Challenges In Data Center Cooling

Challenges In Data Center Cooling

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Data centers house complicated and advanced technology. It’s critical to keep this machinery running well and avoid any potential complications. Of course, as data center technology advances, the challenges that data center managers face altering as well. New approaches must be devised to deal with new hazards. IT refreshes every one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half years, which should give you a sign of how things change. PTS Data Center Solutions has written an essay that sheds light on these difficulties.
 
Five key challenges when it comes to data center environmental control.
  1. Adaptability and Scalability
  2. Availability
  3. Life Cycle Costs
  4. Maintenance and Serviceability
  5. Manageability
Even where the characteristics of future loads are determined in advance, it can be difficult to know for sure whether a data center cooling system is capable of meeting the increased demand. Datacenter cooling systems must be flexible and scalable so that they can be adapted to meet changing needs.

Monitoring With AKCP

Monitoring is being employed in data centers throughout the world for more efficient and cost-effective cooling, despite the fact that it is not technically a cooling method.

Temperature and Humidity Monitoring

Temperature and humidity levels can be monitored thru sensors. Instead of wasting energy by cooling a full data center all of the time, clever sensors can detect isolated hot spots and direct cold air to only the parts that require it. Datacenter operators can utilize historical data to anticipate future temperatures in the data center, allowing them to make informed decisions that save energy use and expenses.

AKCP temperature and humidity sensor

  • Single Port Temperature and Humidity Sensor

In situations where both temperature and humidity can be critical, you can keep up to speed on the current conditions using this sensor. Combining temperature and humidity into one sensor frees up an additional intelligent sensor port on your base unit.

 

 

AKCP Thermal Map Sensor

AKCP Thermal Map Sensor

  • Thermal Map Sensor

Datacenter monitoring with thermal map sensors helps identify and eliminate hotspots in your cabinets by identifying areas where temperature differential between front and rear are too high. Thermal maps consist of a string of 6 temperature sensors and an optional 2 humidity sensors. Pre-wired to be easily installed in your cabinet, they are placed at the top, middle, and bottom – front and rear of the cabinet. This configuration of sensors monitors the air intake and exhaust temperatures of your cabinet, as well as the temperature differential from the front to the rear. Use thermal map sensors to identify cabinet hot spots and problem areas

Reference Links:

https://netrality.com/innovation/making-data-centers-cool/

https://www.vertiv.com/en-asia/about/news-and-insights/articles/educational-articles/a-beginners-guide-to-data-center-cooling-systems/

https://www.raritan.com/ap/blog/detail/types-of-data-center-cooling-techniques

Clarissa GarciaData Center Cooling Strategies