CFD- Assessing Temperature Distribution in Data Centers

With global warming concerns getting real every passing day, temperature rise is one of the major concerns for the environmentalists. Same for business owners where maintaining a certain temperature is absolutely crucial for the sustenance of the business. Data center managers are one from the lot. They are constantly looking for techniques to maintain ideal temperature conditions of the data centers, even on the comparatively hotter days. Technologies like CFD are being implemented to optimize the data centers and design efficient ones at the same time.

What is CFD?

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is a technique which is used to model fluid flow using various numerical analysis techniques. The fluid flow is predicted through an iterative process and is based on factors like how the volumes interact with each other to attain a steady state model. Usually CFDs were used in airplane aerodynamic but of late, it has found a strong footing in data center facilities management.

Why CFD in Data Center?

CFD modeling software in data centers helps visualize the temperature distribution throughout the facility with the use of airflow models. Several SaaS solutions also aid in this process. These solutions analyses the data and puts it up in the cloud platform for comparison. What should be kept in mind is that all the solutions chosen should be provided as per the requirement of the data center.

The CFD modeling systems include various parameters like the geometric data of the floor, under- floor impediments, racks, cabinets and also the airflow. These data are complied and entered into the software for analysis. The software effectively creates a model which highlights the airflow within the data center including its temperature and pressure. Once the model is generated, the design of the data center is modified or in case of a new construction project, modeled upon. It is very important that the resultant matches the generated model. Doing so will ensure that there are no stray paths for the air to bypass and that the analysis is accurate.

As with any model, the more accurate the information supplied, the more useful the result. Careful attention to detail in both the modeling and construction of new spaces is necessary to insure that the end result matches the model. Un-sealed support column floor piercings, forgotten cutouts under racks, etc. are all insidious paths for air to bypass and potential sources for puzzling results.CFD is an excellent tool and once the model is generated, analyzing  CRAC failure analysis, potential equipment installations, layout changes, containment, etc. becomes a breeze.

Thing to Remember Before a CFD Analysis

CFD analysis should be done before making any kind of changes in the repent design of the data center. CFD results are dynamic in nature and to be consistently accurate, it needs to be maintained. Hence, whenever a change is put in action to the current design of that data center, the CFD model also should be updated. Updating the model will help the data center manager make appropriate decisions.

Another versatile tool ‘Real time monitoring’ implements the use of sensors to measure temperature, pressure, power and others to generate real time temperature maps of the data center. This tool along with CFD is an unbeatable combination which constantly evaluates the data center’s performance and enhances the efficiency margin considerably. While CFD analysis covers all the potential risks in the future, real time monitoring evaluates the instant changes in the environment, churning out data which would be useful when updating the CFD model.

An important point to consider is that both the analysis tools helps the data center manager narrow down the risk factors and eliminate irrelevant margins from the system. This increases the capacity and efficiency of the data center.

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