Data centers house more than just servers; they house routers that help the servers communicate with each other. They consist of backup systems to ensure business continuity and data security. They also power the servers through many power distributions systems that are also placed within the data center itself. Not to mention the batteries and UPSs in the battery room.
To run a data center is not a child’s play. It is a highly complex system which needs to be in top notch working condition all the time. This is because if the data center fails to perform, you are bound to lose a lot of precious data and in turn, business and money.
Data centers need constant, uninterrupted power supply and air conditioning. Since data centers draw power continuously, they have a tendency to get heated up. Temperature rise in a data center beyond a certain pre-determined threshold can prove to be disastrous for the data center as it could lead to fire hazards and even explosions in some cases. It’s, thus, an important point to note that without the air conditioning, a data center can’t sustain; it is of utmost importance.
The cooling infrastructure of a data center is an organisation on its own. It includes chillers, compressors and air handlers. Together, these create an ideal computing environment and prolong the data center’s lifespan.
The cooling system:
Computer Room Air Conditioners (CRAC) — This is a refrigerant based cooling system, which is installed within the data center and is connected to external condensing units. This circulates air through a fan-system thus delivering cool air to the servers.
Computer Room Air Handler (CRAH) —This is a chiller based cooling system, which is installed on the data center floor and is connected to an external chiller plant. This too follows the fan system for delivering cool air to the servers.
In order to replace water that is lost during cooling of the equipment room, humidifiers are placed within the CRAC/CRAH.
Computer Room Air Conditioners/Air Handlers are a staple of data center design. They provide precise temperature and humidity control in the data centers. By maintaining 24x7x365 operation, CRACs provide recurrent heat exchange. It accepts heat energy generated by the IT equipment, cools it, and returns it back to the equipment.
Each data center has their own version of the cooling system because, at the end of the day, cooling requirements depend upon the nature of the data center. The systems are installed by taking various factors into consideration, such as room layout, installation densities and the location of the data center.
Let’s look at some cooling strategies which can improve the cooling systems of the data centers.
While selecting server racks, make sure they have space efficient features and have the capacity to increase the packing density. Accessories like perforated doors, blanking panels etc improve the air flow efficiency in the data center.
Getting an analysis done on power consumption, airflow types of equipments, efficiency of the servers etc will help you get a better look at your data center options and save up to 30% of your power. This can stabilise the temperature of the data center.
Understand your cooling needs
Using a basic cooling system for a high cluster network doesn’t make sense. Before investing in a cooling system for your data center, do your research and understand the type of cooling that will be suitable for your environment. Deploying liquid cooling units to the high cluster network prove to be efficient. They are temperature neutral and have a modular design. This will ensure uniform, effective cooling.
Monitor the environment around you
Set up devices which will give you constant readings on server room temperature, hot spots and will provide protection to mission critical applications. Doing so will allow the IT manager to respond quickly to any irregularities. These also provide data for the future equipment analysis.
After understanding the necessity of the cooling systems, many industries are now warming up to the improved cooling systems and are working towards improving them with new technologies and making them efficient.
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