Data centers consume about 25 to 30 times more electricity compared to the normal office spaces. This calls for an energy efficient design of the data center that can save money and reduce electricity use.
Data center design is a relatively new stream that contains a dynamic and evolving technology. The most efficient data centers incorporate modern design technologies that are cost-effective and energy efficient. Short design cycles lead to incomplete assessment of the full design requirements. Most of these short design cycles ultimately lead to just scaling up the older versions of design of office spaces.
Modern data centers house server racks in a fashion that leads to concentration of the heat loads. In facilities of different sizes, starting from a small data center for a few office buildings to a large co-location facility; design of the center to precisely control air flow is of utmost importance. Air flow through the room for efficient removal of the accumulated equipment heat has a strong impact on the reliability and the energy efficiency of the entire data center.
Air management includes all the minute details of design that are required to minimize or curtail the mixing of cool air supplied to the room with the hot air rejected from the room. When it is designed correctly, it helps in reducing the operating and maintenance costs of the equipment and other issues caused by the thermal heating of the devices.
The main design issues related to air management are:
- Location of the data center
- Location of the cooling equipments
- Equipments required for intake and exhaust ports
- Air flow patterns in the room
Principles of air flow management:
- Use of hot and cold-aisle configurations can double-up the cooling efficiency of the data center.
- With the aide of an airside economizer, air management can reduce data center cooling costs by over 60%
- Removing hot air immediately through the exhaust improves efficiency rather than mixing the hot air with the incoming cold air.
- Equipment environmental temperature specifications refer primarily to the air being drawn in to cool the system.
- A higher difference between the return air and supply air temperatures increases the maximum load density possible in the space and can help reduce the size of the cooling equipment required, particularly when lower-cost mass produced package air handling units are used.
- Poor airflow management will reduce both the efficiency and capacity of computer room cooling equipment.
Therefore an effective air flow management system can bring down the costs and power consumption rates to a great extent. Design of these systems also play a very important role in the quality, reliability, and security of data centers.