Data Centre Aisle Containment helps improve Data Centre cooling efficiency

Data Centre aisle containment has been a core element in Data Centre design for many years now. Providing the physical structure for segregating hot and cold air streams, aisle containment is central Data Centre airflow management best practices that optimise the efficiency to and effectiveness of Data Centre cooling systems.

Running Data Centre cooling systems accounts for a significant part of an operator’s operational expenditure. Given the increasing cost of energy, the growing need to reduce & report on carbon emissions and the drive for sustainability, it has never been more vital to follow airflow management best practices and to optimise cooling systems’ efficiency.

EDP Europe has been at the forefront of airflow management solutions for almost 20 years, providing solutions from both its Distribution & Data Centre Solutions divisions.

Following the ‘4Rs of Airflow Management’, as devised by Upsite Technologies, enables Data Centre operators to improve their airflow management, optimise their cooling and ultimately reduce their energy costs.

Assuming the data hall is laid-out correctly in a hot-aisle-cold-aisle format, with airflow grilles only in the cold aisles, the ‘4Rs’ separates airflow management into three distinct levels that enables changes to be made to CRAC units that benefits the fourth Room level.

4Rs of Airflow Management
  • Raised Floor – At raised floor level cable, and other, openings in the raised floor should be sealed to prevent the leakage of conditioned cold air. KoldLok raised floor grommets are recognised as the leading solution to achieve this.
  • Rack – At rack level, gaps within the equipment frame between installed equipment should be sealed with blanking panels such as EziBlank or HotLok. Any other gaps between or under the racks, and between the sides of the rack and the equipment frame should also be sealed to prevent hot exhaust air from the IT equipment circulating back to the front of the rack and mixing with the cold air cooling the equipment.
  • Row – At row level air is segregated using aisle containment.

What is Data Centre Aisle Containment?

Data Centre Containment refers to the various forms of aisle containment that are used in Data Centres to segregate hot aisles from cold aisles.

There are two ways to achieve this. One way is to contain the cold air within the cold aisle through the installation of a Cold Aisle Containment (CAC) system. Alternatively, the hot aisle can be contained and the hot exhaust air directed into the return plenum via the installation of a Hot Aisle Containment (HAC) system.

These aisle containment systems can either be permanent fully-enclosed systems or modular partially-enclosed solutions the benefits from which produce similar results.

Containing and segregating hot air from cold air and preventing the two from mixing helps optimise cooling systems. It is this optimisation of cooling systems that leads to energy cost savings.

Benefits of Aisle Containment

Aisle Containment protects IT equipment from hotspots which can reduce equipment performance and lifetime, as well as causing issues with airflow management.

As mentioned above, segregating hot or cold aisles by installing an aisle containment system enables cooling optimisation gains that lead to energy savings through reduced fan energy, reduced chiller operating costs and increasing the opportunity to utilise free cooling.

Both CAC or HAC systems produce similar results; with several factors to consider when deciding which system is best. These considerations will be reviewed in a separate future blog.

If Data Centre airflow management is to be fully improved then the implementation of an aisle containment system will be a requirement.

Bespoke Data Centre Aisle Containment

EDP Europe Data Centre Solutions (EDP DCS) supplies its own bespoke aisle containment systems that are designed and tailor-made to fit our clients’ exact requirements. Alternatively, there is the AisleLok Modular Containment system that provides a partial aisle containment system that can be self-installed in minutes straight out-of-the-box, and consists of Rack Top Baffles and the choice of Bi-directional Swing Door or Sliding Doors.

If you are looking to improve your Data Centre’s airflow management and are looking to deploy Aisle Containment in your Data Centre then contact us and EDP Europe will help you realise the benefits of aisle containment.

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