EDP Europe’s leading airflow management solutions help data centre managers improve and optimise data centre cooling systems.
EDP Europe is a major supplier of data centre airflow management solutions that help data centre managers improve data centre cooling. The issues around airflow management can be found in our ‘Guide to Airflow Management in Data Centres’ article. The airflow management solutions we provide help improve data centre cooling based on the 4R’s of Airflow Management.
In short, the 4R’s identify the issues requiring attention at Raised Floor, Rack and Row levels, that enable the changes to be made at Room level to improve efficiency and lead to energy cost savings. By following these airflow management best practices, otherwise stranded cooling capacity can be recaptured enabling the set-points on CRAC units to be raised. The raising of the set-points results in less energy being required to cool the data centre enabling major cost savings.
Solutions for managing data centre airflow at raised floor level.
Managing data centre airflow at raised floor level is the best starting point in an airflow management strategy as this is typically where the cooled air is being delivered from. First – it’s important to ensure data hall or IT room is configured in a cold aisle / hot aisle layout. Next, ensure no floor grilles are positioned in the hot aisle, these should only be place in the cold aisle. EDP Europe recommends the Triad raised floor grille with its unique design that disrupts the airflow beneath the grille to enable better delivery through it enabling cooled air to reach the top of racks.
Also, beneath the raised floor, air barriers such as PlenaForm can be used to block areas where cold air is not required and direct it to where it is, therefore reducing the overall volume of cooled air being generated by the air handling units which in turn reduces energy consumption and cost. Connecting both power and data cabling to IT equipment often results in openings being cut into floor tiles, as well as openings caused by other infrastructure such as pipework. These openings need to be sealed to prevent the loss of conditioned air. This can be best achieved through the use of KoldLok raised floor grommets, or RackSEAL Floor foam sheets. Alternatively, the floor tile itself can be replaced with a brush floor tile where the openings are pre-sealed with brush strips.
Data centre rack airflow management solutions.
Rack airflow management is important to prevent hot exhaust air, produced by the IT equipment, from mixing with the cold air being delivered to cool the equipment down. There are several areas within and around the rack where this can occur. Unused rack space should be sealed with Blanking Panels.
EDP Europe offers three types of blanking panels EziBlank – A 6RU blanking panel that can be snapped at 1RU intervals, HotLok – 1RU and 2RU panels that feature cantilevered sealing vanes to ensure a good seal between adjoining equipment or blanking panels and PlenaFill – A 27RU sheet that can be split at 1RU intervals and is ideal for blanking large areas of unused rack space. Brush blanking panels are also available for use where cables pass from the front to back of the rack within the mounting space.
Other gaps within the racks should also be sealed. These can be found between the mounting angles and side panels, at the top and bottom of the rack, between adjoining racks and between the bottom of the rack and floor tiles (when the racks are on adjustable feet or castors). EDP Europe offers various products to help improve rack airflow management issues caused by these gaps including: RackSEAL our expanding foam tape air barrier, HotLok Rack Airflow Management (RAM) Kit and AisleLok under rack panels and rack gap panels. Preventing this hot air migrating back to the front of racks improves the cooling capacity of the delivered cold air and reduces the risks of hot spots. Hot spots within racks can be identified through the use of environmental monitoring equipment that monitor conditions such as temperature and humidity. EDP Europe can also consult with you over any bespoke solutions required to manage airflow within a rack.
Cold Aisle Containment and other row airflow cooling solutions.
Airflow cooling solutions at row level include Cold Aisle Containment and Hot Aisle Containment. As the name suggests these solutions either fully or partially enclose the cold aisle (cold aisle containment) or the hot aisle (hot aisle containment).
There are several aisle containment solutions that can be used including custom made fully enclosed containment systems, Thermal Curtain Containment which use PVC strips and partial containment solutions such as AisleLok Modular Containment which enables self-installation in minutes straight out-of-the-box. Angled and vertical rack top baffles enable either cold aisle or hot aisle containment and prevent hot exhaust air from wrapping over the tops of the racks, while end of aisles can be sealed with either the AisleLok bi-directional doors or sliding doors depending on the customers’ preference.
Where racks may be missing from rows, leaving empty voids, rack replacement panels are available in the form of EziBlank Wall panels or AisleLok Adjustable Rack Gap panels, the later can also be used seal gaps between racks caused by obstacles such as building support columns. We can also provide bespoke solutions for sealing gaps in rows of cabinets.
Improving airflow to an Ethernet switch aids network switch cooling.
Network switch cooling can often be problematic due to where Ethernet switches are located within a rack. Typical they are placed at the top of the rear of the rack making them difficult to cool. This placement means they are often ‘breathing’ the hot exhaust air produced by the surrounding IT equipment.
Improving airflow to an Ethernet switch can be achieved through the use of a SwitchAir or HotLok SwitchFix unit. These improve network switch cooling by extending the cooling from the front of the rack and channelling the cold air to the air intakes of the network switch. Various models, either active or passive, are available depending on the make and model of the Ethernet switch requiring cooling. Passive models allow air to flow naturally to the network switch and require no additional power. Active models are powered and feature fans which draw the cold air through the chassis and into the Ethernet switch. Both methods result in the network switch receiving conditioned air, enabling better performance and can help extend the life of the switch.