How following the 4 R’s of Airflow Management can help improve cooling optimisation
Upsite Technologies, a leader in data centre airflow management solutions, has recently developed its 4 R’s of Airflow Management™ methodology to help guide data centre and computer room managers on how implementing changes to optimise cooling can achieve the greatest benefits for their overall airflow management.
Optimising cooling and improving airflow management is the quickest way to lower a data centre or enterprise IT environment’s PUE and energy costs. But this can be a daunting task, where do you start? With this in mind Upsite Technologies’ 4 R’s of Airflow Management takes a holistic approach to implementing changes to the data centre’s cooling infrastructure at 4 levels: Raised Floor, Rack, Row and Room.
At raised floor level it’s important to ensure that there isn’t any misplaced floor grilles within the floor, the grilles should only be placed in the cold aisles. Next it is important that all cable openings are sealed with KoldLok® grommets to prevent cold air leaking through the cable openings, this helps increase static pressure and prevents cold air mixing with hot exhaust air at the rear of the rack.
At rack level the use of blanking panels, such as HotLok®, to seal unused rack ‘U’ space and Upsite’s RAM Kit to seal the gaps between the rails and side panels, prevents hot air recirculating from the back of the rack to the front.
At row level isolating hot and cold aisles helps prevent hot exhaust air from wrapping around or over racks and mixing with the cold air. Upsite’s AisleLok® Modular Containment provides a flexible, out-of-the-box aisle containment solution that can be self-installed in a matter of minutes. The AisleLok® Adjustable Rack Gap Panel can be used to seal openings in the row left by removed IT racks or building structures such as columns.
The room provides the central checking point, where changes are made to the cooling system. It is these changes that enable PUE to be lowered and energy cost savings to be made.
To illustrate the 4 R’s of Airflow Management, Upsite Technologies partnered with Future Facilities to show the impact of addressing these four areas using CFD analysis. Using 6SigmaDCX software to create a 4,000 sq. ft. (372m²) model data centre to simulate the impact of changes made to these four areas, and how using the 4 R’s approach could yield annual savings of $60,000.
The simulation provided valuable information on how problematic areas such as hot spots could be rectified and how capacity and operating cost benefits could be achieved after making airflow management improvements to each of the 4 R’s. The results showed:
- A reduction in the maximum IT inlet temperature of 8.4°F (4.66°C).
- A cooling supply temperature increase of 10°F (5.55°C).
- Cooling unit fan speeds reduced by 35% and one cooling unit turned off.
- Partial PUE (pPUE) reduced from 1.54 to 1.34.
- Over $60,000 in annual savings for a 4,000 sq. ft. data centre.
- 15 month ROI.
The video below shows the impact before and after airflow management changes using the 4 R’s methodology.