Data Center Cooling suggestions

1050 pts.
Tags:
Cooling systems
Data center cooling
Power and cooling
Power supplies
What is the best method of Data Center cooling? We currently have a 10 ton unit blowing air from above and a 5 ton unit blowing below. We spent $100,000 on these new units and duct work 3 years ago and now they are maxed out. We do use the hot and cold isle method. Since we continue to add more servers to our server farm our Network Services guy thinks the best method is to just add an A/C rack to suck all the hot air from the back of the units without improving the duct work or adding more A/Cs to the room. The facilities manager wants to add more air to the room and also buy enough so that we have redundancy. There is a battle going on to see who is right... The Network Services guy thinks the existing A/C units in the room will be the redundancy if his A/C rack fails. I'm on the side the of the facilities manager. We have other problems.... like poor location of some of the air ducts, lots of holes in the floors, no hot air return for one of our rows of racks. We think we can't get approval for everything we need. Also, some people thinks it's no big deal... Data Centers can run in 100 degree temperature or more. What do you think?

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I think you should try to make all necessary corrections to use your cooling systems efficiently, as a first measure (i.e. seal those holes in the floors since they cause cool air waste, re-locate the air ducts as needed to optimize air flow, put the hot air return in place for that rack, and look for any other problems that may exists such as damaged air ducts, etc…).

On the other hand, I don’t think one should talk about the ‘datacenter’ temperature, because you have a very high temperature in the exhaust side of the racks, which in fact affects the overall room temperature, but it is the temperature of the incoming air which really imports, because it is the one that will cool the equipment, so the temperature should be measured in the front side of the racks, and 100 degrees is too high (I think it should not be over 75 degrees F).

Also, there could be room for server consolidation and virtualization, which would redound in less cooling (and power) requirements.

Also, you need to plan for the future, based on growing expectations.

————–

There are merits to both arguments. If the a/c units are already maxed out, there is no redundancy if the a/c rack fails. but before anything, you should seal up your floor tiles.

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  • Cando
    Sounds like your spinning around in circles and so is your air. Your problem is not so much where the air is coming in the room, but what happens to it after it enters the room. Separation of heated server exhaust and air supplied for cooling is your best tool against what you are experiencing. You should of course plug unnecessary openings in both areas you supply cooling air. If you have a space in your dc above the suspended ceiling, it could be used as a return plenum. Connecting as many heat producing devices hot side to this can make a large impact on improving your situation. Obviously there will be some things that cannot be connected, but; you are looking for the low hanging fruit. Install blanking panels in your racks where you have no equipment. (I know everyone says that...few do it!). Connect your cooling returns to the same return ceiling plenum if you have one. Try these and see what your results are. Without seeing your site it is difficult to suggest much more.contact me here if I can help more. Where are you located? I may be close.
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  • Batman47
    I'm in Tustin, California. Yes, there are a lot of common sense things that could be done. I agree about plugging the holes and having return ceiling plenum. Recently, we turned on a SAN rack that is putting out more heat than any other rack in the room... on the side of the Data Center that has no return. The only return is on the A/C units on one side of the room. I agree with everything you said, but it is clear to me that we are maxed out with A/C (or will be in the future even after we fix all the other problems) so I was wondering what is the best cooling solution is for the future as we add more heat load.... these new A/C racks or more cooling being pumped into the cold isle? What about redundancy?.... when the 10 ton failed the temp in room jumped to 90. That was before we bought our new SAN equipment.
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  • Cando
    I am in Anaheim and have a meeting at noon today and another at 2:00 this afternoon. My flight leaves Burbank at 7:00 this evening. Could you send me a sketch of your space and details on your cooling systems? I may be able to make a suggestion from that. I would be much better to see it in person but time is a little short today. You can call me if you like 505 400-0036. I can give you my email on the phone.
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  • DRJulianPE
    Controlling airflow is an important point. How do you know you are maxed out on AC? Is it because the equipment is overheating or did you calculate the amount of heat being generated in the room? One kW of IT load is 3412 BTUs. 12,000 BTUs is one ton of AC. 15 tons of AC could cool, assuming it has proper air flow (minimum hot and cold air mixing), approximately 52 kW of load. This load consists of IT power, transformers in the room, lighting, people and building envelope. This also assumes that the cooling units are actually providing 15 tons of air conditioning. Depending on the units and the method of heat rejection the actual cooling may be less than the nameplate value.
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  • Batman47
    We are maxed out because the 10 ton unit with dual compressors run in 2nd stage 24/7. No more cycling back to 1st stage. Network Services was suppose to come up with a heat load, not sure if they ever did. They just like to add servers and blame the A/C company when their units can't keep up. The decision has been made to install a 10 ton Liebert A/C rack right next to our SAN rack with curtains on either side of the cold isle. We are also having a company build an air channel under the floor to direct the air from the 5 ton unit to the cold isle and replace our perforated floor tiles from the 1980s with new ones that are at least 50% more efficient.
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